If you could pick one word to describe Apple’s approach to OS X system requirements over the past few years, it would be “inclusive.” Although there are varying levels of performance and features, Apple has gone to great lengths to make recent versions of OS X, including Mavericks and Yosemite, available on a wide range of Macs dating back in some cases to 2007. And with the announcement of the next version of OS X during this week’s WWDC event, it appears OS X El Capitan system requirements may be just as inclusive as its predecessor.
Based on information provided to early testers of the first developer beta, OS X El Capitan system requirements for the developer beta are identical to those of the current public version of OS X, Yosemite. Specifically, El Capitan lists compatibility with the following Mac models:
iMac (Mid-2007 or newer)
MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
Xserve (Early 2009)
Apple boasts a number of performance enhancements that will be available in OS X El Capitan, many due to the implementation of new technologies such as Metal for Mac. However, it is unknown at this time if certain Mac models lack the hardware to implement these new technologies, and will therefore be limited to only a subset of El Capitan features.
Further, these are the system requirements of the developer beta only. Apple may change the requirements for the public launch of El Capitan, although the company has not changed system requirements during previous OS X beta programs in recent years.
OS X El Capitan will launch this fall via the Mac App Store, and will be a free download for all users with compatible Macs. As with OS X Yosemite last year, a free public beta program will allow non-developers to preview the operating system starting in July.