I have a MacBook Air computer that is running Catalina version 10.15.4. I know it is possible to just do an all-encompassing software update but I've had this computer for some five or six years by now, and I'm worried if my computer may not be able to handle a software update. It works very well currently for its age as a MacBook and I've read and heard about how sometimes Apple products' software updates intentionally bring down the quality of the device to convince the user to just buy a new one at the store.

I don't know if this is really true or not for Apple computers, but I'm pretty sure that's how it is for phones, isn't it? Anyways, I don't want this to happen - but at the same time I really do like the new Apple maps interface I've seen on my friend's updated Mac. I wish I could just update just that app, like how one can do in the app store with other Apple apps like Pages, Garageband, etc. But since it's a built in app, it seems like the only way I can update Maps is to update the whole system, which I don't want. Is it possible to update just one built-in app without updating my entire computer?

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    Normally no. In addition, even if there were a hack, I doubt it would be a good idea because the new versions of the built-in applications would partly depend on some new parts of the more recent versions of macOS.
    – Alper
    Commented Feb 28, 2023 at 2:45
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    Also Apple does not reduce the quality of the device with software updates - what evidence do you have that they do?
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Feb 28, 2023 at 10:10
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    I have a ten year old MacBook Air and it has handled all updates just fine. In fact last time I wiped it clean when updating to 11.7.4. just to get rid of old cruft.
    – Mankka
    Commented Feb 28, 2023 at 12:53

2 Answers 2


Apps are instructions to the OS. New apps may use new features of a new OS, which aren't available (or work differently) in the older OS. So it's unlikely that a newer version of Maps would work on an older OS.

Even if the OS-bundled apps were available separate on the App Store, the Store won't let you download a version that requires a newer OS.

The notion that Apple deliberately makes older computers (or phones) run slower on new OSes to encourage hardware sales is a lovely conspiracy theory, but not borne out by evidence.

Firstly, it's in Apple's interest to have as many people as possible running the latest OS. A fragmented user base is not attractive to application developers, and having lots of third-party apps available is a major selling point for the platform to users.

Second, Apple makes more money from selling services than Macs. So, if you're paying for Apple Music, TV, iCloud Drive, App Store apps, then Apple is doing very nicely from you.

Making devices appear to be slow is not in Apple's interest, because it reflects badly on the experience of using an Apple device. If your Mac is running slow, you might decide to move to Windows or Linux instead.

Admittedly, to some extent, new OSes (and the apps that run on it) will want to use the increased computing power of newer hardware, so older devices may eventually struggle somewhat. But at the same time, Apple is primarily focused on giving mobile devices a long battery life, and this is achieved in part by efficiency of operation.

Some older devices are deliberately excluded from installing new OSes because the 'user experience' isn't good enough. Apple spends a lot of time and effort to try to make new OSes run on older devices; and only when they can't cope are they removed from support.

The support lifespan for Apple's phones is way ahead of Android devices. If Apple wanted to get people buying new phones, then they could just reduce the support lifespan.

The only time they have throttled devices is on phones with failing batteries, in order to avoid the phone switching off because the battery can't give maximum power anymore. Again, from the user experience perspective, having a phone that randomly switches off is worse than one that can't use full power.

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    I've never heard of Apple slowing down old Macs, but they definitely used to slow down old phones.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Feb 28, 2023 at 16:41
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    Stuff like this also happens naturally. As a code base gets older it gets bigger. As it gets bigger it's tested on faster and faster computers. Soon it performs slower on it's original hardware. No one conspired to do this. You'd have to make the dev team work on vintage hardware to prevent it. Even then they'd still be adding stuff that slows it down. This just gives them a chance to notice and maybe care. Commented Feb 28, 2023 at 17:25
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    @wizzwizz4 But they slowed down old phones to make them work more reliably with worn batteries so that their owners could keep using them for longer, which is the opposite of what’s being claimed.
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Feb 28, 2023 at 19:34
  • @MikeScott Yes, that's Apple's claimed reason. It might even be true. But Apple benefits from newer phones being faster as well as from older phones lasting longer. Apple, as a company, is pretty good at responding to incentives; it's reasonable to assume they're doing exactly that.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Feb 28, 2023 at 23:19
  • @wizzwizz4 So, if Apple benefits from older phone lasting longer, and they respond to incentives, it's reasonable to assume that they're NOT deliberately slowing down phones as part of some evil plan.
    – benwiggy
    Commented Mar 1, 2023 at 7:54

It's probably not possible. To be a bit more specific with benwiggy's answer, a lot of Apple's own apps will outsource their code to "frameworks" that are bundled in the system. For example, the Maps app code doesn't all exist in the Maps app itself; a bunch of code is moved to the GeoServices, MapKit, MapsSuggestions, MapsSupport, MapsSync, MapsUI, and Navigation frameworks, plus dozens more that are shared with other apps (as of Ventura 13.2.1). All of those are built in to the system, so you'd have to move over updated versions of every one of them. Those frameworks are also available to other apps, so you might get compatibility problems with other apps having mismatched versions. At that point, you'd probably be better off updating the entire OS.

(If you're curious, you can run the otool -L "/System/Applications/Maps.app/Contents/MacOS/Maps" command in the Terminal app to get a list of all the frameworks that the Maps app uses. The command works with other apps as well.)

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