been given a iMac to configure for my new job.

Its a 2009 20" iMac. I recently clean installed Mountain Lion, as I knew it was stable and I had a boot USB.

I thought Mountain Lion would be enough but now it turns out I need to upgrade and can only now be Yosemite....

My question is, will Yosemite be too much for my 2009 older iMac with 2GB Ram?

Currently it runs fine, and ram can be upgraded to 4GB but not for a while.

Thanks. Craig,

  • What's the purpose of the iMac? Programming with Xcode and using some additional apps like Browser etc.?
    – klanomath
    Oct 30, 2014 at 19:50
  • Web development. Nothing heavy, just Sublime, couple of browsers and terminal working. XCode and command line tools are required though. But am worried Yosemite will leave me hanging sometimes and just feel sluggish, if not then ill happily upgrade.
    – Lovelock
    Oct 30, 2014 at 19:52
  • Why do you have to upgrade to Mavericks or Yosemite? btw imac9,1 supports 8 GB
    – klanomath
    Oct 30, 2014 at 19:56
  • When trying to install Xcode it says I need to be running 10.9.4 at minimum. Ram will be upgraded but not for a few months.
    – Lovelock
    Oct 30, 2014 at 20:01
  • then you have to modify your question because you mentioned 10.8.4 there
    – klanomath
    Oct 30, 2014 at 20:02

2 Answers 2


A friend of mine recently upgraded his MacBook5,1 (2009 core 2 duo) with 2GB to Mavericks. It wasn't the most pleasant thing, but it actually didn't work out too bad for him and he even thinks there was a slight performance increase (I'm assuming due to the memory compression stuff being a touch faster than swap). I'm assuming that Yosemite isn't going to be much more stressful than Mavericks, so you can probably get away with it.

That being said, 2GB is absolutely too little for a machine that you're going to run Xcode on. Regardless of Mountain Lion, Mavericks or Yosemite, you need more RAM. Period.

  • okay, ill upgrade to Yosemite then. Ram will be upgraded but cant yet and need to start working. Ill push for the extra ram though. Thanks!
    – Lovelock
    Oct 30, 2014 at 20:45

A 2009 machine is certainly able to run the latest software - it looks like yours is an iMac9,1 : http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/specs/imac-core-2-duo-2.66-20-inch-aluminum-early-2009-specs.html

Memory for that machine maxes out at 8GB, which runs about $100. Everything would be better with more memory. http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/specs/imac-core-2-duo-2.66-20-inch-aluminum-early-2009-specs.html

With that said, the command line tools can be installed without the whole XCode software via the terminal:

xcode-select --install

Sometimes one needs to explicity accept the license via the command line:

sudo xcodebuild -license

See screenshots and related here: http://osxdaily.com/2014/02/12/install-command-line-tools-mac-os-x/

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