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Should you upgrade to MacOS 14 (Sonoma)

This year's MacOS update has been a mixed bag for us.  If you are using a Mac with a "M" series chip (Apple Silicon) we are recommending the update now.  

If you are running a Mac with an Intel chip we suggest waiting at least for version 14.1 to be released as we have seen enough issues to cause some concern.  

Should you upgrade to iPadOS 17?

Like iOS 17 we found this years beta releases to be very stable and we are recommending users upgrade to iPadOS at this time.  

Should you upgrade to iOS 17?

This year's beta of iOS 17 was possibly the most stable we have seen and so we are recommending all users upgrade to iOS 17 at this time.  

Some updates were critical for the iPhone 15 so make sure you are updating frequently with new hardware.  

Should you upgrade to iPadOS 16?

iPadOS version 16 might be one of the most confusing updates we have seen in years from Apple.  This is largely due to the new Stage Manager feature that can run on iPads with a A12X CPU or newer.  This feature is going to confuse many but will someday be a great feature.  Advanced users will have little trouble with Stage Manager and you do not even have to enable the feature.  

Other than this the release seems quite stable and we have had few issues.  We are recommending installation at this time.  If you wish to play with Stage Manager you might enjoy it - we do - but it has caused some confusion.  Your mileage will vary.  

Should you upgrade to iOS 16?

This year's iOS update has gone well and throughout the beta process we saw very few deal breaker bugs.  While iOS 16 doesn't bring a lot of startling features to older hardware the software still has some nice changes that most will like.  We are recommending that users upgrade to iOS 16 at this time and feel the OS is very stable for the most part.  Version 16.1 solved a few minor issues and seems ready for all to use. 

Should you upgrade to MacOS 13 (Ventura)?

Short Answer: Not yet. 

MacOS 13 was released on October 24, 2022 and can be installed now if your Mac is new enough to support it.  Like every other point zero release of MacOS we advise that you wait a bit.  We generally wait for the .1 release when the bad bugs are expunged and this time is no exception. We haven't seen a lot of serious bugs in the final release but the confusion factor is high with significant changes to how you configure your system.  We are hoping this will get a bit better but check back before the end of the year and we might be recommending installation. 

Update: 11/7/2022 - having now installed Ventura on some 2021 and 2022 Macs (all with Apple Silicon) we feel new hardware seems to like Ventura very well.  No real problems like we see with older hardware.  We are getting used to both Stage Manager and the new Settings app.  Probably don't need to wait for the next update on newer hardware. 

Should you update to iOS 15 or iPadOS 15?

Another year another update.  The beta cycle was actually better than previous releases in that the releases were mostly stable and only quirky problems existed.  If your iOS or iPadOS device was able to run version 14 it likely can run version 15.  When is the right. time to upgraded?

We have traditionally urged everyone on every Apple update to wait for the first point release to upgrade. So in this case 15.1 which should be out now or very soon.  There are some compelling reasons to upgrade in this version with the new notes features (iPad) and nice Facetime features but nothing is really a must have feature so we will stick with that advice.  

While this year's updates may have been overall the most stable we have seen there still seem to be some issues with feature just not working or even visible - old features not just new ones - that require a power-cycle to solve.  We have long recommended a weekly power cycle of every mobile phone, tablet and even computer if possible but with this release it seems a bit more necessary.  

Some users are still complaining of reduced battery life which was certainly true with the betas but near the end improved.  It may be worth reviewing your battery settings and turning some notifications off if you can.  Also be sure to pay attention to the Focus feature as this really can minimize needless notifications and group them so that you are not constantly interrupted.   We strongly urge you to take some time to setup the Focus feature set.  

Since all of the most important features of the device seem stable we can recommend that with the 15.1 release you upgrade your devices now.  However, keep in mind that if you. witness some odd behaviour the healing power of the power cycle. 

Should you upgrade to MacOS 12 (Monterrey)

This year's MacOS upgrade might be the least feature-laden release we have seen but it still has some nice additions.  If you were able to run MacOS 11 (Big Sur) you should be able to run MacOS 12.  But should you upgrade?

