This article contains essential information for users considering a request for their Apple Macintosh device to be upgraded to a different version of macOS. Please read carefully before raising an upgrade request with the Service Desk.
As of 1 September 2023, only macOS 11 (Big Sur), macOS 12 (Monterey) & macOS 13 (Ventura) are supported by Apple. As a result, these are the only versions of macOS which should be in use on any university device. If you are running an older version, you must upgrade as soon as possible or retire your device. In addition, your device must be enrolled into the Jamf management system if this has not already taken place. Please raise a support request for further advice at https://it.leeds.ac.uk.
If the version of macOS you are running is one of the three currently supported, there is usually no immediate requirement to upgrade, although Big Sur users will soon require an upgrade. If you device has been enrolled with Jamf, you may check in the Self Service app, under the macOS section, to see if an upgrade option is being offered to you there. Self Service upgrades may run in two parts; first fetching the installer, then running it as a separate action.
Bear in mind that, if your device is not running the very latest macOS version, it may not be capable of doing so. Older hardware always has a limit on the version it can be upgraded to so, if you see no Self Service upgrade option, this may be because you are already running the highest version possible.
Tuesday 26 September 2023 sees the public release of macOS 14 (Sonoma). Until further notice, we will not be offering upgrades to this version. It is necessary for the final, public version (rather than the Beta version) to be tested with key systems to ensure that upgrading will not produce unwanted results. Please do not ask to upgrade to Sonoma at this time. Once Sonoma has been approved, upgrades are likely to be made available for machines enrolled in the Jamf management system, via the Self Service app or by other automated means. If your Mac is not enrolled in Jamf, please create a request for this at https://it.leeds.ac.uk.
To facilitate upgrade work, your Mac must be enrolled in the Jamf management system. If this enrolment has not taken place on your device, please contact the IT Service to arrange for this to happen as soon as possible. Upgrades will be undertaken using the Jamf system in some cases. However, if your machine has changed primary user, needs to be upgraded several versions or simply has not been re-imaged in some time, the preferred upgrade route is to erase the hard drive and start afresh using the highest possible version of macOS.
Upgrades to macOS can be complicated and time-consuming, so careful thought needs to be given to the appropriateness of any work. Any upgrade, particularly if done remotely or via Self Service, comes with risks of not working as expected and may take several hours to complete, during which time the device will be unusable. You will need to consider what happens if a failed upgrade renders the machine unusable, especially if the machine is in use off campus.
Apple continue to provide security updates to their operating systems for some time after newer major versions have been released. Based on historical patterns, the latest macOS, plus the previous two versions are kept secure. At the time of writing, this means that Ventura (macOS 13), Monterey (macOS 12) and Big Sur (macOS 11) continue to receive updates. If you are running any of these versions, they are all capable of running key University systems such as Microsoft Remote Desktop, Office, OneDrive and Teams. Catalina (macOS 10.15) is now considered end-of-life and should be upgraded - for which Catalina users will find upgrade functions in the Self Service app. Any machine running this version or earlier should no longer be connected to the wired campus network, except to help perform an upgrade.
If you are running any unsupported version of macOS, we may need to consider the age and warranty status of the machine and look to replacing the device rather than upgrading the OS. Upgrades from very old versions, such as Yosemite, cannot be considered. As a rule of thumb, any Mac from before 2015 is probably no longer capable of a suitable upgrade and should be retired / replaced.
Machines enrolled in Jamf are set for automatic updates within the same major release, so you may be prompted to install patches and are free to run these. Administrative privileges are not required for this.
NB - even if you have been granted administrative privileges for your Mac, this does not include permission to upgrade to another major release of macOS, so users must not carry out their own upgrades. Performing an unauthorised upgrade will lead to a review of your administrative privileges.
Please note that Catalina (10.15) and newer versions only allow 64-bit applications to be run. If your software only exists as 32-bit, you will lose functionality if upgrading from Mojave (10.14) or earlier.
In preparation for the upgrade, you will need to: