Upgrading to Mac OS 10.12

[This information is outdated but is left for historical perspective.  10.12 (and 10.13) are both fine upgrades.  The general advice about pre-OS upgrade strategy still applies, though… make sure you reboot to trigger any pre-upgrade software changes that might be queued up, upgrade your Microsoft Office to the latest release, and connect to the VPN client before running the OS upgrade.]

We recommended against installing Mac OS 10.12 (aka “Sierra”) when it was first released.  Now that software vendors (including Apple!) have had some time to release fixes we feel better about upgrading.  To try to avoid problems here are some suggestions before upgrading:

  • Non-Apple keyboard: If you use a non-Apple keyboard (such as Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic) you should check online for reports about incompatibility with your device.
  • Reboot your Mac.  Many of the little utility programs people install only check for updates when they’re first launched, so rebooting will help ensure those programs get updated before you update the OS.
  • Connect with the VPN client, if you use it.  When you connect to the VPN any available updates will be pushed to your machine.  The version of Pulse Secure compatible with 10.12 is 5.2.5 (See Pulse Secure -> About Pulse Secure).  If you upgrade to 10.12 before getting 5.2.5 you will need to reinstall the client manually.blank_skitch_document
  • Apply all available updates to Microsoft Office.  Office 2011 doesn’t seem to be officially supported on 10.12, but it does seem to work fine.  Office 2016 (available from MyJH’s Software Catalog if you haven’t already upgraded) is preferred for systems running 10.12, but must be updated with the latest patches.  Otherwise, freshly installed Office 2016 will crash on launch — install and update first.
  • Matlab R2016b is the suggested version for Mac OS 10.12.  Get it here: mathworks.com/downloads/web_downloads/select_release.
  • Mathematica 11.0.1 is the suggested version for Mac OS 10.12.  Get it here: http://user.wolfram.com/.
  • Endnote X7.7.1 is REQUIRED for Mac OS 10.12.  It still might have some lingering incompatibilities, however, and it looks like full bug-free support isn’t promised until Endnote X8.  This thread on their site seems to have the latest information. (Thanks Patrick Boyle!)
  • If you’re eager to try some of the new Mac OS / iOS integration technologies (like the shared clipboard between Mac and iPhone) you’ll also need to have your phone running the latest iOS 10 release in addition to updating your Mac.

If you have trouble installing the update you might need to build an installer on a USB thumb drive.  Here’s a page that describes that process. (Thanks Tony Dalrymple!)

If you have a question about some other piece of software, please ask us!


Updated 2018-04-11