4/30/219:00 am How Many Years Should a New Mac Last? When you buy a new Mac, how long can you expect it to last before you need a new one? The answer depends on how you use the Mac, your needs and how they change, and a variety of other factors. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. So, how long should your new Mac last? Well let's try to answer that question. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than 900 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you can read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. When you buy a new Mac you may already be thinking about how long is that new Mac going to last you. The answer is that is varies depending upon how you use the Mac, what your needs are, and many other factors. Let's take a in-depth look at the many ways that determine how long a new Mac should last. So when you think about how many years your Mac should last you're probably starting with your purchase date. Then from there thinking, well, will it last 5 years, 7 years, or more. But there are actually three different times you should think about as far as when your Mac is born. Those would be the date when the Mac is new. When it's first put up for sale by Apple. Also the date when it's discontinued by Apple. In other words a new Mac model comes along and replaces that one and you could not longer buy that model new. Of course, there's the date that you purchased it which is probably somewhere in-between. Now the time between the new and discontinued date can vary. A new MacBook Air could be replaced as soon as the very next year. So that could just be a one year period. But there have been times, like with the MacMini, where it could be four or five years between when the new model was introduced and a new one comes along to replace it. Now how about some designations for the age of a Mac. Vintage and Obsolete. Vintage starts when the Mac is five years old. But that's five years from when they discontinued the Mac. So you may have bought the Mac at one point. But if Apple continues to sell that Mac for months or even a year or more after you purchased it, and you could still get that one as new, then the date when they discontinue it that's where you want to start counting. Five years from that date the Mac is designated as Vintage and seven years after that date it's Obsolete. But don't worry about the dictionary definitions of vintage and obsolete. What they mean to Apple is when something is obsolete it is no longer going to stock parts or repair that Mac. So if you bring in a Mac that 7 years past the date where Apple sold it then you're not going to be able to get Apple to fix it for you if you need a replacement part, a new screen or keyboard or something like that. Apple is not going to service it. It doesn't mean that a third party can't service it or maybe you can fix it yourself. You're just not going to be able to get official hardware support from Apple. Now the two year's where it's Vintage some parts and some things will be serviced by Apple where others won't. In other words nothing is guarantee but if you take a five year old or six year old Mac into Apple and you need something fixed they could very well say, yes we'll fix it for you for whatever the repair price is. So for some people that's one thing to consider. Five years after Apple last sold the model that you've got, it's now Vintage and maybe you want to start thinking about a newer one. Then when you get to seven years then you run into the Obsolete territory. But the other thing to think about is Operating System. If you're like me you want to always run the latest version of macOS. Apple typically allows machines that are about seven years old to run the latest version of macOS. But it varies by model. So right now in 2021 you can go back to a 2014 Mac and most of those will run Big Sur. If you look at Catalina it was within the same timeframe. So the life span seems to be about seven years. But that's from when it was New. So you have to look at the date that your Mac was first available from Apple. It's not always going to be exactly this. There will always be some models that maybe don't get up to seven years and other models that maybe get some extra support for a year or two. Now if you're curious about which version of macOS your older Mac can run all you really need to do is type in the name of the macOS, like macOS Big Sur, and the technical specifications and you'll get Apple's page where, for each version of macOS, like here's Big Sur, they list the hardware requirements. Now it's a little hard to go through each version of macOS and look so I've compiled a list here, which I hope to keep updated. If you go to this webpage you can then see the requirements list for each version of macOS going all the way back to Yosemite. But beyond Operating Systems there's another thing to consider. That's Security Updates. Now, obviously, if your Mac can run the latest version of macOS then you're set for Security Updates. However Apple also provides security updates for older versions of macOS. For awhile now they've done that for the last two versions. So, for instance, this year along side the security patches for Big Sur Apple has also released security patches for Mojave and Catalina. So if you don't need the latest Operating System, you're okay with getting one or two behind, you can expect to have those security patches and maybe extend the life