On the MacBook white 7,1 (mid-2010) the operating system can be upgraded this way:

Snow Leopard 10.6.8El Capitan 10.11High Sierra 10.13

I have no special reason for upgrading, apart from the fact that some web sites nowadays are poorly compatibly with outdated browsers, and also that old systems are possibly more vulnerable. The browser used is Firefox.

I upgraded the MacBook mid-2010 to MacOS X El Capitan and cannot see performance issues with the following hardware : 4GB RAM, Core

  • 4GB RAM
  • 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce 320M 256Mo
  • SSD 256GB (TLC NAND)

I wonder if I should upgrade to High Sierra, or if this would involve a loss of performance. I think it should be ok but would appreciate any feedback from people with same kind of hardware components that did the upgrade to High Sierra.

(N.B. I have a backup of Snow Leopard if necessary but would like avoid doing the job twice.)

2 Answers 2


From the standpoint of having current browser support, consider the following.

I have High Sierra installed on a 2011 iMac. The version of Safari included with High Sierra is to old to work properly with may websites. In such cases, I have installed and use the current version of Microsoft Edge. The table below shows El Capitan and High Sierra support for the current version of some popular browsers.

Browser El Capitan High Sierra
Safari No No
FireFox No Yes
Microsoft Edge No Yes
Chrome No Yes

From this, I would conclude you should choose High Sierra over El Capitan. If you first upgrade to El Capitan, be sure to install all El Capitan software updates before upgrading to High Sierra.

FYI, I have been using High Sierra for years and have never had to reinstall. My internal drive is the original HDD. This means I have High Sierra installed on a JHFS+ volume. Since you have a SSD, I would assume your High Sierra upgrade would be to a APFS volume. In other words, the installed would automatically convert your JHFS+ volume to APFS, unless you instruct the installer not to.

  • Thank you David for your detailed answer, with the the insight about browser support. With El Capitan, I see that Firefox is able to update up to 78.15.0esr, which has security fixes up to October 5, 2021: support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/… To install it, it suffice to go to the "Firefox > About Firefox" (several times) and install updates. Firefox will successively update to version 57 > 72 > 77 > 78.15.0esr.
    – OuzoPower
    Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 8:48
  • Security updates are not the same a feature updates. If you what the current version of FireFox, then you need to be able to continue updating until you reach 105.0.1. See the website Firefox Releases for a list. I this will require at least Sierra (macOS 10.12). See the website Firefox System Requirements. Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 12:29

This might get closed as 'opinion-based' but before it does… my opinion;)

Not worth upgrading from El Capitan to High Sierra.
Both OSes are equally out of date compared to modern systems. Both will increasingly require workarounds to connect to the internet - which should really be avoided for either. Keep it offline as much as humanly possible.
Neither will properly be able to interact with such as the App Store - which won't really matter much as neither will be able to use any new apps from it. You will be hard pushed to find any new apps that will support that far back - so long as your current old apps still work that's not an issue.

So, as either is an island in the stream, dropping further & further behind 'today', then the only important thing is how each behaves.

El Capitan was a really good, solid OS. Probably the pinnacle of the old OS X. The Sierras were an unmitigated disaster, saved eventually by Mojave… which you can't use without hacking - not recommended if you want performance & you can't hack it right up to a current OS anyway - so don't.
High Sierra uses a poor early implementation of APFS which was very troublesome. Avoid.

Stick with El Cap. Stay off the interwebz.
Be happy.

  • I’m happy with my MacBook 2009 running High Sierra, especially after installing an SSD. See apple.stackexchange.com/questions/163928/…
    – lhf
    Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 16:13
  • I don’t have any problems with browsing in High Sierra. Safari works ok, the latest versions of Firefox and Chrome are available
    – lhf
    Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 16:15
  • @lhf - I spent two years avoiding the Sierras. Every time I risked upgrading something would screw up badly & I'd revert to my clone. Eventually I got stuck on High Sierra for a few months before I got the first Mojave beta & never had to use the Sierras again. I couldn't have been happier. See apple.stackexchange.com/q/271104/85275 - apple.stackexchange.com/q/328358/85275 and apple.stackexchange.com/q/328386/85275 I couldn't wait to be rid of the Sierras.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 16:26
  • 1
    @Tetsujin: Thank you for sharing your experience. I agree that new MacOS version are not necessarily an improvement and might remove compatibity of some beloved apps. Mojave is not compatible with MacBook 7,1 (MacBook white mid-2010). I think I will stay with El Capitan for this MacBook. Firefox 78.15.0esr includes security fixes up to October 5, 2021. If staying offline most of the time, it should be ok.
    – OuzoPower
    Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 8:58

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