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OS X El Capitan Q&A - Updated September 29, 2015

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Which Macs are compatible with OS X El Capitan (10.11)? What are the system requirements? Which Macs support which features?

On June 8, 2015, Apple previewed OS X "El Capitan" (10.11). On September 9, 2015, Apple quietly noted that the ship date would be on September 30, 2015, and issued a formal press release the day before.

OS X "El Capitan" is named after the El Capitan mountain inside the Yosemite National Park. With this name choice, the company is subtly implying that the relationship between OS X El Capitan and OS X Yosemite (10.10) is similar to the relationship between OS X Leopard (10.5) and OS X Snow Leopard (10.6) in that the latter operating system is more of a refinement of its predecessor rather than a release packed to the brim with new features.

In the original press release, Apple uses the word "refine" no less than five times and summarizes the operating system accordingly:

Building on last year's landmark release of OS X Yosemite, El Capitan introduces enhancements to window management, built-in apps and Spotlight search, and makes everyday activities -- from launching apps to accessing email -- faster and more responsive. Metal, Apple's breakthrough graphics technology, is integrated into El Capitan, delivering system-wide performance gains and enabling games and pro apps to tap into the full power of Mac graphics processors.

OS X El Capitan (10.11) Home Screen
Photo Credit: Apple, Inc. (MacBook Running OS X El Capitan)

System Requirements

Apple notes that OS X El Capitan runs on the following Mac categories:

These are the same general system requirements for the previous version of OS X -- OS X Yosemite (10.10). At least 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage space also are required for OS X El Capitan. Specific feature support varies, though.

Identification Help

If you're not sure if your Mac will run OS X El Capitan, all of the supported systems can be identified by the above "subfamily" designations as well as by the Model Identifier in software. More details about specific identifiers are provided in EveryMac.com's extensive Mac Identification section.

To locate the model identifier, select "About This Mac" under the Apple Menu on your computer and click the "More Info..." button. If the Mac is running OS X "Lion" (10.7) or later, click the "System Report" button after clicking "More Info..." as well.

EveryMac.com's Ultimate Mac Lookup feature -- as well as the EveryMac app -- also can identify these models by their Serial Numbers.

OS X El Capitan Supported Systems

Specifically, the following Macs are compatible with OS X El Capitan. However, just because a Mac runs OS X El Capitan does not mean that it is compatible with all features, most notably the new "Metal" graphics performance technology.

Supported Mac

Subfamily

Model ID

iMac "Core 2 Duo" 2.0 20"

Mid-2007

iMac7,1

iMac "Core 2 Duo" 2.4 20"

Mid-2007

iMac7,1

iMac "Core 2 Duo" 2.4 24"

Mid-2007

iMac7,1

iMac "Core 2 Extreme" 2.8 24"

Mid-2007

iMac7,1

iMac "Core 2 Duo" 2.4 20"

Early 2008

iMac8,1

iMac "Core 2 Duo" 2.66 20"

Early 2008

iMac8,1

iMac "Core 2 Duo" 2.8 24"

Early 2008

iMac8,1

iMac "Core 2 Duo" 3.06 24"

Early 2008

iMac8,1

iMac "Core 2 Duo" 2.66 20"

Early 2009

iMac9,1

iMac "Core 2 Duo" 2.66 24"

Early 2009

iMac9,1

iMac "Core 2 Duo" 2.93 24"

Early 2009

iMac9,1

iMac "Core 2 Duo" 3.06 24"

Early 2009

iMac9,1

iMac "Core 2 Duo" 2.0 20"

Mid-2009 (Edu)

iMac9,1

iMac "Core 2 Duo" 2.26 20"

Mid-2009 (Edu)

iMac9,1

iMac "Core 2 Duo" 3.06 21.5"

Late 2009

iMac10,1

iMac "Core 2 Duo" 3.33 21.5"

Late 2009

iMac10,1

iMac "Core 2 Duo" 3.06 27"

Late 2009

iMac10,1

iMac "Core 2 Duo" 3.33 27"

Late 2009

iMac10,1

iMac "Core i5" 2.66 27"

Late 2009

iMac11,1

iMac "Core i7" 2.8 27"

Late 2009

iMac11,1

iMac "Core i3" 3.06 21.5"

Mid-2010

iMac11,2

iMac "Core i3" 3.2 21.5"

Mid-2010

iMac11,2

iMac "Core i5" 3.6 21.5"

Mid-2010

iMac11,2

iMac "Core i3" 3.2 27"

Mid-2010

iMac11,3

iMac "Core i5" 2.8 27"

Mid-2010

iMac11,3

iMac "Core i5" 3.6 27"

Mid-2010

iMac11,3

iMac "Core i7" 2.93 27"

