Installing OS X 10.9 Mavericks: Our complete guide  

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Mavericks installer icon

Installing Mavericks: Our complete guide

Mavericks installer icon

Mavericks (OS X 10.9) is here! And just as with Lion (OS X 10.7) and Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) before it, getting Mavericks is as easy as downloading an installer from the Mac App Store. A few clicks (and some patience) is all it takes to install OS X 10.9 over your existing copy of Mountain Lion, Lion, or Snow Leopard (or, if you’re brave, even Leopard). But that doesn’t mean you should make the jump with no preparation, or that there are no important decisions to make along the way.

As we do with every new version of OS X, we've installed Mavericks more times than we can count in order to put together a comprehensive guide to installing the latest Mac OS. In the articles below, we cover the requirements for running Mavericks; the things you should do to get your Mac ready; and the download process. We walk you through the actual installation; recommend some post-install tasks; discuss some upgrade challenges; and help you decide if a "clean install"—erasing your drive and starting from scratch—is for you.

We also provide instructions for creating a bootable Mavericks installer drive, as well as for installing Mavericks over Leopard (OS X 10.5)—provided you have the appropriate license to do so. (We’ll be adding Mavericks-specific articles on OS X Recovery and Internet Recovery, so stay tuned.) With this guide, you should be able to make the transition to 10.9 painlessly.

Read on for descriptions of, and links to, our Mavericks-install articles.

  • Get your Mac ready for Mavericks OS X 10.9 Mavericks is as easy to install as downloading an installer from the Mac App Store and then double-clicking. But there are still some things you should do before downloading Mavericks to ensure that your Mac is ready and that the upgrade process goes smoothly.
  • Installing Mavericks: What you need to know Mavericks is available only as a direct download from Apple’s Mac App Store. This method of distribution is convenient, but it’s not without challenges and potential issues. Here’s a comprehensive look at the details of purchasing, downloading, installing, and setting up Apple’s lastest OS. I also take a look at some of the upgrade obstacles you might face.
  • How to make a bootable Mavericks installer drive Though you can install Mavericks directly from your Mac's hard drive, a bootable installer drive can be more convenient for installing the OS onto multiple Macs. And if your Mac is experiencing problems, a bootable installer makes a handy emergency drive. I walk you through the process of creating such a drive, step-by-step.
  • Should you do a “clean install” of Mavericks? Some Mac users choose to perform a "clean install" of each major new version of OS X, erasing their drive and starting over. Here’s a look at whether or not that's possible when installing Mavericks and, more important, whether it’s advisable.
  • How to install Mavericks over Leopard According to the Mavericks license agreement, you must have Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6), Lion (OS X 10.7), or Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) installed before you can install Mavericks (OS X 10.9). But there are situations in which you may have a valid license for one of these prerequisite versions, even though your Mac still has Leopard (OS X 10.5) installed. We show you how to save some time, and reduce the hassle, by upgrading directly from Leopard to Mavericks.
  • How to make a bootable install drive for Macs that shipped with Mavericks If your Mac was released after Mavericks debuted, it's not quite as easy to make a bootable Mavericks install drive, but it's still quite doable. We've got the complete instructions.

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