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Does the Mac App Store check for macOS 10.12 hardware compatibility before downloading?

According to what I've been reading on the web, my MacBookPro 5,5 (mid 2009) should not support macOS 10.12, Sierra. However the Mac App Store allows downloading it.

I would like to prevent downloading 5GB of files and finally discover that the installer says "your mac is not supported".

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Officially your MacBook Pro (13" Mid-2009) is not supported by macOS Sierra. However, for whatever reason, the option to upgrade to macOS Sierra is appearing in the App Store for a whole range of unsupported Macs. In fact, today I saw this occur on a MacBook Pro (15" Late-2008) model that was running Snow Leopard 10.6.8, even though Apple doesn't officially support upgrading from this hardware or OS.

As to whether you can install it, the answer is yes, even though this isn't officially supported by Apple. If the App Store allows you to download the upgrade, then you could just download it (without installing it) and then make a copy of the installer. Once you've got a copy you could try installing from the original downloaded location to see what happens. If this doesn't work you can download the macOS Sierra Patcher Tool for Unsupported Macs. Make sure you read all the information on this page as it contains important information you should weigh up before proceeding. If it was me I would not proceed without a full backup ready so you could recover your system if all goes bad.

In the end, whether you should download the upgrade is up to you. Do you want macOS Sierra? Many of its new features are not supported even on Macs that are officially supported by the upgrade - so the answer to this will depend on what appeals to you in upgrading to macOS Sierra? To help you decide, go to Upgrade to macOS Sierra and scroll down to the Feature Requirements section.

If what appeals to you isn't likely to work because it's only supported on much newer Mac models, then I wouldn't bother.

  • Thanks for your comprehensive answer. Well I'm looking for the new fancy features. As a developer I'm worry about xcode future releases that sooner or later will not install on el capitan as happened in the past with SL etc. XCode 8 for now it's safe... – lviggiani Oct 3 '16 at 19:06
  • ... I'm NOT looking for the new fancy features... – lviggiani Oct 3 '16 at 19:07
  • Well, if Xcode compatibility is the only issue you're concerned about, I would just leave it until its actually a problem. Xcode 8 only launched on September 13, so it's likely to be a while before there's a real issue particularly since macOS Sierra only launched a week later, so it's not going to be the minimum requirement for a little while yet. – Monomeeth Oct 3 '16 at 20:57
  • But in the meantime you could download the macOS Sierra installer so you have it on hand (just quit it when it starts the installation). You could also download the patcher tool and save a copy of the page for future reference, just in case it gets removed. But make sure you check it again before using it in case there's been an update to the tool or info. Basically I wouldn't rush in until your hand was forced. – Monomeeth Oct 3 '16 at 20:58
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    @jimmont If you're considering doing this on whatever unsupported Mac you have, please ensure you carefully read all the info on the macOS Sierra Patcher Tool for Unsupported Macs page. There are certain issues for certain models, so make sure you're aware of any that may apply to your scenario. Also, to answer your question, at the bottom of that page there's a FAQ section and, just above it, you'll see a heading for Updates. This refers to the need to download and run a script to allow for future system updates. – Monomeeth Jun 22 '17 at 23:06
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I tried it with the PC of a friend of mine and after downloading appeared:"your mac is not supported".

following an explanation from the website www.trustedreviews.com

Despite Apple's guidance that it's only late-2009 devices and onwards that will be able to run the OS, theoretically you should be able to run Sierra on computers with a CPU utilising the Penryn microarchitecture.

Related: How to download macOS Sierra right now

Of course, just because it's possible doesn't mean it's straightforward, which is why developer Colin Mistr (aka dosdude1) created the macOS Sierra Patch Tool. That utility, along with a USB drive with a capacity of at least 8GB and a copy of Sierra, should let you install macOS on that handful of older devices.

All the usual caveats apply: installing macOS Sierra on an unsupported computer could bork it (and your data), as well as likely voiding your warranty.

On certain devices, too, the workaround will kill your Wi-Fi functionality. These are the late-2008 and mid-2009 MacBook Air, early-2008 and mid-2008 MacBook Pro, early-2008 iMac and early-2008 Mac Pro.

In other words, you should have bit of technical know-how if you're going to try this, and backup all your data first. While we know this worked on Sierra dev previews, we're also unsure if Apple has managed to patch the borderline 'hack', so let us know your mileage in the comments below.

If you do want to give it a go, though, you can find step-by-step instructions and download the macOS Sierra Patch tool here

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