Mid-2010

iMac11,3

iMac "Core i5" 2.5 21.5"

Mid-2011

iMac12,1

iMac "Core i5" 2.7 21.5"

Mid-2011

iMac12,1

iMac "Core i7" 2.8 21.5"

Mid-2011

iMac12,1

iMac "Core i5" 2.7 27"

Mid-2011

iMac12,2

iMac "Core i5" 3.1 27"

Mid-2011

iMac12,2

iMac "Core i7" 3.4 27"

Mid-2011

iMac12,2

iMac "Core i3" 3.1 21.5"

Late 2011 (Edu)

iMac12,1

iMac "Core i5" 2.7 21.5"

Late 2012

iMac13,1

iMac "Core i5" 2.9 21.5"

Late 2012

iMac13,1

iMac "Core i7" 3.1 21.5"

Late 2012

iMac13,1

iMac "Core i5" 2.9 27"

Late 2012

iMac13,2

iMac "Core i5" 3.2 27"

Late 2012

iMac13,2

iMac "Core i7" 3.4 27"

Late 2012

iMac13,2

iMac "Core i3" 3.3 21.5"

Early 2013 (Edu)

iMac13,1

iMac "Core i5" 2.7 21.5"

Late 2013

iMac14,1

iMac "Core i5" 2.9 21.5"

Late 2013

iMac14,3

iMac "Core i7" 3.1 21.5"

Late 2013

iMac14,3

iMac "Core i5" 3.2 27"

Late 2013

iMac14,2

iMac "Core i5" 3.4 27"

Late 2013

iMac14,2

iMac "Core i7" 3.5 27"

Late 2013

iMac14,2

iMac "Core i5" 1.4 21.5"

Mid-2014

iMac14,4

iMac "Core i5" 3.5 27"

Late 2014

iMac15,1

iMac "Core i7" 4.0 27"

Late 2014

iMac15,1

iMac "Core i5" 3.3 27"

Mid-2015

iMac15,1

MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.0 13"

Late 2008 Aluminum

MacBook5,1

MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.4 13"

Late 2008 Aluminum

MacBook5,1

MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.0 13"

Early 2009

MacBook5,2

MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.13 13"

Mid-2009

MacBook5,2

MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.26 13"

Late 2009

MacBook6,1

MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.4 13"

Mid-2010

MacBook7,1

MacBook "Core M" 1.1 12"

Early 2015

MacBook8,1

MacBook "Core M" 1.2 12"

Early 2015

MacBook8,1

MacBook "Core M" 1.3 12"

Early 2015

MacBook8,1

MacBook Air "Core 2 Duo" 1.6 13"

Late 2008

MacBookAir2,1

MacBook Air "Core 2 Duo" 1.86 13"

Late 2008

MacBookAir2,1

MacBook Air "Core 2 Duo" 1.86 13"

Mid-2009

MacBookAir2,1

MacBook Air "Core 2 Duo" 2.13 13"

Mid-2009

MacBookAir2,1

MacBook Air "Core 2 Duo" 1.4 11"

Late 2010

MacBookAir3,1

MacBook Air "Core 2 Duo" 1.6 11"

Late 2010

MacBookAir3,1

MacBook Air "Core 2 Duo" 1.86 13"

Late 2010

MacBookAir3,2

MacBook Air "Core 2 Duo" 2.13 13"

Late 2010

MacBookAir3,2

MacBook Air "Core i5" 1.6 11"

Mid-2011

MacBookAir4,1

MacBook Air "Core i7" 1.8 11"

Mid-2011

MacBookAir4,1

MacBook Air "Core i5" 1.7 13"

Mid-2011

MacBookAir4,2

MacBook Air "Core i7" 1.8 13"

Mid-2011

MacBookAir4,2

MacBook Air "Core i5" 1.6 13"

Mid-2011

MacBookAir4,2

MacBook Air "Core i5" 1.7 11"

Mid-2012

MacBookAir5,1

MacBook Air "Core i7" 2.0 11"

Mid-2012

MacBookAir5,1

MacBook Air "Core i5" 1.8 13"

Mid-2012

MacBookAir5,2

MacBook Air "Core i7" 2.0 13"

Mid-2012

MacBookAir5,2

MacBook Air "Core i5" 1.3 11"

Mid-2013

MacBookAir6,1

MacBook Air "Core i7" 1.7 11"

Mid-2013

MacBookAir6,1

MacBook Air "Core i5" 1.3 13"

Mid-2013

MacBookAir6,2

MacBook Air "Core i7" 1.7 13"

Mid-2013

MacBookAir6,2

MacBook Air "Core i5" 1.4 11"

Early 2014

MacBookAir6,1

MacBook Air "Core i7" 1.7 11"

