How Old Is Too Old?

Is it time for a new Mac, iPhone or iPad? The answer depends on what you use your device for and your budget. But Apple does give us some clues as to which devices it thinks are too old on a few web pages. Ultimately, you've got to decide when to get a new Mac. How old do you think is too old?

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with On today's episode let's talk about how old is too old. Is it time to replace your Mac or other Apple device.

So I get asked this a lot. Is my Mac too old? Should I be getting a new one or perhaps maybe my iPhone or iPad. Well there is no one answer that fits everyone. It depends on what you use your devices for and what you expect from them. There are people that want to get the latest and greatest and replace their Mac every year and there are people who want to hang on to theirs as long as it is still useful before upgrading. Of course there is matters of budget as well. But I can appreciate the want of good hard data.

What do other people think. What does Apple think. There are actually a couple pages Apple has on their website to give clues as to what Apple says is too old.

So the first page I want to share with you is this support page at Apple. It's their HT201624. It is Vintage and obsolete products. This page is obviously created to have some regulations about what products are obsolete. There is a bunch of information here that is obviously legal. But it does give some insight as to what Apple likes to support and what they consider to be old.

They list all sorts of models here and you can see these are the ones that they believe are obsolete or they are vintage rather than current Macs. So you can see if your model is on there. There are also peripherals listed in addition. It even goes back into a lot of older stuff and varies by country probably because of different regulations.

You can even see some interesting things. Like, for instance, yep that's right. The Apple II is considered to be vintage or obsolete as well as some older Macs here as well. So it is an interesting page to look through. I almost found myself looking to find out which ones of these I owned.

So the other page good to look at is the page of Technical Specifications with the current version of OS X. So in this case it is SP28 in the knowledge base here. This one for El Capitan lists the hardware requirements for El Capitan. You can go with the idea that basically if your Mac does not run the current version of OS X then you can consider it to be too old. Here it goes. Instead of listing all the models it basically will say something like for the MacBook Air anything late 2008 or newer. So anything that's earlier than that might be considered obsolete because it doesn't run El Capitan.

You can look at some of the other things that are supported or not supported. So there are certain features, for instance like AirDrop, FaceTime that kind of thing, that are not supported on some older Macs. So you want to look at say AirPlay Mirroring. Well then it's basically a machine that's not even a year old might be too old for you if you want to use AirPlay Mirroring.

Now how about iOS. Well go to Apple's What's new page for iOS. So ios/whats-new and you get all this information here. But if I scroll down to the bottom of that I get a compatibility list. This will show me which devices are compatible with iOS 9. Now it doesn't tell quite the whole story. Notice that even the iPad 2, the very second iPad to come out, is compatible with iOS 9. But not all features are going to be compatible with it.

For instance Siri has never been supported on the iPad 2 even though that goes back several versions of iOS. But it does give you some sort of good idea especially with the iPhone here that anything older than the 4S is probably too old to be using anything older than the iPad Touch 5th generations is going to be too old to use iOS 9. So you may want to think about upgrading if you are beyond this list.

Of course, for me it's ultimately subjective. It depends on you and whether or not the device is still fulfilling your needs and whether or not you've got the budget to upgrade and get a newer device that may support newer software, newer things, be faster and have more storage and so forth.

So I would like to hear from you. How old do you think is too old for your Mac or your iOS devices. Leave a comment at this post at

Comments: 51 Responses to “How Old Is Too Old?”

    Mark Tennent
    1/4/16 @ 10:23 am

    My Mac Pro early 2008 is still a performer, maybe not in some areas but for most applications it is as fast as our iMac 2014. Plus it has Firewire and up to 6 internal drives (incl. optical). It is running El Capitan latest betas with no glitches, unlike many of my fellow beta testers with far more recent Macs. I sometimes wonder if Apple’s engineers keep me in the loop because my Mac is so consistently stable.

    I do miss out on some new features but to be honest my iPad covers most of those.

      1/4/16 @ 10:26 am

      I know what you mean. I had a 2008 Mac Pro and only upgraded to the new Mac Pro in early 2015. I think there is something to be said for going top-of-the-line. Those machines seem to remain competitive longer, as they should.

    Barry Karlin
    1/4/16 @ 11:33 am

    I have a 2009 MacBook Pro and have decided to wait until new technology is released this year for a replacement and just bought a iPad mini 4.

