Help Desk

Information Technology

Upgrading to macOS Sonoma

February 2024 update: After internal testing, we are generally recommending MacOS Sonoma (14) for the Reed Community. Read below to learn about known issues.

Who should upgrade?

MacOS Sonoma (14) is generally recommended for everyone at this time. IT staff have tested and confirmed the most commonly used software is compatible with Reed's environment (i.e., Microsoft Office, Zoom, Papercut printing software, Microsoft Remote Desktop*, GlobalProtect VPN, Crashplan backups). *Read below to learn about known issues.

Refer to the list of supported Mac operating systems below. If your computer is running Big Sur (11) or below, your computer is no longer receiving security updates by Apple and must be upgraded. To find out your version, go to the Apple menu > About This Mac.

MacOS Supported/Receives Security Updates Notes
Sonoma (14) yes See software compatibility notes below
Ventura (13) yes
Monterey (12) yes Support ending soon. Recommend upgrading to Ventura or Sonoma
Big Sur (11), Catalina (10.15), Mojave (10.14) and older no Must upgrade OS; Crashplan backups not supported. Particularly susceptible to viruses, malware, and other exploits

Note: Wondering about the difference between the terms "update" and "upgrade"? Not sure what your current operating system version is? Visit Reed's supported operating systems page for details.

Sonoma Software Compatibility

Most commonly used applications at Reed are compatible with Sonoma:

  • Web browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and others)
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Remote Desktop (MRD)*
    • *Known printing issue - Printing to your Mac printers from MRD does not work in Reed's environment. It is possible to print to PDF. Please contact to discuss options if you need to print directly from MRD.
  • Zoom
  • GlobalProtect VPN
  • CrashPlan backups
  • Papercut printing client
  • ScanSnap scanning software

If you rely on specific software not listed above, please check the Roaring Apps website for software compatibility. If you use any Adobe apps, please refer to their list of known Adobe issues in Sonoma.

Sonoma Changes

The look and feel of Sonoma is very similar to the previous MacOS, Ventura. If you're upgrading from Monterey or earlier, you'll notice some differences.

Pre-Upgrade Checklist

  • Are your backups in a good state? If you’re unsure, please ask CUS for help. Employees can check Crashplan on Reed computers.
  • Do you have at least 40GB of free space on your hard drive? If not, do not upgrade, as the upgrade may not complete and data loss may occur. Free up space, or talk with CUS first.
  • Do you use specialty software that may not have been updated to work with the new OS? Check compatibility at the Roaring Apps website. If you're unsure, ask CUS before upgrading!
  • Are you able to take a break from your computer for about an hour after initiating the upgrade?

Upgrade Expectations

For most users the upgrade could take around an hour, but in some circumstances it can take longer. During the upgrade a black screen might appear for several minutes at a time. Don’t panic! It is important that you do not interrupt the upgrade process once it has begun.

We recommend kicking off the upgrade, then checking back regularly to step through any prompts that have popped up.

Apple may present you with numerous security prompts as you begin working in the upgraded OS. Most prompts require interaction, but will be displayed only one time.

I’m Ready, How Do I Upgrade?

To upgrade, go to the Apple menu > System Settings/Preferences > Software Update. Alternatively, open the App Store application from your Applications folder. Search for "macOS Sonma", and follow the on screen prompts to download and begin the upgrade. Please note it may take up to half an hour for the installer to download. Once the download is complete, continue to follow the on screen prompts to step through the installation.

If you are on a Reed computer, you may find installers for previous versions of MacOS in the Self Service application. Once you click "Upgrade" it will take some time to download the installer, after which it should open and prompt you to begin the upgrade.

Upgrading Will Not Fix Existing Problems

Upgrading the OS on an already misbehaving computer (slow to start, spinning beachball, etc.) can actually make matters worse. Contact CUS about any issues before performing an OS upgrade.

If you have questions about your backups or software compatibility, please contact Computer User Services before you upgrade. We’ll answer any questions and help make sure things go as smoothly as possible.