I bought a pre-owned Macbook Pro that is currently running Sierra. It came with the Adobe Suite and a number of other expensive applications. I was told that I would lose these apps if I were to update the operating system. Is there a way to circumvent this?

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    Welcome to Ask Different. It all depends on the applications and how that company set them up to work. If it's tied to a specific user ID and password for Adobe, you should've received that from the person who sold it to you. – fsb May 17 '19 at 14:12

The update process deletes no application, so the update doesn’t make you lose anything. Upgrade processes can migrate known broken software to a new location, but there’s almost always a log file explaining what and why that happened.

However, you can’t roll back an update if an application breaks, so you might lose the ability of the program to use a license key, be supported, or even launch/run when your system changes.

  1. Get a good Time Machine backup or other clone / backup so if your system breaks (whether you break it unintentionally with an update you apply, whether it breaks due to an update that self-applies or whether it breaks due to breakage, eventually all programs will stop running).
  2. Think if you can reinstall the app if you erase your Mac, reinstall the older version / unpatched version in terms of time and hassle and knowledge.
  3. Check with the vendor so you know your support options, both DIY / Free / Paid - this is key since the vendor can even kill your apps without an upgrade. In fact, Adobe just did this:

In general, it’s safe to upgrade since Apple designs the system to not touch apps and settings, but even with that design, sometimes a bug ships and you get breakage for something that should have been easy and non-intrusive.

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    Also note that you don't own that software unless you bought it and have in your possession the licenses. So legally you have to delete the software. – Steve Chambers May 17 '19 at 16:15

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