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I have been given a MacBook air by a friend that needs it repaired. The device is running 10.6.8 and has no available recovery disks. I am going to re-image the device and update it to the newest macOS but I have run into a serious problem.

  1. Sierra can only be upgraded to if the device is already running 10.7 Lion. It's not.
  2. I can't access recovery mode through Command + R because that's not a feature on Snow Leopard either.
  3. I don't have recovery disks and even if I did, it's an air and has no disk drive.

What in the world should I do?

  • Make sure the machine is 64-bit. If it's 32-bit, you can't run any Mac OS after Snow Leopard. – SilverWolf - Reinstate Monica Jan 23 '18 at 20:30
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I'm assuming that you have a Late 2010 MBA or later because an MBA prior to then won't support Sierra. You will need El Capitan, instead.

I wouldn't recommend upgrading - I personally prefer doing a clean install and migrating over my Apps and Data using the Migration Assistant.

You should be able to download the Sierra Installer via the App Store since it was available to Snow Leopard Users.

Following are the steps you need to take to upgrade your MBA to macOS Sierra

  • In the linked article for "Create a USB Installer of macOS Sierra", under "Download the macOS Sierra installer" is says "...If it automatically launches after download, quit the installer.". Every Apple OS Install application bundle I've downloaded from the App Store has automatically launched and back in the day with Install Mac OS X Lion.app if you didn't force quit it, it deleted itself. I had to re-download it and force quit it to have it in order to then make a USB Installer. Since then I have force quit every installer app bundle I've downloaded. Do you know if that is still necessary? – user3439894 Nov 17 '16 at 0:39
  • You can just quit recent OS Installers. The deletion from /Applications only happens at the end of the upgrade process. – Tetsujin Nov 17 '16 at 7:39
  • When I downloaded the Sierra, I wasn't forced into running the installer immeddiately. In fact, I downloaded it on my iMac which I used to create the USB installer I used on my MacBook Pro. I have yet to install Sierra on my iMac. After you click download, you should have a Install macOS Sierra folder in your /Applications folder. – Allan Nov 19 '16 at 1:23

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