Shortly after rolling out the iOS upgrades to iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices, Apple released the OS X 10.11 El Captain to eligible Macbooks and iMacs. The latest software is available as a free download and upgrade for PCs and laptops from Yosemite to the newest version. Before going forward with the installation, there are a few things that must be remembered. 

Everything from new features to compatibility checks and download tutorial to upgrade your eligible Mac devices.

New features and enhancements

Apple's latest OS X 10.11 El Captain was originally announced at the WWDC 2015 in San Francisco in June. The new desktop OS brings on board several new features: (via Mac World)

  • Improved Spotlight search results.
  • Photos: Support for third-party tools and image-editing extensions.
  • Safari: Spot audio playing tabs and pin your favorite sites on the browser.
  • Maps: Transit directions, detailed maps of tube stations.
  • Notes: Supports photos, PDF, URL and map locations.
  • Mail: Gesture support to swipe to delete or mark as unread, separate tabs for email threads and more.
  • Split screen: Pin full-screen apps to one side.
  • Shake track pad to find the cursor.

Besides new features, OS X 10.11 El Captain also brings improvements under the hood. The apps will now open 1.4 times faster compared to Yosemite and switching between apps is twice as fast. Also opening PDR in Preview app in El Captain is four times faster than its predecessor, IBTimes reports.

Compatible devices

Before proceeding with the installation, it is important to know if your Mac device is compatible with the new software. Find the list of devices that support OS X 10.11 El Captain, as per Apple.

  • iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)

Note: To ensure a smooth installation, users will need around 8GB of free space and at least 2GB RAM on their computers and 64-bit CPU. To find out if your computer is compatible for the upgrade, click on Apple logo on top left hand side of the screen, select About this Mac and Overview. All details of your Mac device can be found there, including the year that the model first appeared. Also, make sure your Mac is already running Yosemite before upgrading to El Captain.


Before upgrading to new software on any device, it is advised to take a complete backup just in case anything goes wrong midway. It is our suggestion that you clone all your important data in an external hard drive or on cloud.

However, users of Mac machines have the liberty of backing data in a seamless fashion using the built-in Time Machine. This will backup your data automatically at regular intervals so there is minimal risk of losing data even in sudden crashes.

How to download and install Mac OS X 10.11 El Captain

Downloading OS X 10.11 El Captain on your Mac device is as simple as upgrading your iPhone to the latest iOS version. The software update does not require a physical disc but simply initiating the download from the Apple menu will take care of things.

The simplest way to get started is by clicking on the Apple logo on top left corner and choosing About This Mac. Click on Software Update and sit back and relax for the download to complete. Alternatively, you can visit the Mac App Store and click on Updates to find El Captain. In case you do not see the download notification, don't panic as the new OS X version will be available soon enough.

After completing the digital download, which is likely a small file around 5GB or so, Apple has a pretty organised method of installation. Users have to simply follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation by entering their Apple ID and iCloud password during the process. The installation is likely to last a few minutes.