Mountain Lion, Apple OS may drop support for older Macs

Mountain Lion's Messages app now works with iMessage to let users carry over conversations from their iOS devices to their computer.

(CNET) - Apple announced Thursday its latest update of the the Macintosh operating system, Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8). Mac developers got an early preview of the ninth update of OS X. 

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If you've taken a look at Apple's sneak peek of its upcoming revision to OS X, you might wonder if your system will be able to run the operating system. In recent versions of OS X, some requirements have resulted in older hardware no longer working properly, including the drop of PowerPC support in Snow Leopard, and Lion not installing on some of the earliest Intel-based Mac systems.

Unfortunately, Apple has not yet officially released the system requirements for the new OS, but the developer release that is being issued to members of its Mac development community does contain a list of supported devices:

Mac (mid-2007 or later)
MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, 2008), (13-inch, early 2009 or later)
MacBook Pro (13-inch, mid-2009 or later), (15-inch, 2.4/2.2 GHz, mid-2007 or later), (17-inch, late 2007 or later)
MacBook Air (late 2008 or later)
Mac Mini (early 2009 or later)
Mac Pro (early 2008 or later)
Xserve (early 2009)

Since these systems will run the developer preview, it is fair to assume they will also run the final release. It appears that this list leaves out a few systems that currently do run Lion, which include the following:

MacBook Pro from late 2006 (models 2,1 and 2,2)
MacBook from late 2006 through late 2007 (models 2,1 and 3,1)
Mac Mini from mid-2007 (model 2,1)

System Profiler showing Mac model number
Your Mac's model can be found in the system profiler utility.
Screenshot by Topher Kessler

To find the specific model number for your system, go to the system profiler utility (called System Information in Lion), highlight the Hardware section, and read the Model Identifier string (should be the second listing down from the top).

Keep in mind that these system requirements may change as Mountain Lion's release date nears, but until then it appears that some people who currently run Lion will not be able to upgrade.

This article first appeared at CNET under the headline "Mac OS X 10.8 requirements omit more Intel Macs."

  • Topher Kessler

    Topher, an avid Mac user for the past 15 years, has been a contributing author to MacFixIt since the spring of 2008. One of his passions is troubleshooting Mac problems and making the best use of Macs and Apple hardware at home and in the workplace.