As I understand the matter, it is generally better to use a later version, however, I realize that the newer versions are really designed for more powerful hardware. The MacBookAir4,1 in question is a dual core I5 1.6 Ghz CPU with 4GB of RAM. It is currently running El Capitan.

The choices include:

  • Mojave (latest, requires 2012 or later Macbook Air)
  • High Sierra
  • Sierra

What is an appropriate quantitative test to determine which of the three will run on the MacBookAir4,1 with a comparable performance to El Capitan? While anecdotal reports are fine, any benchmarks to support a position should alleviate the issue of being 'opinion based'.

  • 1
    How is Mojave an option? You have a 2011 model, and stated Mojave needs 2012 or later. Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 3:26
  • @JoeTaxpayer That's one option of how: dosdude1.com/mojave Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 8:12
  • 1
    @gatorback If your computer is going to be connected to the internet, please note that running the newest, supported version is the only real way to go - otherwise you're risking your own security.
    – jksoegaard
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 9:51
  • Benchmarks typically test CPU or GPU performance which only marginally is impacted by the version (or type) of the OS used.
    – nohillside
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 18:55
  • 4
    An 'appropriate quantitive test' would be to install Sierra, use it for a week or so. Keep important newly-generated docs separately. Clone the drive & move up to High Sierra, rinse repeat. I'd definitely say if you have to install a hack to install an OS, then there is some fundamental reason to not use that OS. [if this gets reopened, I'll flesh out to an answer.]
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 13, 2019 at 17:07

1 Answer 1


I have a 2010 iMac and I'm running High Sierra. It has been running smoothly but my machine gets very sluggish sometimes when running Xcode. I can't compare it to El Capitan because it has been too long to recall. It has been as stable as Sierra though. I think the only issues you'd have would be due to having 4 GB of RAM. The size of the system would be very important, I'd think, for a 4 GB machine. I don't know the relative size of your system but there are many apps that will tell you the amount of free RAM you have. iStats, Monity, and SystemPal from the app store are 3 such apps that will display how much RAM you are using and how much is free.

  • Thanks for stepping-up with an answer: please consider adding your hardware specs (CPU clock speed, RAM quantity). Please clarify what you mean by relative size of system
    – gatorback
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 20:46
  • I don't know much about your computer so I wasn't sure it the total RAM was 4 GB or if it had extra RAM just for the system.
    – Natsfan
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 22:06
  • It appears my machine uses 4 GB with no applications open other than menu bar apps of which I have many. The leads me to think the system may take s few GB of RAM. Not a big deal with 16 GB of RAM but may be crucial if you only have 4 GB. I'd try loading High Sierra and see how it does on your computer. You can always change back to El Capitan.
    – Natsfan
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 22:18

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .