The next big installment to Mac OS X is 10.9 Mavericks. Among other things Mavericks offers better support for multiple monitors; tabs for Mac OS X Finder and better battery life.

See: our Mac OS X Mavericks Review and Everything you need to know about Mavericks.

Mac OS X Mavericks

Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks system requirements

The first thing you need to do is to make sure your Mac can run Mavericks

The current requirements seem to be the same as Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. This includes all MacBooks Airs released after late 2008, and mid to late 2007 MacBook Pros; plus mid 2009 or later 13 inch MacBook Pros. So if you’ve bought your machine in the last five years you will probably be okay.

Read about which Macs can run Mavericks

Installing Mavericks: Do a drive check with Disk Utility

Prior to installing the Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks software you should do a thorough check of your  hard drive. Open Applications > Disk Utility and highlight your main hard drive. Now click Verify Disk Permissions and Repair disk Permissions.

Read should you do a clean install of Mavericks.

Update to Mavericks: Update your software

You should open App Store and click Updates and Update All prior to installing Mavericks. Making sure all software is up-to-date before performing the install will make the post installation process much easier. Sometimes developers include updates just before they launch that improves compatibility with the software. Make sure you perform updates on other key software programs that exists outside of App Store. Especially programs like Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite: these have shown compatability problems in the past.

See App Store updates

Mac OS X Mavericks

Back up your Mac before you update to Mavericks

Before you begin to install Mac OS  X Mavericks you should make sure to perform a good and solid backup. We generally advise that you do this prior to the next step, even though it’ll take longer: it’ll also help if you delete something you need. It’s probably best to attach a USB hard drive to your Mac and fire up Time Machine to perform the backup; although there are other options out there. But Time Machine’s integration with Mac OS X will come in useful during the update process.

See: Macworld Secrets: Make a solid backup plan

See: Make a Mac back up with Time Machine

Spring clean just before the install

With your disk checked and all the software updated, now is a great time to do some spring cleaning. Go through and remove any unwanted apps, a program like App Zapper is great for this. Remove unwanted Mail accounts, calendars and unwanted contacts. Delete all your old files that you no longer need and empty the trash.

Also: Masterclass: Clean up your Mac

Check app compatibility

Probably the single most important thing to do prior to installing a new version of Mac OS X is to check the compatibility of your apps. This is especially important if you rely on the machine for work and use key apps like Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suite. These aren't always compatible on day one and you may need to wait for an update to them before upgrading to Mac OS X Mavericks.

Disable File Vault prior to the Mac OS X Mavericks Update

Prior to performing the software update to Mac OS X you should be sure to disable any encryption software like Apple’s File Vault. This will make the update process smoother, and it helps tremendously if there are any errors. You can re-install the encryption software service after the update has completed.

See: Stay secure wtih File Vault