OS X Mavericks Minimum Requirements

Minimum and Preferred Requirements for OS X Mavericks

iMacs
Courtesy Apple, Inc.

The minimum requirements for running OS X Mavericks are based largely on the need for the target Macs to have both a 64-bit Intel processor and a 64-bit implementation of the EFI firmware that controls the Mac's motherboard. And of course, there are also the usual minimum requirements for RAM and hard drive space.

To cut to the chase: If your Mac is able to run OS X Mountain Lion, it shouldn't have any difficulty with OS X Mavericks.

The list of Macs below includes all of the models that have both a 64-bit Intel processor and 64-bit EFI firmware. I've also included the Model Identifiers to help make it easier for you to ensure that your Mac is compatible.

You can find your Mac's Model Identifier by following these steps:

OS X Snow Leopard Users

  1. Select "About This Mac" from the Apple menu.
  2. Click the More Info button.
  3. Make sure that Hardware is selected in the Content list on the left side of the window.
  4. The second entry in the Hardware Overview list is the Model Identifier.

OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Users

  1. Select "About This Mac" from the Apple menu.
  2. Click the More Info button.
  3. In the About This Mac window, click the Overview tab.
  4. Click the System Report button.
  5. Make sure that Hardware is selected in the Content list on the left side of the window.
  6. The second entry in the Hardware Overview list is the Model Identifier.

List of Macs That Can Run OS X Mavericks

  • 13-inch MacBook Pro: mid-2009 (MacBookPro5,5) and later*
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro: mid-2007 (MacBookPro3,1) and later*
  • 17-inch MacBook Pro: mid-2007 (MacBookPro3,1) and later*
  • iMac: mid 2007 (iMac7,1) and later*
  • MacBook: late 2008 aluminum (MacBook5,1); all 2009 (MacBook5,2) and later*
  • MacBook Air: all models (MacBookAir1,1)
  • Mac mini: 2009 (Macmini3,1) and later*
  • Mac Pro: early 2008 (MacPro3,1) and later*

    RAM Requirements

    The minimum requirement is 2 GB RAM, however, I recommend 4 GB or more if you want to achieve adequate performance when running the OS and multiple applications.

    If you have apps that use gobs of memory, be sure to add their requirements to the basic minimums listed above.

    Storage Requirements

    A clean install of OS X Mavericks takes up a bit less than 10 GB of drive space (9.55 GB on my Mac). The default upgrade install needs 8 GB of available free space, in addition to the space already occupied by the existing system.

    These minimum storage sizes are indeed very minimum and not practical for actual use. As soon as you begin to add drivers for printers, graphics, and other peripherals, along with any additional language support you need, the minimum requirement will start blossoming. And you haven't even added any user data or apps, which means you're going to need additional storage space. All of the Macs that currently support OS X Mavericks come equipped with enough drive space to install Mavericks, but if you're getting near the space limit of your Mac, you may wish to consider either adding more storage or removing unused and unwanted files and apps.

    If you need more help, take a look at some of our storage guides:

    Increase Storage With an External Drive for Your Mac

    Guide to External Drives for Your Mac

    Install an Internal Hard Drive in Your Mac Pro

    Move Your Mac's Home Folder to a New Location

    FrankenMacs

    One last note for those of you who have either built your own Mac clones or extensively modified your Macs with new motherboards, processors, and other upgrades.

    Trying to figure out if your Mac will be able to run Mavericks can be a bit difficult. Instead of trying to match your upgraded Mac to one of the Mac models listed above, you can use the following method.

    Alternate Method to Check for Mavericks Support

    There is an alternate way to determine if your configuration will support Mavericks.

    You can use Terminal to find out if your Mac is running the 64-bit kernel required by Mavericks.

    1. Launch Terminal, located in the /Applications/Utilities folder.
    2. Enter the following command at the Terminal prompt:
    3. Uname -a
    4. Press enter or return.
    5. Terminal will return a few lines of text displaying the name of the current operating system, in this case, the Darwin kernel running on your Mac. You're looking for the following information within the returned text: x86_64
    6. If you see x86_64 within the text, it indicates that the kernel is running in a 64-bit processor space. That's the first hurdle.
    7. You also need to check to ensure that you're running 64-bit EFI firmware.
    8. Enter the following command at the Terminal Prompt:
    9. ioreg -l -p IODeviceTree -l |grep firmware-abi
    10. Press Enter or Return.
    11. The results will display the EFI type your Mac is using, either "EFI64" or "EFI32." If the text includes "EFI64" then you should be able to run OS X Mavericks.

    * - Macs newer than the release date of OS X Yosemite (October 16, 2014) may not be backwards compatible with OS X Mavericks. This occurs because newer hardware may require device drivers that are not included with OS X Mavericks.

    Published: 10/10/2013

    Updated: 1/25/2015