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I have an early 2015 MacBook Air with an 1,6 GHz Intel Core i5 and 4GB of memory (the computer is working well, except for a tired battery).

In any case, after a long time with an earlier system, today I updated the Mac to Mojave, but I realized after doing that that the latest system compatible with it would be Monterey. I'm ready to update to Monterey, but before doing so, wanted to know if there was any reason I shouldn't.

In particular:

Is there any huge changes between Mojave and Monterey that would cause modern applications to break? (I see from a comment below that 32-bit won't run, but most up-to-date applications run in 64-bit? Or is that incorrect?). Are there any other major factors to consider?

I'm assuming it's fine, but better safe than sorry.

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    I’m trying to find a way to refine this question so it’s not opinionated (off topic) but also not a potential duplicate. Is there a practical problem that you can identify which we can address directly? Moving from one OS version to another can be a source of consternation, but that’s why we’ve got Time Machine (backups)
    – Allan
    Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 0:04
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    I think some facts can be presented that are not opinion based. The Safari that comes with Mojave is not current and therefore does not work with many websites. However, there are many third party browsers that can be installed with Mojave that are current releases. Mojave can run 32 bit applications, but Monterey can not unless you install an applicable older OS X/macOS as a virtual machine. Running a virtual machine will other software open in Monterey would be difficult with only 4 GB of memory. You can not add memory to your Mac. Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 0:35
  • @Allan -- I edited the question to try to make it more specific and less opinion-based. My inclination is to forge ahead, as I don't see any problems. Just thought to ask...
    – Cerulean
    Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 0:54
  • I refined your question to focus in the factors affecting this scenario. I removed the “taxing” question because it has been asked before in other forms and it’s typically one topic per question. However, feel free to rollback and edit if necessary.
    – Allan
    Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 1:37
  • If you have enough disk space, create a new volume, install Monterey there and test it.
    – lhf
    Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 10:10

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Monterey is the last supported OS version for your Mac, so there will be no problem in running it. The latest versions of apps may require an OS higher than Mojave. You will also have more up-to-date security patches.

The biggest problem when making a large 'delta' in OS upgrade is whether your installed software will still be compatible. Many apps will need an update, and these may be free or require purchase. Drivers for external hardware and software that alters the OS behaviour is particularly prone to causing problems on much newer versions. You may have 'background processes' launching, that aren't visible. (E.g. stuff you've installed that wants to keep ticking away, like Microsoft Updater.)

As you've just updated from 'an earlier version', all your software will likely need to be updated and checked for compatibility.

As you say, moving up from Mojave will cut-off any 32-bit applications from working. If I remember correctly, Mojave will give you a warning when you launch 32-bit software, telling you that it needs to be updated. So may be go through everything in Mojave and see what happens. Obviously, all new versions of apps since Mojave are now 64-bit.

It's also worth mentioning that an MBA with those specs will be fine for light use - email, web, office documents - but struggle with anything more demanding.

You'll probably be able to install 'the latest software' for two more years, after which time you'll have to keep your Mac as it is, with no new software and gradually diminishing compatibility.

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  • Mojave only warns once [per app], so you can't check that way. Activity Monitor can add a column for 32/64 bit so you could test by running each non-Apple app - tedious but authoritative.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 3, 2023 at 7:43

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