Early 2014

MacBookAir6,1

MacBook Air "Core i5" 1.4 13"

Early 2014

MacBookAir6,2

MacBook Air "Core i7" 1.7 13"

Early 2014

MacBookAir6,2

MacBook Air "Core i5" 1.6 11"

Early 2015

MacBookAir7,1

MacBook Air "Core i7" 2.2 11"

Early 2015

MacBookAir7,1

MacBook Air "Core i5" 1.6 13"

Early 2015

MacBookAir7,2

MacBook Air "Core i7" 2.2 13"

Early 2015

MacBookAir7,2

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.2 15"

Mid/Late 2007, 2.4/2.2GHz

MacBookPro3,1

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.4 15"

Mid/Late 2007, 2.4/2.2GHz

MacBookPro3,1

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.6 15"

Mid/Late 2007, 2.4/2.2GHz

MacBookPro3,1

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.4 17"

Mid/Late 2007, 2.4GHz

MacBookPro3,1

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.6 17"

Mid/Late 2007, 2.4GHz

MacBookPro3,1

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.4 15"

Early 2008

MacBookPro4,1

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.5 15"

Early 2008

MacBookPro4,1

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.6 15"

Early 2008

MacBookPro4,1

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.5 17"

Early/Late 2008

MacBookPro4,1

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.6 17"

Early/Late 2008

MacBookPro4,1

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.4 15"

Late 2008

MacBookPro5,1

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.53 15"

Late 2008

MacBookPro5,1

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.8 15"

Late 2008

MacBookPro5,1

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.66 17"

Early 2009

MacBookPro5,2

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.93 17"

Early 2009

MacBookPro5,2

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.66 15"

Late 2008/Early 2009

MacBookPro5,1

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.93 15"

Late 2008/Early 2009

MacBookPro5,1

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.26 13"

Mid-2009 13"

MacBookPro5,5

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.53 13"

Mid-2009 13"

MacBookPro5,5

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.53 15"

Mid-2009 15"

MacBookPro5,4

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.66 15"

Mid-2009 15"

MacBookPro5,3

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.8 15"

Mid-2009 15"

MacBookPro5,3

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 3.06 15"

Mid-2009 15"

MacBookPro5,3

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.8 17"

Mid-2009 17"

MacBookPro5,2

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 3.06 17"

Mid-2009 17"

MacBookPro5,2

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.4 13"

Mid-2010 13"

MacBookPro7,1

MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.66 13"

Mid-2010 13"

MacBookPro7,1

MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.4 15"

Mid-2010 15"

MacBookPro6,2

MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.53 15"

Mid-2010 15"

MacBookPro6,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.66 15"

Mid-2010 15"

MacBookPro6,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.8 15"

Mid-2010 15"

MacBookPro6,2

MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.53 17"

Mid-2010 17"

MacBookPro6,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.66 17"

Mid-2010 17"

MacBookPro6,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.8 17"

Mid-2010 17"

MacBookPro6,1

MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.3 13"

Early 2011 13"

MacBookPro8,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.7 13"

Early 2011 13"

MacBookPro8,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.0 15"

Early 2011 15"

MacBookPro8,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.2 15"

Early 2011 15"

MacBookPro8,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.3 15"

Early 2011 15"

MacBookPro8,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.2 17"

Early 2011 17"

MacBookPro8,3

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.3 17"

Early 2011 17"

MacBookPro8,3

MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.4 13"

Late 2011 13"

MacBookPro8,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.8 13"

Late 2011 13"

MacBookPro8,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.2 15"

Late 2011 15"

MacBookPro8,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.4 15"

Late 2011 15"

MacBookPro8,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.5 15"

Late 2011 15"

MacBookPro8,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.4 17"

Late 2011 17"

MacBookPro8,3

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.5 17"

Late 2011 17"

MacBookPro8,3

MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.5 13"

Mid-2012 13"

MacBookPro9,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.9 13"

Mid-2012 13"

MacBookPro9,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.3 15"

Mid-2012 15"

MacBookPro9,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.6 15"

Mid-2012 15"

MacBookPro9,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.7 15"

Mid-2012 15"

MacBookPro9,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.3 15"

Retina Mid-2012

MacBookPro10,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.6 15"

Retina Mid-2012

MacBookPro10,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.7 15"

Retina Mid-2012

MacBookPro10,1

MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.5 13"

Retina Late 2012

MacBookPro10,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.9 13"

Retina Late 2012

MacBookPro10,2

MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.6 13" Early 2013

Retina Early 2013

MacBookPro10,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 3.0 13"

Retina Early 2013

MacBookPro10,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.4 15"

Retina Early 2013

MacBookPro10,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.7 15"

Retina Early 2013

MacBookPro10,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.8 15"

