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My Mac - How Old Is Old?

Updated: Feb 7

When should I upgrade or replace my Mac?

Apple Mac lineup

Signs your computer might be getting old.

  • Startup and shut down is slow.

  • Loading applications take a long time.

  • Current operating systems are no longer supported.

  • Computer is getting louder.

  • Multitasking issues.

  • Spinning pinwheel.

  • Running out of storage room.

  • No longer supports online security settings.

Laptops 3-5 years

A typical laptop's lifespan is between 3 to 5 years. Some laptops still run efficiently longer than five years, but their range of tasks and ability to keep up with online security requirements may be limited.

Most laptops will come with smaller hard drives for storage which may be a limiting factor. Consider starting out with a larger drive when purchasing a Mac laptop.

Laptop internal batteries have a tendency to wear out. That's just the nature of battery technology. After so many charging cycles the battery's ability to hold a charge will diminish. Leaving your laptop plugged in all the time is not good either. This is also a limiting factor in the life of a laptop. We will be writing a post on batteries, so check back.

Keep in mind that there is a wide range of laptops from entry level to top-end power houses. Did you buy a computer to fit your initial need or did you buy something that you can grow into? Did you out grow your laptops capabilities?

MacBooks are portable and are more susceptible to accidental damage. Another thing that can shorten the life of a laptop.

Colored iMac
iMac (5 Flavors) - 1999

iMac 3-8 years

A typical iMac’s lifespan can vary a bit more than a laptop, mostly due to it being moved much less over its lifespan and runs less risk of being physically damaged. iMacs are also a bit more upgradable. Adding memory or faster and larger hard drives may make your iMac last longer. iMacs typically last between 3 to 8 years depending on how they are configured. Most iMacs will come with larger hard drives as a standard configuration.

Mac Mini 3-5 years

A Mac Mini is usually more of an entry level Mac, but can be configured with faster processors, expanded memory and larger hard drives that will extend the life span. This makes their effective life span 3 to 5 years.

Mac Pros and iMac Pros 3-8 years

Mac Pro
Mac Pro, when you need a lot of power!

A typical Pro can have a useful life of 3 to 8 years depending on the configuration and use. Most Mac Pros are for power users. Depending on how it's used, will be a determining factor in it's useful life. The more the user depends on speed and performance for high end use, the more quickly they will want to trade it in and replace it. Every 3 to 4 years is a more realistic life span when it comes to a production computer.

Operating Systems Support 4-6 years

System hardware requirements to run new operating systems vary. Apple will generally upgrade the MacOS once per year. Most Macs will be able to be upgraded to the current operating system for about 4 to 6 years. Apple provides system requirements with each new MacOS release. Apple guidelines.

To find out what operating systems your Mac will support click here.

Repairs or component replacement.

Repairing failed, worn out, or broken components maybe a good option, but consider the cost and the age of the computer. Check out our post on Vintage Apple Products.

Maybe the battery in your MacBook is not working properly, that can be replaced. Broken screen? That too can be replaced. Oops, liquid damage. That's a bit more to repair, but MacMan does that too.


Upgrades like RAM or switching to a solid-state drive

SATA hard drive and Sold State Drives


  • Typically found in older computers.

  • Less expensive per gigabyte.

  • SATA drives have moving components and tend to have a higher failure rate.

  • Slower read/write and data transfer times.

  • Larger profile.

  • Older, but reliable technology.

SSD - Sold State Drives and Flash Drives

  • Typically found in newer computers.

  • More expensive per gigabyte.

  • Operates with flash storage and no moving components make these more reliable.

  • Produces less heat.

  • Much faster read/write and data transfer times.

  • Slimmer profile.

  • Newer technology and is what the industry is moving towards.

  • Price is coming down which makes this a great upgrade option.

RAM Memory

  • 4GB - Light use, can not open many applications at once.

  • 8GB - Standard use, can open a few applications at once. Todays base amount of ram.

  • 16GB - Good for most users based on number of applications opened at once and for use with applications with higher memory requirements. Better for applications such as iPhoto, iMovie, etc. Makes your Mac run more smoothly.

  • 32GB to 40GB - Better for users that open multiple applications at once and for applications with higher memory requirements. If you are working with graphic applications, such as Adobe, or a number of applications at once, you will want at least 32GB of ram.

  • 64GB and higher - Best for users that open a lot of applications at once and for applications with high memory requirements. If you’re running demanding applications such as, CAD, Graphic Design, Photo Retouching, Video Editing, 3D Modeling or Gaming, you will want the extra memory for sure.

What does this all mean?

Talk to us. If your Mac is 3 to 5 years old the effective performance will start to decrease. You should consider your options.

  • Upgrade to boost performance.

  • Trade-in advantage - reduces the amount needed to purchase a new Mac.

  • Giving Mac Program - used to donate to K-12 students and their families.

  • Keep until it's time to recycle.

Upgrade options may be:

  • Adding RAM memory

  • Changing to a SSD or Flash Drive

  • Upgrading the operating system if the hardware will support it.

Replacement options

Stay up-to-date. There are many options for replacing your older Mac. MacMan has been making recommendations and supplying Macs and Apple based solutions since early 90's. Contact us for your free consultation on finding the right Mac for you.

Things to consider when buy a new Mac:

  • Why buy from MacMan - Learn More

  • What you use your Mac for.

  • How often you switch out your Mac.

  • Is this your primary Mac or a secondary Mac.

  • Will you be sharing your Mac.

  • What type of applications do you use.

  • How much data do you have now.

  • How much data will you be creating - photos, graphics, spreadsheets, text documents, movies, music, etc.

  • How do you need to access your data.

  • How do you backup your data.

  • Budget range.

  • Data transfer and setup needs.

Payment options:

Shop Macs

map of MacMan customers

Sales Service and Support

Sales of Macs and iPads across the country are possible through our online store or through our store located in Eau Claire, WI. Contact us if you need help with your next Apple purchase. We will be happy to help.

We service and support users and businesses across the United State with our onsite and remote support services.

Need warranty repair service? Use our mail-in repair depot or stop by the store. Contact us for mail-in repairs. We offer bulk repair services for businesses or schools too. All our techs are Apple Certified. MacMan is an Apple Authorized Service Provider.

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I have a Mac Mini from 2010, Model A1347 that was barely ever used. Can I download and play Music or Movies on it?


Yes, but you will be limited to what macOS you can run on it.



I have a Mac Mini from 2010, Model A1347 that was barely ever used. Can I download and play Music or Movies on it?



I also have a mid 2011 iMac 27" I've used it every day since the day I bought it new. It's hardly missed a beat not as highly spect as the one above but with 256GB SSD. It is a beautiful machine even though it still uses Sierra OS. I think I'd be lost without it.



Update: It still is running. it's never been turned off.

Now upgraded to Mint 21 (so Linux 5.15 kernel)

This things a beast and has gotten some attention from friends



I'm typing this on a Mid-2011 iMac 27"

Someone gave up on it, I guess. Poor thing.

Found it dropped off at the recycle Bin.

I snatched it, Nov 2022. Promptly nuked the junk Mac OS; loaded Linux Mint 20.3 on it, and here we are.

It's been running x 28 days now. Beautiful machine, a statement inside and out.

3.4 GHz, 8 thread i7 2600, 2TB HD, 256 SSD, 16Gb RAM. For free.

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