    Bill (William)
    1/4/16 @ 11:37 am

    I found my iPad 2 stopped working with the latest IOS. At some point could you say how I should clear all the data off so that it can be sold on ebay? In general, the question is to do with how the whole cycle develops what what is driving it. There was a period of convergence between the phones and the pad and then linking across to the Macs. Technology moves in jumps. We seem to be on a plateau now as everything can be synced across iCloud and problems with storage have been largely solved

      Mark Tennent
      1/5/16 @ 5:04 am

      Biil, my old iPad 2 works fine with the latest iOS. Are you sure it’s not a glitch with the upgrade. It might be worth doing a factory reset.

        Bill (William)
        1/5/16 @ 9:52 am

        Well, it worked but just became slow. I had some money spare and so jumped to the Air2 which is a great piece of kit. So, do I give me old iPad to the grandchildren who want to play Angry Birds on it?

          1/7/16 @ 11:15 am

          You can easily erase and reset the iPad 2 under Settings – General – scroll to bottom.

    1/4/16 @ 12:02 pm

    I still have a “goose neck” iMac, which though limited to Mac OSX Tiger is still a great machine for email and kid games. I still have the old versions of design software as well as MS Office and hey MS Word and Excel have not changed much at their core. But I do also have a never 21″ iMac for work and a 2013 MacBookPro for field work. As long as those devices are producing at their designed levels and operating efficiently, why replace them.

    1/4/16 @ 12:22 pm

    My mid-2007 iMac 24″ was not too old (to me) as recently as late fall. It was running the latest version of the OS (El Capitan), and it was still reasonably speedy. But then the video memory gave out. It became a question of either shelling out $150 or more for parts and repair, or getting a new computer with more “bells and whistles” and speed. The budget allowed, so I opted for the latter. My old, now-sold iMac was the best, most long-lived computers I have ever owned (and that’s been many).

      Ian Maitland
      1/7/16 @ 11:00 am

      2008 iMac 24 inch 4GB memory, did not like Yosemite, so I used Time Machine to revert to Maverick – 10.9.5. I note that El Capitan should work on this machine, but after Yosemite experience not sure I want to try. Would El Capitan be more likely to work if Yosemite did not ?

        1/7/16 @ 11:02 am

        Impossible to say without know what you mean by not working. You said you just didn’t like Yosemite. So what was the problem? Did you have someone check it out if there was a specific issue?

          Ian Maitland
          1/8/16 @ 10:30 am

          Computer ran very slowly and programs frequently crashed or hung.

          Once I reverted to Maverick problems went away

    1/4/16 @ 8:57 pm

    My 2008 macbook is still going strong, just need to change out the battery again. “Too old” tends to be when the last OS it can reasonably run won’t communicate well with whatever is current. Happens much faster with phones — by apple’s design — than with computers.

    1/4/16 @ 10:01 pm

    Using a 2007 Mac Mini right now; it’s largely been my go-to media center. That will likely change soon as I’m stuck on Snow Leopard and have been incrementally losing browser support. Since I do a lot of “serious” work on my iPhone/iPad Air combination (video editing, photo retouching, digital art), I’ve been seriously considering ditching the Mac platform and switching to tvOS for my media consumption needs and perhaps upgrading to the iPad Pro as my “getting-stuff-done” device.

    1/5/16 @ 1:28 pm

    These machines should go on forever ! For these prices? I don´t mind paying for the goods but I have a problem when SW engineers start deliberately developing software so that the machine can´t keep up? I was told at an Apple shop once, the ipod shuffle was out of date and thats why I could´t sync it anymore but don´t worry it only cost 60 Euros new so just buy another one! Excuse me? But why should Apple decide when my money should be used for a new piece of Hardware. Shame on Apple.

      1/7/16 @ 11:42 am

      I think you have a misconception about software developer. I’m a software developer and I can tell you that we don’t do what you suggest. However, we do build new software to take advantage of the latest hardware. Doing otherwise would mean software that underperforms on new machines and it means that the competition will have an easy way to beat it. It also means that buyers of new machines would see no benefit as the new machines running new software would run the same as the old. Tech would stagnate and progress would halt.
      Sounds like you had a bad experience with that old iPod Shuffle, but imagine if Apple still supported all iPods since 2001? People complain that iTunes is “bloated” as it is.

