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OS X 10.11 El Capitan Frequently Asked Questions

Article ID = 140
Article Title = OS X 10.11 El Capitan Frequently Asked Questions
Article Author(s) = Graham Needham (BH)
Article Created On = 9th June 2015
Article Last Updated = 21st June 2016
Article URL = http://www.macstrategy.com/article.php?140

Article Brief Description:
Frequently Asked Questions about OS X 10.11 El Capitan

OS X 10.11 El Capitan Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When was El Capitan released?
A. El Capitan was released on the 30th September 2015. El Capitan is still available from Apple.
Q. What's with the name?
A. El Capitan is a location within Yosemite so it is an indication that OS X 10.11 will primarily be focused as a performance/usability/bug fix upgrade rather than a "new features" upgrade.
Q. How much does El Capitan cost?
A. FREE. El Capitan is still available from Apple.
Q. In our family/household/business the different Macs have different iTunes / App Store accounts on them. Do I have to download El Capitan multiple times?
A. No. You can have more than one iTunes / App Store authorisation on a single machine. Use one of the iTunes / App Store accounts to authorise each computer in the family/household/business in turn to download and install El Capitan (in the App Store application click on the "Purchases" tab).
NOTE: Mac App Store authorisations (for consumers) are different to iTunes authorisations. Mac App Store authorisations are unlimited whereas the iTunes authorisation limit is 10.
Q. How do I install El Capitan on multiple computers?
A. Option 1: Download El Capitan individually on each computer at ~6GB in size each time.
A. Option 2: Download the El Capitan installer on one computer (at ~6GB in size), quit the installer and copy the installer to each computer's Applications folder that you want to install El Capitan on.
A. Option 3: Download the El Capitan installer on one computer (at ~6GB in size) and obtain the OS X Install Disc Image to use on each computer that you want to install El Capitan on.
Q. Which Macs can I install El Capitan on?
A. The following Macs are confirmed as compatible with El Capitan (it's actually the same computers that were compatible with Yosemite - Intel Core 2 Duo, i3, i5, i7 or Xeon processor, a minimum of 2GB of RAM, 8GB of available disk space and modern graphics capability):
  • iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro 15" (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro 17" (Late 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)
NOTE: You will also need at least Mac OS X 10.6.7 and an Apple ID to be able to obtain El Capitan from the Mac App Store.
Q. How can I check what specifications my computer has or what model it is/graphics capability it has?
A. You can check "Processor", "Memory" and Mac OS X "Version" by going to Apple menu > About This Mac.
A. To check what "model" you have the model number is usually printed on the outside of the computer somewhere.
A. To be more specific and exact you can check what "Identifier" your Mac has by:
  • If you are running Mac OS X 10.4.x/10.5.x/10.6.x go to Apple menu > About This Mac > click the "More Info…" button > (the System Profiler application will open) select "Hardware" on the left and check what it says for 'Model Identifier' on the right. Then under Hardware on the left select "Graphics/Displays" and check what it says for 'Video Card' on the right (you may have two cards listed, one for integrated graphics and one for discrete graphics).
  • If you are running OS X 10.7.x/10.8.x go to Apple menu > About This Mac > click the "More Info…" button > (the System Information application will open) click "Overview" in the top left (this will now show the 'Graphics' capability) then click the "System Report" button > select "Hardware" on the left and check what it says for 'Model Identifier' on the right.
  • If you are running OS X 10.9.x/10.10.x go to Apple menu > About This Mac (the About This Mac window will open) > click "Overview" in the top left then click the "System Report" button > (the System Information application will open) select "Hardware" on the left and check what it says for 'Model Identifier' on the right.
Q. My Mac has the correct type of processor but I don't have enough RAM. What can I do?
