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How Long Do Macs Actually Last?

We’ve all heard that Macs last longer than PCs, but how long do they actually last?

MacBook and iMac on a desk.

As with any computer, when you buy a Mac, you don’t want to have to buy a new one for a while. The longer it keeps going, the more value you get out of it. But how long do Macs actually last? There are a few ways to look at this.

How Long Do Macs Get Access to the Latest OS?

Almost every time Apple releases a new version of macOS, it cuts off some of its older models. Big Sur, for example, doesn’t run on anything older than a 2013 MacBook or iMac. Sometimes Apple does support Macs for longer than this: macOS Mojave, for instance, came out in 2018 but was available on 2009 iMacs.

Based on the last two versions, you can probably expect around seven years of access to the newest macOS releases. And that assumes you actually want them—there are good reasons to downgrade your macOS version too.

How Long Does macOS Get Security Updates?

Of course, you don’t need the latest version of macOS to use your Mac; you still get security updates on older versions as well. But how long you’ll keep getting them is difficult to say because Apple doesn’t have an official policy for when it stops supporting a version of macOS.

Apple security updates web page.

Looking at the Apple security updates page, it seems each version of macOS generally gets security updates for at least three years after it’s been superseded. At the time of writing, the last security update for macOS was on 9 February 2021, which supported Mojave, Catalina, and Big Sur.

How Long Can You Get Parts and Service for a Mac?

When your Mac’s warranty has expired, it’s possible to continue getting services and parts for five years after that product was last on sale. You may still be able to get software repairs from Apple after this time. That’s according to Apple’s official policy, which also says anything discontinued more than seven years ago is considered obsolete.

How Long Will You Be Able to Get Apps for Your Mac?

There’s nothing to stop third-party developers from making apps for older Macs, but most will usually select a cutoff point in new versions of their software.

This may be complicated by Apple’s move to its own M1 processors. Although M1 Macs have Rosetta to run code designed for Intel Macs, it doesn’t work the other way around. So if a developer makes its latest app version M1-only, older Macs will be left out.

Related: Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Mac

How Long Do Macs Actually Keep Working For?

Let’s say you don’t care about the latest software or security updates, you just want to know how long your Mac will keep powering up for. That’s really one of those “how long is a piece of string?” questions. How long your Mac keeps running for depends on how often you use it, what you use it for, and whether it has any accidents along the way.

But if it’s going, it’s still going. And if you can make your old Mac run faster, you can easily extend its life way beyond what was ever intended.

old macs on ebay

Hop onto eBay, and you’ll find tons of fully functioning vintage Macs. You’ll even be able to buy iBooks and classic iMacs running on PowerPC chips. The last PowerPC Mac was released in 2004, so that’s pretty good going.

How Long Will Your Mac Last For?

Assuming you want your Mac to be usable and secure, you can probably get 10 years at most from it. That’s about seven years until it stops getting the latest macOS versions, and then roughly three more years of security updates.

But that doesn’t mean you should keep your Mac for that long. If you’ve got the cash, and your Mac is showing signs of old age, then you should upgrade whenever you feel it’s right. And because Macs tend to hold their value longer than PCs, you can usually sell your old Mac for a good price to help pay for its replacement.

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