      1/10/16 @ 2:48 pm

      I feel sad that Apple has “outdated” my iPad version 1 but most irritating is that shortly after buying an iPad version 4 Apple gave it/ me “no time” before bringing out another iPad which has made my v4 “gone”, out-dated…apple appears to be decreasing times when it’s “new” items become obsolete:-(

    1/7/16 @ 10:30 am

    I purchased my MacBook Pro 13 inch laptop in September 2010. I noticed that the set up skinny were dated September 2009 maybe it wasn’t September but it was the year 2009. How do I buy a new product in know that it was manufactured as recently as I bought it. I presume the dates they use referenced in your post is the date they were manufactured. So I bought mine brand-new in 2010 but is it correct that I should not use that 2010 date when I’m comparing what year they show is outdated?

      1/7/16 @ 10:41 am

      Right. It is just like cars. Think of it as the “model year.” A 2009 MacBook is a 2009 MacBook no matter when you actually bought it.

    1/7/16 @ 10:30 am

    I have a lot of older products that show obsolete according to the Apple site, they are all still kicking my Late 2009 iMac gets used everyday. I just recently bought a late 2015 27″ iMac Retina. I have the 4th gen iPod Touch, not on that list, the iOS lack of updates, limits who and what it gets used for. I have Apple Music, it does come in handy there, with iTunes Match the songs still show up. I think if items were still updated and supported it would have an impact on new item development

    1/7/16 @ 10:55 am

    I have a 2007 MacBook. I have upgraded the OS to OS 10.6.8. When I check the about this Mac, it says 10.6.8. If the operating systems have these version numbers, why is all the software related to Snow, Snow Leopard, Cheetah, Elephant and the rest of the wild animals without reference to what the OS version is? Is there a cross reference table that can be viewed without spending a day looking for it? I am unable to upgrade this machine any higher so compatibility is difficult to discern.

      1/7/16 @ 10:58 am

      Apple uses names to to identify the major releases of OS X. Many other tech companies do that too.
      You can find lists that tell you which version numbers match which names in a lot of places. For instance, here on this Wikipedia page:

    Piet van 't Zelfde
    1/7/16 @ 10:56 am

    I have a rather new iMac 27″ and an iPad Air 2, but the reason I want to scream from my rooftop is why can’t I use my iDVD or DVD Studio Pro any longer since I update to El Capitan. I still have many customers who want their lives on DVD but Apple says there are no such things any longer. Can I go back to Yosemite on my whole system? HELP !!!

      1/7/16 @ 11:01 am

      iDVD should work fine in El Capitan. There are also many apps in the App Store that let you create DVDs. When Apple sees that a technology is no longer used by many people, it trims the features to reflect that. Macs and OS X would be very bloated and expensive if they still supported every technology dating back to the start. Third-party vendors usually provide bridges for people still wanting the old tech — that is the case here, certainly. Even Apple produces an external DVD drive in this case, and support for DVDs in Final Cut Pro.

    Larry Comstock
    1/7/16 @ 11:09 am

    Believe it or not, I’m still running my 2006 MacBook Pro, OS 10.8.6. Admittedly, it’s getting more incompatible with most all browsers and is slower, but after having retired from the graphic arts industry for 5 years, I still find it useful using my older software. Thinking about getting a new laptop for Internet, etc. use and still using my old reliable for the small amount of work I do. I’m still driving a 2004 Lexus, too. It pays to buy quality!

    Alison Jee
    1/7/16 @ 11:27 am

    I have had my imac for about four years and updated to El Capitan in November. My imac couldn’t cope with it, got slower and slower and in the end it died on me and I had to have a new hard drive installed. My ipad mini is nearly three years old and has slowed down considerably. I find it very annoying that Apple keeps asking you to upgrade the software and then your hardware can’t cope with it. Same happening with iphone4 which I need to update. Totally agree with Alan. Shame on Apple.

      1/7/16 @ 11:36 am

      Updating your OS shouldn’t result in a slower machine. Thinking that is the case may be causing you to ignore what is really slowing things down. Could be an app you installed, running out of storage, a bad hard drive (as was the case with your iMac). Or it could just be perception as apps add newer features that are built for new devices.

        Larry W.
        1/7/16 @ 1:46 pm

        I’m not sure I agree that OS upgrades shouldn’t result in a slower machine. (OK, maybe it shouldn’t, but it often does.) My 2012 iMac definitely slowed down after I upgraded to El Capitan, and a quick Google search confirmed that I wasn’t the only one to have that problem. I found several pages advising disabling various new “eye candy” features in El Capitan, and doing so definitely brought the speed of my iMac back up to par immediately (albeit without some visual effects).