A. All the supported Macs can run at least 2GB of RAM so all you need to do is upgrade your RAM to at least 2GB. In the UK we recommend Kingston Technology lifetime warranty memory for your Mac. Most Macs usually only have two memory slots so it is best to upgrade to as much RAM as you can afford the first time. If your Mac supports 8GB or more (like some MacBook Pros / minis do) then upgrade to the maximum.
Q. I'm still using a compatible Mac with Mac OS X 10.4.x/10.5.x on it. Can I still download and install El Capitan?
A. Yes but you will need to buy/upgrade to/install Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard first (£14.99) and then download/install OS X 10.11 El Capitan from Mac App Store. El Capitan is still available from Apple.
Q. I have a compatible Mac and I am running Mac OS X 10.6.8/10.7.x/10.8.x/10.9.x/10.10.x so how do I obtain El Capitan from the Mac App Store?
A. See this article.
Q. I have Mac OS X 10.6.8/10.7.x/10.8.x/10.9.x/10.10.x but my internet connection is slow. Will this be a problem?
A. No, but be warned, the El Capitan installer is ~6GB in size so it may take some time to download.
Q. I have Mac OS X 10.6.8/10.7.x/10.8.x/10.9.x/10.10.x but I don't have a permanent connection to the internet. Will this be a problem?
A. Yes. The Mac App Store purchase of El Capitan will require an internet connection. See the options listed in answer to the next question.
Q. I have Mac OS X 10.6.8/10.7.x/10.8.x/10.9.x/10.10.x but I have an internet access data cap in place / I cannot download something that is ~6GB in size. What can I do?
A. El Capitan will not be available on optical disc or a USB thumb drive so your options are:
  1. Use a different internet connection to yours that does not have an internet access data cap in place.
  2. Go to an Apple Retail Store where you can install El Capitan from their local server.
Q. If there is no physical El Capitan disc/USB thumb drive and I install El Capitan but run into trouble what can I do?
A. If you downloaded El Capitan from the Mac App Store: A. If your Mac came with OS X 10.11 El Capitan:
Q. What new features does El Capitan have?
A. See Apple's OS X El Capitan what's new list. MacStrategy's recommended features to note are:
  • Improved Notes - compatible with iOS 9 or later Notes
    • Checklists
    • Add a photo, video, URL or map location
    • Add to Notes from other apps using Share Sheets
  • Improved Maps
    • Public transport view for major cities including London
    • Directions to places using public transport transit routes (including via Siri)
  • Split View - full screen mode but with two applications side by side with multiple, sizeable options
  • Call out your cursor - shake your finger back and forth on the trackpad or give your mouse a shake and the cursor gets bigger so it's easy to spot
  • Improved Spotlight - delivers results for weather, sports, stocks, web video and transit information + you can use natural language questions
  • Third-party editing tools (plug-ins) for Photos (via the Mac App Store)
  • Disk Utility now supports Core Storage features better
  • Streamlined Mission Control
  • Finder copy resume
  • Directly delete files in the Finder
  • Auto-hide the menu bar
  • Copy file/folder path location to clip-board via Finder contextual menu
  • New system wide font (San Francisco)
  • New features for Chinese and Japanese users
  • New "Metal" graphics core technology for enhanced/faster graphics processing (newer Mac models only)
  • New "Metal" graphics core technology for enhanced/faster graphics processing (newer Mac models only)
  • New low-level security technology System Integrity Protection (SIP)
Q. El Capitan appears to rely on iCloud a lot. Do I have to have an iCloud account (Apple ID) to install/use El Capitan?
A. You will need an Apple ID to use the Mac App Store to purchase El Capitan in the first place but once it is installed you may not need to use iCloud. An Apple ID can be your iTunes account if you have one.
OS X 10.11 El Capitan - go to Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
  • Photos†
  • Mail†
  • Contacts
  • Calendars
  • Reminders†
  • iCloud Drive† - requires iOS 8 or later, OS X 10.10 or later or Windows 7/8
  • Keychain (in the cloud)†
  • Notes†
  • Safari (bookmarks)†
  • Back To My Mac
  • Find My Mac
† - This information can only be synchronise across multiple iOS devices/Mac computers if you have an iCloud account (Apple ID) - you cannot synchronise these types of data via USB/iTunes.
