Can I put 2+ versions of OS X on a brand-newest Macbook Pro?
June 19, 2014 9:57 AM   Subscribe

For testing purposes at work, they would like this magic to happen - put different iterations of OS X (e.g. snow leopard, lion, mt lion, mavericks) each on its own partition on the same physical disk. Apple L2 support has disavowed knowledge of such potential doings, despite there being support articles indicating that at least two versions of OS X on the same physical disk (and different partitions) is possible. Either a) it's doable or b) it's not doable. However...

A couple articles I read online recently indicated that sometimes? new Apple OS X iterations might have different "hardware strings" which prevent easily installing even very recent versions of the same OS on brand new Apple hardware (for example, in this particular case, I discovered that I couldn't easily boot off known good 10.9.1 media unless I wanted to alter said 'strings' to make it compatible with the brand new Macbook in front of me, so I had to download 10.9.3 from the app store to make 10.9.3. boot media ).

I also realize that I could also make a bunch of vm's with different os X flavors in them, but whether I do that will depend on whether this is doable.

Thanks very much, Apple experts. I realize I could post this on various Apple forums, which I may still do, but I like MeFiters the best. : )
posted by bitterkitten to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
It's totally doable. However, the oldest OS you can run on that machine is the one that originally shipped with it. If you've got a new machine that shipped with 10.9.3, it won't run 10.9.1 or 10.8 or anything earlier.

It sounds like you may want to find some older machines.
posted by xil at 10:05 AM on June 19, 2014

Just using Fusion or Parallels will be easier I think. But if that does not appea your best bet would be to buy an oldish Mac Pro - with a few partitions you should be able to run every version of osx from leopard onwards on one of them.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 11:04 AM on June 19, 2014

posted by bitterkitten at 11:55 AM on June 19, 2014

One issue that comes up is that install media that ships with Apple computers is tied to the specific model that it ships with. This is much less of an issue with 10.7 or later - where the install media is just downloaded from Apple, but for Snow Leopard and before you either need install media that shipped with the model you are installing to, or generic install media.

A suitable Snow Leopard CD is available from Amazon.

Here's an article about geting old install media: How to get old OS X install discs
posted by wotsac at 9:59 AM on June 20, 2014

Virtualizing OSX is a bit involved, and the performance isn't great because OSX relies on the GPU quite a bit and it's not VM-aware. (I've done it before.) Finding old Macs to test on might be easier.
posted by neckro23 at 11:07 AM on June 20, 2014

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