Can You Upgrade Your iMac Early 2009

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The iMac (Early 2009) is a great computer that was released over a decade ago. While it has served its purpose well, it is now time to upgrade the operating system if you want to continue using it. Unfortunately, the iMac (Early 2009) is not able to run the latest macOS version, macOS Sierra. However, you don't have to worry – there are still some ways to upgrade your system!

The latest OS that the iMac (Early 2009) can run is Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan. If you want to upgrade your system, you will need to locate a copy of 10.11 El Capitan from either an online mirror or from someone who already has a copy of it.

Once you have located a copy of 10.11 El Capitan, all you will need to do is install it on your iMac (Early 2009). This process should be relatively simple and straightforward and shouldn't take too long. Once installed, your iMac (Early 2009) will be running the latest version available for this model.

However, if you're looking for even newer versions of macOS, then unfortunately the iMac (Early 2009) won't be able to support them. For example, macOS Catalina requires Macs released after mid-2012 while Monterey requires Macs released after late 2015 – both of which are incompatible with the iMac (Early 2009).

Overall, while the iMac (Early 2009) may not be able to run the latest macOS versions available today, there are still ways for you to keep it up-to-date and running smoothly with 10.11 El Capitan!

Can You Upgrade Your iMac Early 2009 1

What Operating System Can I Run on a 2009 iMac?

The latest operating system you can run on a 2009 iMac is macOS Mojave. This operating system was released in September 2018 and is compatible with iMacs since late 2009 and after. To check if your iMac is compatible, open the Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen and select “About This Mac”. The Overview tab will tell you what model and year your Mac is. If your model year is 2009 or later, you can upgrade to macOS Mojave.

Can a 2009 iMac Run macOS Catalina?

Unfortunately, iMacs released in 2009 are not compatible with macOS Catalina. As stated on Apple's official list of Macs supporting macOS Catalina, only models released after mid-2012 are able to run the operating system. Therefore, your iMac 2009 is unable to run the latest version of macOS.

Can a 2009 iMac Run Monterey?

No, a 2009 iMac cannot run macOS Monterey. Monterey is only compatible with Mac models that launched in late 2015 or later, meaning that it will not run on any iMacs older than this.

Can an iMac from 2009 Run macOS High Sierra?

Unfortunately, the 2009 iMac models are not compatible with macOS High Sierra. The minimum system requirement for macOS High Sierra specifies that the model must be a Late 2009 or newer MacBook in order to be supported.

imac early 2009 latest os

The Oldest Compatible iMac for Updating

The oldest iMac that can be updated to Monterey is the late 2015 model. This model was released in October 2015 and has a 5K Retina display, 4 USB ports, and an Intel Core i5 processor. It also features Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200, 8 GB of RAM, and a 1TB Fusion Drive. With this model, you will be able to take advantage of all of the new features in Monterey such as Universal Control, AirPlay to Mac, Shortcuts on Mac, Focus mode, and more.

The Oldest iMac Compatible with macOS Catalina

The oldest iMac that can run macOS Catalina is the late 2012 model. This model was released in late 2012 and features a 21.5-inch LED-backlit display with a resolution of 1920×1080, an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. It also comes with two Thunderbolt ports, four USB ports, and an SDXC card slot. With these features, the late 2012 iMac is capable of running macOS Catalina without any issues.

Can the CPU of an iMac from 2009 Be Upgraded?

Yes, the 2009 iMac can have its processor upgraded. HardMac was able to successfully upgrade an iMac “Core i5″ 2.66 27” (Late 2009) from its default 2.66 GHz “Core i5” I5-750 processor to a faster 2.93 GHz “Core i7” I7-870 processor. This process does require some technical skill, so it is important to be sure you are comfortable with taking apart and reassembling a computer before attempting it yourself. Additionally, compatible upgrades may vary from model to model, so it is best to research what processors are compatible with your specific iMac before attempting an upgrade.

Updating a 2009 Mac Desktop

Yes, you can update your 2009 Mac desktop. You can upgrade to the latest macOS Sierra operating system which will give you access to the latest features and updates. Additionally, you can upgrade the hard drive or memory of your Mac desktop to boost its performance and extend its lifespan. This is especially beneficial for older models like the Late 2009 iMac, as it may be considered vintage but is still compatible with macOS Sierra.

The Oldest iMac Compatible with Monterey

The oldest iMac that can run Monterey is the iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015). This model features a 5th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with a maximum turbo boost of up to 4.0GHz, 8GB of memory, and an AMD Radeon R9 M290X GPU. This iMac is also equipped with two Thunderbolt 2 ports and four USB 3.0 ports, so you can connect all your peripherals with ease. With its high-resolution Retina display and powerful processor, the Late 2015 iMac is capable of running Monterey with no issues.

Impact of Monterey on Older Macs

No, macOS Monterey should not slow down your older Mac. If you've been running macOS Big Sur, most of the interface will look the same, so you won't experience any disruption in performance. However, if you have an older Mac that hasn't been updated to Big Sur yet, it's possible that the new features of Monterey may require more resources from your machine and cause slight lag or slower performance. To prevent this from happening, it's recommended that you first update to Big Sur and then install macOS Monterey for optimal performance.


The iMac (Early 2009) is not able to run macOS Sierra or later versions of macOS. The latest operating system it can run is Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan. To upgrade the iMac (Early 2009), users will need to locate a copy of 10.11 El Capitan from a mirror or someone that has a copy. Additionally, users should bear in mind that some models released before mid-2012 and Mac Pros before late 2013 are not compatible with the most recent version of macOS, Monterey.

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James Walker

James Walker has a deep passion for technology and is our in-house enthusiastic editor. He graduated from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and loves to test the latest gadgets and play with older software (something we’re still trying to figure out about himself). Hailing from Iowa, United States, James loves cats and is an avid hiker in his free time.