Q. How does the new Finder file copy resume feature work?
A. The copy process is tracked by the system so that if it is stopped/cancelled for some reason it can resume the copy.
Q. How do I directly delete files in the Finder?
A. Select the file and press Command+Option+Delete - files will not go to the Trash, they will be deleted immediately.
Q. How do I control whether the menu bar is auto-hidden?
A. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > General > and tick/untick Auto-hide Menu Bar.
Q. I've heard El Capitan has a new quick access to a file/folder's copy path. How do I get this path?
A. In the Finder, simply right (control) click on any file/folder and from the contextual menu select "Copy path".
Q. Does El Capitan use Core Storage?
A. Yes. There's a new, updated version of Disk Utility (in Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities folder) that now gives you access to Core Storage features and formatting.
Q. I've heard El Capitan has a new System font (San Francisco). Can I delete/change the font?
A. No. Well, not officially. There are third party "hacks" out there to accomplish the job - do so at your own risk - An internet search engine is your friend.
Q. I don't like the way El Capitan looks. Can I change it back to look like my previous OS?
A. Most of the new look and feel cannot be changed (see Q&A above regarding the new system wide font). However, if you find the transparent/muted effects annoying you can reduce those effects by going to Apple menu > System Preferences > Accessibility > select Display on the left and tick "Reduce transparency" plus you can also try ticking "Increase contrast" too.
Q. This new "Metal" graphics enhancing technology sounds good. Does my Mac support it?
A. Metal is only supported with newer Mac models. Basically you need an nVidia 400 series or later, or an Intel 4000 or later, graphics chip/card to get the benefit of Metal - this basically means you need a 2012 model or later Macintosh computer.
Q. I've heard El Capitan includes something called System Integrity Protection (SIP). Will this stop me installing and using older software?
A. Possibly. See our separate article all about System Integrity Protection (SIP).
Q. I've heard El Capitan includes something called Gatekeeper. Will this stop me installing and using older software?
A. No. You can configure Gatekeeper in one of three different ways:
  1. Mac App Store = only software downloaded and installed from the Mac App Store will run (highest security)
  2. Mac App Store and identified developers = only software downloaded and installed from the Mac App Store or that have been digitally signed by an authorised developer will run (medium security - default)
  3. Anywhere = no security and will let you install any software
Q. Does El Capitan have Rosetta? Does it run PowerPC applications/software?
A. Just like OS X 10.7 Lion and later, El Capitan does not include Rosetta.
Q. Does El Capitan include X11?
A. No. X11 on El Capitan now uses install on demand. When you first launch an app that requires X11 libraries, you are directed to a download location for the most up-to-date version of X11 for Mac e.g. XQuartz.
Q. Does El Capitan include Personal Web Sharing?
A. Sort of. Apple have removed the easy configuration of this feature (from System Preferences > Sharing) but the underlying software needed (Apache) is still included in macOS. You can either purchase Apple's own OS X Server (£14.99), install/purchase third party products e.g. MAMP, VirtualHostX, etc, or get jiggy with Terminal commands for free.
Q. Does El Capitan include Xgrid Sharing?
A. No. Just like OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and later it has been removed.
Q. Does El Capitan include Java?
A. No. Java is available to download from Oracle - see our Java article for more information and download links to obtain the latest free Java software.
Q. If I install OS X 10.11 El Capitan and don't like it can I easily downgrade back to 10.10./10.9/10.8/10.7/10.6?
A. Unfortunately, depending on your Mac model it may not be very easy. We're working on an article about that - check back soon.
Q. What should I do to prepare for El Capitan?
A. See this article.

Article Keywords: Mac OS X OSX macOS 1011 ElCapitan Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

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