This is going to be a very simple and straight forward question. I do not have experience of using any MacBook. I'm a software engineer by profession and I'm considering to purchase a MacBook to get started with iOS development. I got some quotations from a local Apple Authorized Reseller and they are saying that they have 2 MacBooks that fall in my budget. Budget can be increased though. One is Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13.3" (MF839ZA/A). It has "Mac OS X Yosemite" on it. If I purchase this MacBook then can I upgrade the OS X to "Sierra"?

What will be the software upgrade costs from the following OS X versions to Sierra:

  • Mavericks to Sierra
  • Yosemite to Sierra
  • El Capitan to Sierra

What are the minimum hardware requirements or MacBook version requirements for me to install Sierra on it?

I need Sierra for XCode 8.0+.

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    I had this exact machine (MF839ZA/A) until I upgraded to a 2016 model in December. It's a very solid dev machine (and I was happily running Sierra without issue). The only thing you might consider is 16gb of RAM if you frequently use virtual machines. – cloudworks Mar 6 '17 at 20:22
  • @cloudworks Thanks for mentioning. It will truly help me. – Omar Tariq Mar 6 '17 at 20:30
  • Or an IDE/tool that may consume RAM. They work fine with lower memory. But increasing RAM would obviously allow more to be stored there and less swapping. Saw it's for iOS dev, Xcode and it's emulators would definitely benefit from more RAM. – rovr138 Mar 6 '17 at 22:50
  • @rovr138 Yes, I'm strongly considering more RAM. – Omar Tariq Mar 7 '17 at 11:34

Apple last charged for upgrades at 10.8 Mountain Lion. Major upgrades have been free of charge since then. The system requirements are publicly listed.

Mac computers introduced in late 2009 or later can be upgraded to macOS Sierra.

You can also rely on Apple providing you a clean copy of the OS that shipped with the hardware via support download if it's Lion or later.

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    Thank you very much. Precise and accurate answer. I feel good now. – Omar Tariq Mar 6 '17 at 11:53
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    Good luck on the new development efforts. You will be most happy with hardware that does Airdrop if you want Bluetooth LE accessories so read through all the bottom parts of the hardware link over tea / coffee. Hardware that runs Sierra but lacks some of the new features should be discounted substantially - so use that if negotiating price. Retina MBP have fast SSD and good GPU to drive a second display. Good choice there. – bmike Mar 6 '17 at 12:04
  • In addition to the answer offered by @bmike I just wanted to add that you don't need Sierra to run Xcode 8, as Xcode 8.2.1 requires a Mac running macOS 10.11.5 or later. The model you're looking at isn't that old and should be compatible with quite a few more generations of macOS to come. Pretty sure the model you've been quoted has 8GB RAM and only a 128GB SSD, so I would recommend ensuring you have enough RAM for your needs as you can't upgrade the RAM after purchase on these models. Storage is another consideration, although you can always use external drives. – Monomeeth Mar 6 '17 at 12:04

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