of your Mac past 7 seven to 8 or even 9 years. Now the thing about computers is they don't really have parts that necessarily wear out. If everything works right things like the CPU, GPU, memory, storage should outlast the usefulness of your Mac. In other words they should still be working no matter how old the machine gets when it's way past time for you to upgrade to something newer. That's why so many of use, myself included, have closets with a few old Macs in them that work perfectly fine, they're just not something we want to use today. But there is an exception to that. The exception is the battery. Most Macs sold are MacBook models. So if you look at the battery it ages depending upon how you use it. In general the biggest factor for battery longevity is the number of cycles. A cycle is when you have the battery charged to 100%. You use it all the way down to 0% and then you charge it back up to 100%. That's one cycle. Meaning that if you use it from 100 to 50% and then you charge it back up, that's half a cycle. How many cycles you use really depends on how you use your Mac. For instance, if you're somebody that uses you Mac all day long on battery, goes all the way down to zero and then finally plugs it in at the end of the day, you're going to be going through 300 or more per year. If you're doing 350 cycles per year you could expect to hit 1000 cycles just before then end of the third year. A 1000 cycles is approximately going to be the life of a lithium ion battery in the MacBook. After three years the Mac could still work but it's time for a new battery. You can get a new battery from Apple or a third party and then just keep using that Mac. But even if you think you're using your battery a lot if you're not taking it down to zero, maybe you're taking it down to 20 or 30% and you're not doing it quite everyday, like maybe not on weekends, then you could be more in the 200 cycles per year range which means that your battery could last 5 years before it needs to get replaced. A lot of us are less than that. Maybe you keep your MacBook plugged in a lot so you're not draining the battery much and you're only about a 100 cycles per year. In that case the battery should last the life of the MacBook. Now note that this is the one case where your purchase date really does matter because the battery starts getting used when you buy your Mac. So it really doesn't matter when the model was new or when Apple stopped selling it, it's the date that you got your Mac. That's when you start measuring battery life. As someone who primarily uses a desktop Mac but has a MacBook as a second Mac and a travel Mac and something to sit on the sofa next to me while I'm watching TV, I go through about 100 cycles per year and for my last few MacBooks I actually replaced them long before the battery needed to be serviced. But it's something you need to consider. So what does it tell you about how long your Mac should last? Well, for a lot of people you're going to fall into this range. So if you're a home user or maybe somebody who uses your Mac for work but not as your primary tool for getting work done, in other words you're not editing video or coding, somewhere between 5 and 7 years is a pretty general answer for how long a Mac should last. Five to seven years will allow you to always run the latest version of macOS, always have the latest security updates. Now, on the other hand, if you're someone that wants to get the most number of years out of your Mac you could take it into the Obsolete territory. This means that at the end you won't be able to run the most recent version of macOS. If you're okay with that then this will work for you and you'll still be able to get security updates from Apple. Of course you have a much greater chance if it's a MacBook that at some point you'll have to replace the battery. But since it's going to be harder to get batteries for older models you may really want to pay attention to that. At some point, maybe 5 or 6 years in, get a new battery then when it will be easier to do so, so that your Mac then will last you longer. On the other hand if you're someone that uses your Mac as a primary tool for work, when you're using your Mac you're making money using your Mac, then you may want to consider sticking with one of the latest models. This is also true for people that just like gadgets in Macs and want to have the latest and greatest at all times. You may want to replace your Mac after just two or three years or even less time. Of course an advantage there is that if you resell your Mac you'll actually be able to get some decent money for a Mac that's not that old. But really there are a ton of different situations to consider. Everybody uses their Mac a little different. Everybody has different needs. So where you fall in here depends on those factors. Money is another factor too. If it's no problem for you to buy a Mac every three years then you may want to do that and avoid ever having an older Mac. One the other hand if buying a new Mac is a financial difficulty then you probably want to get the most number of years out of your Mac before you need to replace it. But there are also some other factors to consider. First, let's look at what happens if you've got a MacPro. If you're a MacPro user it's a little different. First of all Apple doesn't come out with new MacPros that often. Second of all they are upgradeable. My 2008 MacPro I upgraded with a