MacBook Air 2008 - Upgrade Mac OS X 10.6.8 to 10.7.5?
April 11, 2016 2:00 PM   Subscribe

I have an original MacBook Air 1,1 (2008) that we use as our old-but-still-serviceable travel computer. It currently has 10.6.8 on it, and my understanding is that the machine could support Mac OS X 10.7.5 (Lion). Any upside (or serious downside) to upgrading it to 10.7.5?

We have this old, original MacBook Air that we got for free a few years ago. It has a 1.8 GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, a non-upgradeable 2GB of RAM, and a 128GB ZIF SSD I stuffed in there a while ago. Yeah, it's kinda slow, but it ain't dead yet and still works fine for those times when we travel and don't want to live exclusively off of phones and iPads (or are worried about newer, more expensive tech gear being stolen). I'm not a fan of virtual keyboards, so its real keyboard is a big plus for me. And being a MacBook Air it's both small and light weight. For these reasons this thing still meets our needs, and sees several weeks of use each year when we travel as a family. I just replaced its battery (for a whopping $40), so we'll probably keep using it for a few more years as it's good in this particular role.

It currently has 10.6.8 on it, and according to its page on, it will support up to 10.7.5. What are the pros and cons of upgrading it to 10.7.5? Oh, and I have a USB SuperDrive, so I can install via DVD as needed.

All of our other Macs are now running Yosemite, and while I don't really use this Mac for anything other than web browsing, movie watching, and some occasional MS Word and in-a-pinch FileMaker work. I'm happy to upgrade its OS if there's a good reason to do so. Or not.

Thanks in advance.
posted by mosk to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I see no reason to upgrade - 10.6.8 is arguably the best desktop OS Apple ever made, and neither 10.6 nor 10.7 are still supported by apple with security updates.

There are some manual security patches worth doing, though.
posted by kickingtheground at 2:55 PM on April 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

Also - I would probably move away from using the older potentially less-secure versions of Safari and (to third-party apps).
posted by kickingtheground at 3:01 PM on April 11, 2016

Thanks, kickingtheground. That matches my understanding of things, just wanted to see if there was anything compelling about 10.7.5 that made it a worthwhile upgrade.

> Also - I would probably move away from using the older potentially less-secure versions of Safari and (to third-party apps).

FWIW, on this laptop I do use FireFox for web browsing and MS Entourage for email (though that's uncommon as I'm mostly using my phone for email). This machine is primarily for web browsing and movie watching at this point, for times when the phone is too small and we purposely didn't bring an iPad.
posted by mosk at 3:12 PM on April 11, 2016

For the most part I think it's worth it to upgrade even old Macs to the last supported OS—I use a 2007 iMac with El Capitan every day—but I don't have a lot of fond memories of 10.7/Lion. If my options were 10.6 or 10.7 I'd stick with the devil I knew.
posted by Polycarp at 3:40 PM on April 11, 2016

It's a little confusing, but I do think you are correct: the Early 2008 MBAs can't upgrade to El Capitan, but the Late 2008 MBAs can:

I agree with other advice: 10.6.8 still has a thriving (sort-of) community but I don't think the 10.7 community is very large.
posted by soylent00FF00 at 5:08 PM on April 12, 2016

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