    Cameron Price
    1/7/16 @ 11:43 am

    I use my MacBook Air for just about everything in both my professional and personal life, so it’s absolutely essential that any hardware or software issues can be remedied ASAP. This means when AppleCare runs out, I upgrade, so every 3 years.

    1/7/16 @ 11:44 am

    I’m sure my Mac Plus is obsolete, but I keep it as a conversation piece.

    1/7/16 @ 12:17 pm

    I have a MacBook Pro (15″ early 2008) which I bought as a refurbished unit 7 years ago. I finally had to recently upgrade to Yosemite re browser problems, but I also had more memory put it in at the same time so it continues to serve me well. The OS upgrade has caused a few issues w/other program on my computer but overall I still am very pleased and hope it can go a few more years.

      1/7/16 @ 1:06 pm

      Hi Sharon, Thanks for your post. I, too, have an early 08 Macbook Pro, which I use for movie & photo editing, word processing, Internet, & audio work–meaning, I need Garage Band, Photoshop C6, iMovie, iPhoto, Preview and Pages to keep working without “issues”. I write, and have bushels of documents; photograph and have boatloads of images. So I have stayed with Mountain Lion, not wanting to make problems with my work. If you have time, would you mention what your “issues” have been? Thanks

    Debbie Shapiro
    1/7/16 @ 12:22 pm

    I have an Ipad 2 and the upgrade to IOS 9 was just fine and is working well. It’s a bit heavier than the latest models, but I can live with it until it dies. My Mac is 2011 and is working just fine. When it slows down, I take it to the Apple store and they do something that makes everything good again. Thanks for all your knowledge Gary!!!!

    David Brugger
    1/7/16 @ 12:58 pm

    It does not matter to me how old my machine (MacBook Pro 2011) is or how often i have to upgrade. The real issue is the lack of automatic transfer and upgrade of files that will not open in a new machine.

      1/7/16 @ 1:05 pm

      When you switch to an all-cloud system like I have, then “transfer” isn’t even a thing. You sign in on your new machine and all your files are there.

    1/7/16 @ 1:05 pm

    My iMac 2011 27″ Running El Capitan is the bomb! It is fast, like most of you have over 100+ applications, secure and with Apple support (which I have rarely used) over the years – cannot be beat! Also have the iPhone 5 and the iPad first generation. Superior quality in all cases – obviously you get what you pay for.

    Marsha Kamish
    1/7/16 @ 1:55 pm

    My late-2009 27-inch iMac is as fast as ever. It was my first Mac after 30 years as a PC and I love it but about three months ago the screen started blacking out. It will eventually come back but none of the geniuses can solve the problem. There’s a two-year discussion of this issue here: and no matter what anyone tries (hardware/software/settings) it recurs on ‘old’ and ‘new’ iMacs. Frustrating. But I still don’t feel I need a new one.

    Kevin Ghiglione
    1/7/16 @ 3:14 pm

    I use my 1999 G4 450mhz on 10.4.11 in my art studio with the original 22″ M5662 DVI cinema display. The older version of iTunes still downloads all the podcasts I listen too. All the old programs are on it. I can quickly check/ respond to email. I did use it full time until the end of 2011. AND… I can start it up from the keyboard! It runs every day. Conversely, my family’s barely used 21″ mid 2011 iMac has decided it needs a new logic board. Frustrated and sad about the e-waste.

    Brian Sparks
    1/7/16 @ 4:04 pm

    My wife and I had a 2009 24″ iMac that we absolutely loved. We were still running Snow Leopard just because we were too lazy to upgrade. The LCD went kaput about 3 years ago, instead of having it repaired (Apple wanted $550) we just hooked up a separate monitor. It finally got a virus that created a blue screen that we could not figure out how to remove so we upgraded to a Mac mini and purchased a 27″ Asus monitor. So for a little more than $700 we have a nice setup that works for us. :)

    1/7/16 @ 6:04 pm

    3 years for MacBooks…figure a cost of $2,000 for high end MBP amortized over 36 months is $55 a month. Pretty reasonable for the most important piece of technology you own.

    2 years for phones and tablets

    1/8/16 @ 1:40 pm

    My rule of thumb for replacing an older device is when I want to do something that my current computer or device can’t do — eg. use a certain app, piece of software, or operating system. Also, speed sometimes comes into the mix. If memory is slowing things down is it worthwhile to replace the memory if the processor is also too slow? A combination of these factors usually dictate when it’s a good time to buy a new machine.

