Apple will be previewing the next version of OS X at WWDC on 2 June. You can expect to be wowed with the new features Apple has planned for its Mac operating system. So far we don't even know what the next version of OS X will be called, but we are hoping for some new features, such as AirDrop between Macs and iOS devices. Read about the features we want to see in OS X 10.10 here.
Nor do we expect that OS X 10.10 will be available to the public before September or October, although if you have a developer account you may be able to install OS X 10.10 sooner than that. Read more about when we expect OS X to launch here.
Just as with Mavericks (OS X 10.9), Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) and Lion (OS X 10.7), Apple's next upgrade to OS X is likely to be pretty major but nevertheless simple to install. However, before you perform any big update to OS X, you should perform a few tasks before upgrading to ensure that your Mac is ready to go.
Before installing a new operating system it's worth doing a bit of housework, Mac OS X 10.10 may be some months away, but why not start now. Here are ten things you really ought to do before OS X 10.10 launches this autumn.
1. Find out if your Mac will be able to run OS X 10.10
Apple hasn't officially released a list of system requirements for Mac OS X 10.10, but based on the requirements of Mavericks last year, we have provided a list of the Macs we expect will run Mac OS X 10.10.
Check the specs of your system by clicking on the Apple logo on the top left of your screen and selecting About This Mac.
2. Make sure you have sufficient RAM to run OS X 10.10
Apple also hasn't yet said how much RAM (memory) you will need to run the next version of OS X, we expect the official recommendation will be 2GB, although 4GB is advisable. If you have less than 4GB RAM it might be time to consider upgrading to a new Mac, or installing more RAM – if you decide to do that, make sure that the RAM you choose is compatible.
Read about how to update the RAM in your Mac here.
3. Make sure you have enough space for OS X 10.10
Apple usually suggests that you should have 8GB of free space on your Mac's drive before you install a major OS X update, but we recommend aiming for 15GB to 20GB. Last year the Mavericks installer was 5.3GB, and you'll need to allow some room for temporary files.
Here's an article about freeing up space on your Mac.
4. Get access to the Mac App Store
If you are still running Leopard and don't have access to the Mac App Store you really really really need to upgrade! The next version of OS X will be available only via the Mac App Store and the Mac App Store arrived in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. Luckily you can still get hold of a copy of Snow Leopard from Apple. It costs £14.
Read our article that explains how to get a copy of Snow Leopard.
5. Update your software for OS X 10.10
Make sure you install the latest updates to Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion or Mavericks (whichever you're currently running) before upgrading to the new operating system.
To make sure you are up to date, click on the App Store icon in the Dock and select Updates. You can also click on the Apple logo at the top left of your screen and select Software Update from there.
6. Update your third party apps
Make sure you have updated any third party apps too. Those updates may include changes that are required for upgrading to the new OS X and if you don't run the updates they may not work properly once you have updated.
To update apps you've bought from the Mac App Store, launch the App Store app and click the Updates button in the toolbar. Then click Update All, simply providing your Apple ID and password when prompted.
For apps that you purchased elsewhere you'll need to manually install updates. You can check if there are updates available from the application's menu, in Microsoft Word, for example, it's a case of clicking on Help > Check for Updates.
Check compatibility with your third party apps before installing OS X 10.10. That way you will be up and running immediately, rather than being frustrated by your favorite apps and add-ons not working.
We will feature a list of apps that don't work with the new version of OS X as soon as we know of any issues.
7. Ditch really old software
If you're still running Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6), you may still be using a few PowerPC programs - software that was never updated to run natively on Macs with Intel processors. Apple used to provided software called Rosetta that translated PowerPC code so it could run on Intel Macs. When Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6) launched Rosetta was no longer installed by default, but it was possible to download and install Rosetta if you wanted to run a PowerPC program. However, Apple killed Rosetta completely when Lion (10.7) was released, and it remains unavailable to this day.
Any PowerPC apps you have won't work when you update your system, so you'll either need to ditch them and find alternatives, or stay in the dark ages and run very old software.
To find out if any of your applications are PowerPC programs, launch Snow Leopard's System Profiler utility (in /Applications/Utilities), select Applications (under Software in the sidebar), and then click the Kind column header, which sorts the list of applications by processor type. Any programs listed as PowerPC will not work under the new version of OS X, they won't even work in Mavericks, Mountain Lion, or Lion.
8. Make sure your Mac is healthy
You should make sure that your Mac is completely healthy before installing a big update to the system.
Open Disk Utility (in /Applications/Utilities), select your startup drive from the list on the left, click the First Aid tab to the right, and then click Verify. If Disk Utility finds problems, you'll need to boot from a different volume to perform the actual repairs using the Repair Disk button.
Boot into recovery mode (by holding down Command+R at startup) and use Disk Utility from there to perform the recommended repairs.
Read more about using Disk Repair to fix a Mac here.
9. Back up your Mac
Before updating to OS X 10.10 we recommend that you back up your Mac, and test that the back up worked before you do anything else. You can use Apple's Time Machine to create a back up that will recover your Mac exactly the way you left it prior to the install, but alternatives include SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner both of which will create a bootable clone backup of your Mac.
Read more about backing up your Mac using Time Machine here.
10. Set up iCloud
When you install OS X 10.10 you are likely to be pestered for your iCloud details because these days iCloud is heavily integrated into many apps and system services. Make sure you are logged into iCloud and enable syncing before you start updating and things should go smoothly.
Read more about what we expect Apple will preview at WWDC 2014.