I'm about to set up a Mac mini to dual boot Mavericks and Yosemite for software development purposes. What's the recommended minimum size of a Yosemite partition?

4 Answers 4


I have run Mavericks/Yosemite on a 64 GB SD card and after a clean install, there was about 20-30 GB free.

I would say that you could install Yosemite on a 20 GB partition, but I would not recommend anything less than 30 GB.


Instead of rebooting constantly to test software in different environments, try a virtual machine. I use VMware Fusion. Major advantages include suspend rather than shut down, and you can have as many as you have disk space for. You can have as many running simultaneously as you have memory for, and you don't need extra hardware to handle different versions - the hardware is simulated, so it's even possible to run future versions on older hardware within some limits.

My VM library includes 10.6 thru 10.10, Windows XP thru 11, Ubuntu, and DOS.

  • That's a great idea. I haven't thought abour virtualization in a while because my former and only MB Air didn't have enough disk space. I thought it'd be useful to run Xcode in the target environment to fix issues on the go, though. How's the performance in a VM?
    – ctietze
    Nov 13, 2014 at 9:39
  • So, you were able to run 10.10 in VMware? Is it complicated? I'd always that OS X didn't play nice with virtualization. Jan 27, 2015 at 1:28
  • OS X plays very nice with virtualization. 10.5 and 10.6 had license restrictions that said only the server versions could be run in VMs - VMware respected this restriction. After 10.6 is easy. I ran 10.10 in Fusion on 10.8 to test it out.
    – paul
    Feb 9, 2015 at 13:55

It is possible, but unadvisable, to run OS X 10.10 Mavericks on a 16 GB partition. I am doing so at the moment during a reinstall.

Mac OS X prefers to have applications on the boot drive, as well as the user home locations, swapfile, and sleep image file.

if you are not willing to hack files, then a 32gb partition is a minimal install partition for practical purposes, allowing for the roughly 12 GB system, 8 GB of vm files, 8 GB of sleep image, and some apps.


From the official source:

These Mac models are compatible with OS X Yosemite

  • iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)

You can upgrade to OS X Yosemite from the following

  • OS X Snow Leopard (v10.6.8)
  • OS X Lion (v10.7)
  • OS X Mountain Lion (v10.8)
  • OS X Mavericks (v10.9)

General Requirements

  • OS X v10.6.8 or later
  • 2GB of memory
  • 8GB of available storage
  • wow that doesn't sound a lot -- I wonder how much wiggle room you'd have to do anything with the system if that was the partition size, though
    – ctietze
    Feb 13, 2015 at 11:44

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