Here’s how to prepare your Mac for macOS Sonoma

Apple will officially release macOS Sonoma (version 14) to the public on Tuesday, September 26. The update was announced at WWDC 2023 in June and it brings some great improvements to the Mac operating system, such as a new lock screen, desktop widgets, new effects for FaceTime calls, Game Mode, and more. For those who are planning to install the new macOS, we read in detail how to prepare your Mac for the update.

What’s new in macOS Sonoma?

First, here’s a quick summary of what’s new in macOS Sonoma. This year’s update isn’t huge, but it does come with some interesting new features.

Perhaps most notable is the new lock screen, which looks very similar to what users find on the iPhone and iPad. But that’s not all, because macOS Sonoma comes with over 100 new wallpapers that become screensavers on the lock screen. Some of the new wallpapers come from Apple TV’s Aerial screensaver.

Users will also be able to place widgets on the desktop instead of keeping them hidden in the Notification Center. Apple has also made it easy to hide all windows and show the desktop with just one click on the wallpaper. Similar to iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, macOS 14 features interactive widgets.

FaceTime users can now react with their hands to show 3D effects in real time during video calls. There are also new effects to make your image appear to float when sharing your screen with others.

macOS Sonoma Lock Screen and Wallpapers

Gamers will find new gaming-related features in macOS Sonoma, such as Game Mode for better performance and a new API for porting Windows games to macOS. The Sonoma update also brings some iOS 17 features, like new stickers in iMessage, better web app support, and an improved auto-correct keyboard.

Before you update your Mac to macOS Sonoma

There are a few things you need to do before you update your Mac to macOS Sonoma. First of all, it is important to check compatibility, as the new version of the operating system is not compatible with some older Macs.

These are the Mac computers compatible with macOS Sonoma:

  • iMac 2019 and later
  • iMac Pro 2017
  • Mac Pro 2019 and later
  • Mac Studio 2022 and later
  • MacBook Air 2018 and later
  • MacBook Pro 2018 and later
  • Mac Mini 2018 and later

You can check which Mac you have by clicking the Apple menu and then About This Mac.

Update your apps

New versions of macOS typically introduce new APIs that enable new functionalities for third-party apps. However, the apps need to be updated to take advantage of these features. At the same time, the new macOS may break support for some apps.

So it’s important to keep all the apps installed on your Mac up to date. This ensures that apps will run perfectly with macOS Sonoma as well as take advantage of the operating system’s new features.

macOS App Store update

For apps installed through the App Store, you can update them manually by opening the App Store on your Mac and then clicking the Updates menu. But, of course, if you have third-party software installed by other means, it’s worth opening each app to check if a newer version is available. You can avoid compatibility issues with your apps by doing this before installing the new macOS.

Clear some unnecessary data

If you’ve had your Mac for a while, chances are it’s full of old or unnecessary files. And since macOS updates come with large file sizes, you may need to clear your Mac’s internal storage before installing the update.

To help you with this process, open the System Settings app, click the General menu, and then select the Storage Settings option. macOS will show you what’s actually taking up your Mac’s internal space so you can delete certain files or apps you no longer need.

macOS Clean Data Update

Back up your Mac

This may seem obvious to some, but not everyone backs up their Mac. Sometimes, the update process may not work as expected, and you may need to restore your Mac. In such cases, it is extremely important to have a backup. You can save your most important documents to iCloud, for example, as well as your photos, notes, and contacts.

You can also use Apple’s Time Machine to create a full backup of your Mac using an external storage drive. For more information on how to use Time Machine, see this article from Apple Support.

wrap up

Now that you have followed all the above recommendations, you can safely install macOS Sonoma on your Mac by opening the System Settings app and choosing Software Update from the General menu.

Let us know if the update to macOS Sonoma went smooth for you in the comments section below.

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