I am pretty computer-dumb. I am still operating on Mac OS X 10.10.5 MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2012 with Yosemite) and have started to lose functionality - some websites don't open, softwares don't work, etc. due to my outdated browser. When I go to the app store to view available updates, there are none. Months ago I tried to manually update the OS to Catalina (I think) and it completely crashed my computer; I had a smart friend restore it, but it is back to the old OS. How do I get something more functional so I can download new browsers, etc?

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    You need to tell us precisely what Mac it is. Click the Apple logo top left & get "About this mac" It will show as something like 'Macbook Pro (2012)' etc. That will tell us what's the latest OS you can run. – Tetsujin Jul 26 at 18:31
  • Thanks - its MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2012) – lyotown Jul 26 at 18:34
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    OK, that can run Catalina, but you might need to first make a stepping stone via El Capitan & then possibly another via High Sierra [Try High Sierra first & see if it will let you] . See apple.stackexchange.com/questions/309399/… which has got to be quite a complicated answer over the years, but should guide you. You can do this, it just might be a bit tricky to figure out to start with. Have a careful read through & come back if you really struggle. – Tetsujin Jul 26 at 18:38
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    Thank you - I will take a read! – lyotown Jul 26 at 18:57
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    The newest versions of macOS use the APFS filesystem, which is designed for SSDs, and in my experience doesn't perform well on traditional hard drives. Unless you upgrade your MacBook to an SSD, I wouldn't upgrade macOS past High Sierra (10.13). – Gordon Davisson Jul 26 at 22:46

I would start first opening this link in safari.

Don’t take the bait in step 4 trying to get you Catalina, You want this next link first...

While it’s downloading check your backup is solid. The upgrade and updates don’t intentionally erase data, but better safe than sorry.

Also, seriously consider an internal SSD if you move to APFS and past High Sierra.

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  • Thanks - so if I go to High Sierra am I effectively skipping El Capitain and Sierra? I tried installing El Capitain but although it said it was successful it didn't seem to 'take' – lyotown Jul 28 at 19:20

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