    1/8/16 @ 2:18 pm

    My 2008 MacBook runs fine, upgraded memory & running OSX 10.8.5 unsure if I should upgrade the operating system any further , pushing my luck does anybody know?
    I love iMovie but it overheated & shut everything down, lost my project, …but after I added a cooling fan underneath, all seems well again. Can’t afford a new Mac right now , but hopefully in a year.

    Tom Delcre
    1/8/16 @ 3:44 pm

    Since adding the 16Gig of ram, maybe 4 years ago my late 2009 27″ running 10.95 i Mac doesn’t disappoint. I use CS5 routinely, newer version of Microsoft, VLC and Handbrake on occasion. Roxio too.
    I have a 2 Gig Backup HD for music and movies/photos. I’m somewhat tempted to either add a new SSD or maybe an already upgraded rebuilt. But what I have works great, besides I’ll save my 2 grand, and all the new software I would need.

    Bill Bayne
    1/8/16 @ 8:43 pm

    When the original HD failed in my 2005 G4 Mini (OSX 10.4.11). I upgraded to a 80GB SSD instead. Very happy.
    The process forced me to finally put into primary service my “new” Intel Code Duo Mini 2.4 GHz purchased 11/27/10 (10.6.8). The later Firefox fixed problems with my Web Billpay and other sites.

    Now I’m having a 240 GB SSD put in it, and memory upgraded to 8 GB.
    Good to go for a while!

    Sylvie Orp
    1/9/16 @ 3:41 am

    My Mac is 2008. I upgraded to SnowLeopard. This crashed Windows. Spent over £90 buying a more modern Windows and that didn’t work either (quit unexpectedly) so that was £90 down the drain. Dutifully continued to backup onto hard drive every month then, when the system crashed and I tried to get the stuff back, it turned out that it hadn’t been backing up at all – so I lost nearly 18 months of work. Oh, and it’s slower than previously, too. Upgrading to El Capatan or the bit in between – no way.

    1/10/16 @ 3:10 pm

    Wonder if any others who have responded to the “Too Old”inquiry has observed that Apple is(appears to be) moving to “sell!sell!” attitude with fast obsolescence and less support ( or more costly support) of older computers, iPads, etc.?

    1/11/16 @ 3:26 pm

    My Macbook Pro is 5 years old. I hope to buy a new Macbook in April. If the 15″ Macbook Air materialises then this is definitely the one on my radar. Hopefully my wish comes true :)

    Russell Winkler
    1/14/16 @ 2:27 pm

    I had a 2007 Mac Pro unti late 2014 and it was running good. When I bought it was top of the line, fast processing, RAM was 8 GB. Lots storage space. I wanted to do things with Yosemite, but I couldn’t upgrade the Mac Pro because it had an Intel Xeon chip, so I was stuck with Lion OS on it. Eventually, I gave it a friend, and bought a 2014 Retina MacBook Pro that had Yosemite, and now El Capitan…

    David Kievman
    1/31/16 @ 1:32 pm

    I prefer anything that is vintage. The latest Mac I own is a Mac MIni late 2012 and I’m still somewhat dissatisfied. Apple has decided for me that I can’t run any OS older than Mountain Lion. Who are they to decide which OS I want to run. Their lucky I even bought a computer from them. The Mini is flawed in the video department so decent gaming is out. I don’t get it. If Apple can reduce a high powered G4 tower to a tiny early Mini then anything is possible.

    2/14/16 @ 4:55 pm

    I have a Macbook Pro 15 from late 2007 running Snow Leopard. With support ending I know I need to upgrade but I am really worried about going past Mountain Lion. 4MB Ram. I use it for presentations so can’t afford to not have it. Is it worth paying for the Mountain Lion upgrade alone? Who knows! It still works great and I don’t need high powered apps but it no longer syncs my photos from my phone (iphone 6). I hate planned obsolescence!

    2/14/16 @ 5:25 pm

    Patsye: even if you could find a way to install Mountain Lion, why? Why not go to El Capitan? It’s free.
    Of course I’m scratching my head as to why you haven’t upgraded to any newer version of OS X over all these years. I know you are not alone but it makes no sense to me.
    Also “planned obsolescence” isn’t real. I’m a developer. It doesn’t work that way. I know there are people that can’t be convinced otherwise, but I see no evidence that Apple does that.

Comments Closed.