OS X El Capitan Minimum Requirements

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

OS X El Capitan

Apple, Inc.

Apple didn't detail the system requirements for OS X El Capitan when it announced the operating system, but by the time the public beta was ready, along with the information the company provided during the keynote address at WWDC, it was pretty easy to discover what the final system requirements were. 

OS X El Capitan System Requirements

The following Mac models will be able to 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 of the Mac models above will be able to run OS X El Capitan, not all of the features of the new OS will 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 will support the new OS, you should also be aware of memory and storage requirements to allow the OS to run with reasonable performance.

  • RAM: 2 GB is the bare minimum, but even with this amount, El Capitan may make your computer run slowly. 4 GB is really 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'll need at least 8.8 GB of free drive space to install the new OS. This value doesn't represent the amount of free space you need to effectively run El Capitan. You just need it for the install process to complete.

If you're trying 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 have the OS and all included applications installed and still 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, then your Mac will work with OS X El Capitan. Apple has even more information on its OS X El Capitan page.