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I read on macOS Big Sur Preview page that the upcoming release will support only the Late 2013 and later models of MacBook Pro.

Does it mean the Early 2013 MacBook Pro won't be able to run macOS Big Sur? What is the difference between the two?

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An "early 2013" is either a MacBookPro10,1 or a MacBookPro10,2... same machine ID as the 2012's, just with faster processors. They ARE in everymac's list and in mactracker's list... don't waste time with information from OWC.

The answer to your question about support is that the 10,x are on the vintage list, and the 11,x are not. The 11,x have arguably better graphics support than the 10,x do.

The 10,x machines support Catalina. ref: support.apple.com/en-us/HT210222

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Yes, this in fact is an existing restriction with Catalina (see screenshot). It is unsurprising that the version of Mac OSX after Catalina has the same limitation; ultimately the hardware gets left behind as it becomes incompatible with changes in the OS.

See this table from https://eshop.macsales.com/guides/Mac_OS_X_Compatibility:

enter image description here

EveryMac lists the specifications of the Early and Late 2013 MacBook Pros at https://everymac.com/systems/by_year/macs-released-in-2013.html

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  • Why there is no MBP Early 2013 15" on that table? Only the 'late' one is exist – webchun Jun 24 at 7:57
  • @webchun I am guessing it's because there was no early 2013 model released. You can see the late 2013 is MacBookPro 11,1 i.e. the first in the "11" series. – mhaselup Jun 24 at 9:33
  • There is early 2013 version support.apple.com/kb/sp669?locale=en_US, but got the answer from what @marc-wilson said, that early 2013 version is considered a 2012 version – webchun Jun 26 at 0:19
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Does it mean the Early 2013 MacBook Pro won't be able to run macOS Big Sur?

No, it means it's not supported.

There's plenty of evidence of macOS running on unsupported hardware. There's a cottage industry of people building a "hackintosh" for themselves. A "hackintosh" is non-Apple hardware running macOS, done by careful selection of hardware and with modifications made to the installer to bypass the checks for supported Apple computers.

One reason Apple drops support for older hardware is that they don't come with a powerful enough GPU out of the box. Add the right kind of GPU and it may install. Perhaps the older computers don't always come with enough RAM or drive space, a configure to order model might work.

Point is that there's going to be people that will want to run Big Sur on unsupported hardware and given the success of past attempts they will be successful again to some degree.

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  • It's not 'power' of GPU but things like whether it supports Metal; there are other requirements like Sidecar only working on CPUs that have particular video compression in hardware. You may get things to work, but if the necessary hardware isn't there, the experience will be poor. Unsupported hardware won't run BS well, at best. And that's why Apple cuts off hardware, because they don't want people posting "This new OS is really slow and full of graphics glitches!" – benwiggy Jun 25 at 11:04

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