The announcement of the next macOS, High Sierra, at WWDC 2017 this week is a timely reminder to download the Sierra installer for those running any previous version of macOS (formerly OSX).
As creatives in general, but musicians in particular, we rely on our computer as the centre of our studio.
For us Mac users, this often means staying an OS version behind to make sure things work.
It will often take manufactures of things we rely on like plugins, audio interfaces, synths, keyboards, and any other music making tools we use, a long time after the OS is released to provide fully functioning, compatible updates and drivers.
(Yes, I know some manufacturers are ready before the release, but in my opinion, updating your OS on day 1 is just asking for trouble.)
For that reason, it is best for us to stay at least an OS behind the latest and ‘greatest’.
The trouble for many comes when a new OS is released, like High Sierra for example, and you decide to update from, say, El Capitan to Sierra (not High Sierra).
Historically, when Apple released a new OS, the previous OS is no longer available in the app store unless you had ‘purchased’ it while it was the current OS.
If you had ‘purchased’ the OS (clicked ‘Get’ in the App store), it would appear on your App Store purchased apps tab, meaning you could download it whenever you want, even after the next OS has been released and the OS you want to install is no longer available.
Things have changed with Sierra
With the release of Sierra, macOS is no longer tied to your Apple ID. This means that anyone can download it, even without being logged into your Apple ID in the App Store. That makes sense for a free operating system.
However, this also means Sierra will not show up on your purchased apps tab in the App store, meaning you might not be able to download it in the future after High Sierra is released.
As Apple have always removed the previous OS from the App Store when a new one is released, this could mean trouble for us creatives who like to stay an OS behind.
There is hope though
According to this Apple support document, “OS X El Capitan remains available for Mac computers that can't upgrade to macOS Sierra, or that need to upgrade to El Capitan first.”
And this Apple support document states “macOS Sierra doesn’t appear in the Purchased tab. Use the Search field to find it again, then download it from the product page.”
Whether or not this means that macOS Sierra will also remain available after macOS High Sierra is released I don’t know.
My advice is to download Sierra now and not install. Keep the install file safe so you have it when / if you need it.