new hard drive, an SSD, and more memory during its lifespan. So the MacPro is a little different than the rest of the Macs. Also, your needs may change. For instance you may get a new job. One that requires you to have a Mac that has different capabilities. For instance you may have an iMac but now you may want a MacBook because you need to travel to and from work with it. Or you might need more storage because needs change. For instance when you bought your Mac you got a pretty small drive but you've got really into photography now and take thousands and thousands of pictures using RAW and now you find the hard drive isn't working for you anymore. It's just too small. So it's time to get a new Mac a little earlier to fit how your needs have changed. Another factor is you may have made a bad decision when you bought the current Mac that you have. This is actually very common. I hear people that buy a new Mac and buy storage that is too small. All the time they are struggling with the fact that there's not enough storage on their drive for the work that they do. So that kind of pushes up the years in terms of replacing that Mac to right that mistake. I always encourage people to get more storage. That should be the first thing that you spend money on beyond the base model. Get more than you think you'll need because you've got to plan for the future. Another item is financial change. Maybe you bought a low end MacBook Air while you were in college or when you were starting out in a job. But now your situation has changed and you can afford a better Mac that's more capable and fits your needs. Another thing, of course, that comes into play is physical damage. If you've damaged your Mac, if you've dropped your MacBook or something like that then, of course, this will shorten the lifespan of it. You may need to replace it right away or you may just want to replace a Mac with a scratched up screen or case a little bit earlier. So, of course, it helps to take care of your machines but sometimes accidents happen. Finally, there's software compatibility. So you may rely on a particular piece of software from a third party and they may come out with a new version of it that doesn't run on a Mac that's more than a few years old. So you really need a new one in order to use the software that you need. This comes up a lot especially for professionals. So you could be going on perfectly fine for years into owning a new Mac and find out it's time to upgrade now. You're just going to be able to get your work done better if you got a new Mac right now. There are other factors as well which is why there is no one perfect answer. If you're looking for a general answer I would say between 5 and 7 years for most people. You could push it past 7 years if you really want to and the circumstances are right. If you want to get a new Mac every 1, 2, or 3 years that's perfectly fine for professionals and for people who just really like having the latest Macs as long as you can afford it.Related Subjects: Mac Hardware (43 videos) Related Video Tutorials: No related posts. Comments: 28 Responses to “How Many Years Should a New Mac Last?” Robert 3 years ago Thanks for thoughtful item on How Long will Your Mac Last? Guess it is time to replace my 2013. Trouble is, getting new iMac = new software as the new machines are not as capable as the older ones. No legit reason for Apple failing to provide security upgrades for up to 20 years. Hank Lee 3 years ago From 30+ years experience as a Mac user and 11 Macs over that time, which have been handed down to others in the family, most last about 9 to 10 years, with the longest being 15 years in use. Only one has died, the rest were outdated by needed app upgrades. Howard Brazee 3 years ago One reason to keep a Mac a long time is if you need a program that won't run on Catalina or Big Sur. While I have ordered a M1 iMac, I have to keep my late 2013 iMac for a while so that I can boot to Mojave. (The program I need has its upgrade promised this Spring, so hopefully I can get rid of my old Mac soon). Of course, I could have upgraded to an Intel Mac and still been able to boot to Mojave. For now. nick 3 years ago Great presentation Gary. I've handed down my old Mac to one one of my grandkids who's just starting to use it for school work. I've trimmed the OS down to its most basic software, and it's very useable for his needs. Besides, used that as a further justification for me to buy a new Mac ;) Rob Mayer 3 years ago I have a 2012 Mac Mini. If I understand you correctly I’m within a year of no longer getting security updates. If true, how risky is it going forward after that...is there any way to mitigate that risk? Otherwise how do people manage to use their macs for years after they ran out of security updates without risking their data? Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Rob: It depends on what you use your Mac for, and how you use it. If you use it for something where security is a concern (government, corporate secrets, etc) then I wouldn't use any device that isn't getting security updates. But for home stuff, if you just avoid downloading anything from sites you don't absolutely trust, then you should be fine. Geoff Stanton 3 years ago I have been a mac user since 1992 and have thrown away numerous machines that were perfectly serviceable and had years of life left in them. This is inexcusable in my view and is about to happen again with my Macbook Pro 2012 which runs Windows in Parallels faster still than any PC I have ever owned, yet I can't upgrade it to Big Sur so I have no choice but to upgrade. This is the only bad thing I have to say about Apple - shame really- for us and the planet. Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Geoff: Aren't you recycling them? Apple has a recycling program. Laraine 3 years ago My husband is still using a Mac Pro from 2008 and my MacBook Pro (now seldom used) comes from 2009. Computers and computer peripherals are so expensive it is disgusting that they are obsolete at 7 years. My CanoScan 8400F is over 12 years old (it could be as old as 16 years) and cost me just over NZ$300 (a lot more money then that it seems today) and but for VueScan I wouldn't be able to use it now. Evelyn N. 3 years ago is there any hope for my 2009 MAC that will only go half way on the opening bar? Don’t know if it is worth spending for a fix it person to come and try to get it going. Ricard Gubau 3 years ago Hi Gary, I got a MacBook Air 13-inch early in 2015 and I want to change it. As the MacBook air M1 was released last November, do you think it is likely that next November it will have a new update? In case not, when do you think Apple will release it? I don't believe that it will be soon because Apple is busy in the current transition for the other models. Thanks. Ricard Gubau Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Ricard: I think they will have a higher-end MacBook Pro out at some point this year, but probably not a new lower end model. But that is just speculation. Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Evelyn: Impossible for me to guess from afar what could be wrong with your 2009 Mac, sorry. Maybe see if they will look at it at the Genius Bar for free. Could be something as simple as reinstalling the system from scratch. brad 3 years ago My iMac's video went first. I'm using it for my backup disck. Most other models will be better for this than the iMac because it's a big ugly reminder of a bad buy. Keith Swango 3 years ago I have a mid-2014 Macbook Pro. It still runs fine for my uses. I was surprised that you said a Macbook Pro can be upgraded. I've always heard that it cannot be upgraded. If I were to want to upgrade, is it only Apple that can do it? Thanks for videos! I learn something every week! Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Keith: Not sure what you mean. I say Mac Pros are upgradeable. MacBook Pros are not. Keith Swango 3 years ago Sorry, Gary. I didn't know there was a difference. Just looked it up! Like I said, I learn something every week! Pamela Bouchard 3 years ago Great video! I have a late 2012 iMac with a 2.7 GH intel core i5 processor and 16 GB memory running high sierra 10.13.6. I want to upgrade the software, preferably to big sure but my local computer guy said that by the time I upgrade the drive to handle an upgrade in software I should just buy a new mac. I was planning on buying one of the new M1 macs, but I really don't like the new design. Does it make sense to pay to upgrade my current mac, or just hope it lasts until a better design.. Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Pamela: That is up to you. For me, it seems a waste to pour more money into a 9-year old computer that doesn't even support the latest macOS (it can't run Big Sur) and is too old for even Apple to repair. pamela bouchard 3 years ago Thank you. Do you think they will come out with another mac without white bezels? I am concerned that the new one that may come out will be quite expensive and too big. I would rather it not be so thin, and have more ports. What do you think? Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago pamela: I don't see why they would change the color of the bezels. I do think they will eventually come out with a larger size to replace the 27-inch iMac, but yes it would be more expensive no doubt. pamela 3 years ago Thank you Gary, a lot of reviewers are saying that this new mac is an "entry level" mac and that apple will come out with a more professional one with black bezels - but maybe they are just hoping that is true! Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago pamela: The biggest piece of evidence that this is true is that the new 24-inch iMac replaced the old 21.5-inch iMac. But the old 27-inch Intel iMac is still for sale. So it stands to reason that they will eventually replace that with a new Apple Silicon iMac as well, with higher specs (and price). pamela 3 years ago Some people are recommending the 27 inch intel mac over the new M1. What do you think of comparing the two of them? Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago pamela: Who? I think it is a bad idea to get an Intel Mac at this point. See https://macmost.com/should-you-buy-a-new-mac-now.html pamela 3 years ago Thank you Gary, I just listed to that one again. OK, so when I get a new mac, should I go to Big Sur directly from High Sierra? Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago pamela: New Macs would come with the current version of the operating system. SO if you buy a new Mac now, it will come with Big Sur. Priscilla English 2 years ago I have a late 2012 mac book pro the battery still charges to 100 per cent and I have always kept it plugged in and on sleep when I'm not using it. It was also the last model with the built in cd/DVD player I have it hooked up to two box speakers Comments Closed.