OS X El Capitan Minimum Requirements

Some Mac models as old as 2007 can run OS X El Capitan

Apple released OS X El Capitan (10.11) in late 2015 and ended security updates three years later in 2018. OS X El Capitan is still available from the Apple website as a free disk image download. However, before you install, be sure that your Mac can handle the minimum requirements for El Capitan.

OS X El Capitan


OS X El Capitan System Requirements

The following Mac models can install and run OS X El Capitan:

  • MacBook Air: Late 2008 models (Model Identifier MacBookAir2,1) and newer.
  • MacBook: Late 2009 models (Model Identifier MacBook4,1) and newer, along with 13-inch aluminum-body models from Late 2008.
  • MacBook Pro: Mid 2007 models (Model Identifier MacBookPro3,1) and newer.
  • iMac: Mid 2007 models (Model Identifier iMac7,1) and newer.
  • Mac mini: Early 2009 (Model Identifier Macmini3,1) and newer.
  • Mac Pro: Early 2008 (Model Identifier MacPro3,1) and newer.
  • Xserve: Early 2009 (Model Identifier Xserve3,1).

Although all these Mac models can run OS X El Capitan, not all the features of the OS work in every model. Some features rely on newer hardware, such as Continuity and Handoff, which require a Mac with support for Bluetooth 4.0/LE, or AirDrop, which requires a Wi-Fi network that supports PAN.

Beyond the basic Mac models that support El Capitan, you should also be aware of memory and storage requirements to allow the OS to run with reasonable performance.

  • RAM: 2 GB is the minimum, but even with this amount, El Capitan may make your computer run slowly. 4 GB is the least amount of RAM necessary for a usable experience with OS X El Capitan. You can't go wrong with even more RAM.
  • Drive Space: You need at least 8.8 GB of free drive space to install El Capitan. This value doesn't represent the amount of free space you need to run it effectively. You just need it for the install process to complete.

If you're installing OS X El Capitan as a virtual machine or on a partition for testing, you should have at least 16 GB of free space. This amount is enough to install the OS and all included applications and leave enough room for an additional app or three.

The Easy Way to Determine if Your Mac Will Run OS X El Capitan

If you're running OS X Snow Leopard or later, your Mac can work with OS X El Capitan. Apple has more information on its OS X El Capitan page.

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