Our feeling is that Apple is far more reckless with MacOS code than we wish and have never recommended an OS upgrade before the first point release - in this case that would be MacOS 12.1 which is not yet scheduled.  12.0 will be released on 10/25/2021 and we will install it on non-critical machines at that time.  This should not be like some upgrades in that past that rocked third-party developers for some time (Catalina) but we are still taking a cautious approach.   Big Sur went pretty well after 11.1 and we expect the same from Monterrey.   

There has been some controversy about the changes to tabs in Safari and in the final release it seems Apple has admitted they have no idea what users want in this regard and made the default setting to be as they were with an optional setting to have some of the new tab features if you wish rather than full control of the feature.  Other than some nice Facetime improvements there is no must-have feature for almost anyone in this release so you don't need to rush into this one.  

Now that the final version, 12.01, has been released we have installed this on several Macs.  As with previous releases installing on contemporary hardware went off without a hitch.  Also as before older hardware was sometimes problematic.  The installation file was an over 12 Gb download but once we got past that we had two installation failures on 2015-era iMacs that resulted in a re-format of the drive and so ultimately we had to migrate from a Time Machine backup.  After that though the installation seems to have worked and all seems stable at this point.  The installer is improved from previous major versions to be sure. Even the migration seemed to go smoother if not really any faster.  

Apple has spent some time working on some small details that actually stand out during the full installation process which includes a lot of permissions and notifications so you will appreciate some improvements there.  

UPDATE: having used MacOS 12.1 on a few systems - both new and a few years old we are now ready to recommend installing this version now. Still some wake from sleep issues but that has been the case with every OS this century for older machines so that likely won't improve. The jump from Big Sur is minimal but older OS changes will be noticeable.    

12.2 introduced some new bugs relating to bluetooth and multiple monitors and 12.3 is an important update for security reasons so even through some bugs remain in 12.3 we still urge those running 12.1 or 12.2 to update to 12.3. 

Should you upgrade to MacOS 11 (Big Sur)

We have been testing MacOS 11 (Big Sur) and now are running 11.1 on those systems.  This release seems mostly stable and we haven't had any major issues with 11.1. Still some minor issues with Messages and wake from sleep on some systems.  Our second monitor issues have been resolved with and with 11.2 out now we had hoped for a solid release.  Seems to be fine on integrated display systems but external monitors are problematic with resolution issues or just no video on one system.  Many issues that are reported are really not bugs but changes that are not intuitive. Searching in many new apps is baffling.  We understand it but don't like it either. I fear we may have to wait some time to see a reversal on this though and urge you to just deal with the search vs. filter concepts. 

We plan to hold off on updating our mission critical systems a bit longer and hope 11.3 solves a few more issues. We do see fewer issues on newer hardware. On a late 2019 MacBook Pro 16 we have seen very few stability issues but on older hardware, especially a 2017 iMac, stability is a major issue but is improving.  So, if you really want to upgrade and are running newer hardware you might be fine but with older hardware we might be looking at a similar situation we had last year with 10.15 where you just couldn't expect normal stability until a few updates came out.  Since we aren't seeing many issues on laptops or iMacs with only one monitor we feel we can recommend the software for those systems now.  Once the external display issues are resolved we expect to upgrade the rest of our Macs. 

If you are currently running MacOS 10.15 (Catalina) then Big Sur should run on your Mac. If you are not you may want to look at the many issues that were caused by MacOS 10.15 with regard to the 64-bit app requirement.  This was a deal breaker for some but a year in most software has been upgraded if it ever will be. If you use older software that cannot be upgraded you may lose access to this software with 10.15 (Catalina) or 11 (Big Sur).  

It seems with every OS release every vendor takes some time to iron out all of the details but so long as these issues are minor they don't seem to impact getting work done significantly.  MacOS 11 is cosmetically quite different in many ways but functionally quite similar other than some new features borrowed from iOS and iPadOS.  With 10.15 many software vendors didn't get support ready for months but this version really only required updates to deal with new features and so most third party software seems to work fine.