Retina Early 2013

MacBookPro10,1

MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.4 13"

Retina Late 2013 13"

MacBookPro11,1

MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.6 13"

Retina Late 2013 13"

MacBookPro11,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.8 13"

Retina Late 2013 13"

MacBookPro11,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.0 15" (IG)

Retina Late 2013 15"

MacBookPro11,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.3 15" (IG)

Retina Late 2013 15"

MacBookPro11,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.6 15" (IG)

Retina Late 2013 15"

MacBookPro11,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.3 15" (DG)

Retina Late 2013 15"

MacBookPro11,3

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.6 15" (DG)

Retina Late 2013 15"

MacBookPro11,3

MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.6 13"

Retina Mid-2014 13"

MacBookPro11,1

MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.8 13"

Retina Mid-2014 13"

MacBookPro11,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 3.0 13"

Retina Mid-2014 13"

MacBookPro11,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.2 15" (IG)

Retina Mid-2014 15"

MacBookPro11,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.5 15" (IG)

Retina Mid-2014 15"

MacBookPro11,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.8 15" (IG)

Retina Mid-2014 15"

MacBookPro11,2

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.5 15" (DG)

Retina Mid-2014 15"

MacBookPro11,3

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.8 15" (DG)

Retina Mid-2014 15"

MacBookPro11,3

MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.7 13"

Retina Early 2015 13"

MacBookPro12,1

MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.9 13"

Retina Early 2015 13"

MacBookPro12,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 3.1 13"

Retina Early 2015 13"

MacBookPro12,1

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.2 15" (IG)

Retina Mid-2015 15"

MacBookPro11,4

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.5 15" (IG)

Retina Mid-2015 15"

MacBookPro11,4

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.8 15" (IG)

Retina Mid-2015 15"

MacBookPro11,4

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.5 15" (DG)

Retina Mid-2015 15"

MacBookPro11,5

MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.8 15" (DG)

Retina Mid-2015 15"

MacBookPro11,5

Mac mini "Core 2 Duo" 2.0

Early 2009

Macmini3,1

Mac mini "Core 2 Duo" 2.26

Early 2009

Macmini3,1

Mac mini "Core 2 Duo" 2.26

Late 2009

Macmini3,1

Mac mini "Core 2 Duo" 2.53

Late 2009

Macmini3,1

Mac mini "Core 2 Duo" 2.66

Late 2009

Macmini3,1

Mac mini "Core 2 Duo" 2.53

Late 2009

Macmini3,1

Mac mini "Core 2 Duo" 2.4

Mid-2010

Macmini4,1

Mac mini "Core 2 Duo" 2.66

Mid-2010

Macmini4,1

Mac mini "Core 2 Duo" 2.66 (Server)

Mid-2010

Macmini4,1

Mac mini "Core i5" 2.3

Mid-2011

Macmini5,1

Mac mini "Core i5" 2.5

Mid-2011

Macmini5,2

Mac mini "Core i7" 2.7

Mid-2011

Macmini5,2

Mac mini "Core i7" 2.0 (Server)

Mid-2011

Macmini5,3

Mac mini "Core i5" 2.5

Late 2012

Macmini6,1

Mac mini "Core i7" 2.3

Late 2012

Macmini6,2

Mac mini "Core i7" 2.6

Late 2012

Macmini6,2

Mac mini "Core i7" 2.3 (Server)

Late 2012

Macmini6,2

Mac mini "Core i7" 2.6 (Server)

Late 2012

Macmini6,2

Mac mini "Core i5" 1.4

Late 2014

Macmini7,1

Mac mini "Core i5" 2.6

Late 2014

Macmini7,1

Mac mini "Core i5" 2.8

Late 2014

Macmini7,1

Mac mini "Core i7" 3.0

Late 2014

Macmini7,1

Mac Pro "Quad Core" 2.8

Early 2008

MacPro3,1

Mac Pro "Eight Core" 2.8

Early 2008

MacPro3,1

Mac Pro "Eight Core" 3.0

Early 2008

MacPro3,1

Mac Pro "Eight Core" 3.2

Early 2008

MacPro3,1

Mac Pro "Quad Core" 2.66

Early 2009

MacPro4,1

Mac Pro "Quad Core" 2.93

Early 2009

MacPro4,1

Mac Pro "Quad Core" 3.33

Early 2009

MacPro4,1

Mac Pro "Eight Core" 2.26

Early 2009

MacPro4,1

Mac Pro "Eight Core" 2.66

Early 2009

MacPro4,1

Mac Pro "Eight Core" 2.93

Early 2009

MacPro4,1

Mac Pro "Quad Core" 2.8

Mid-2010

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Quad Core" 3.2

Mid-2010

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Six Core" 3.33

Mid-2010

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Eight Core" 2.4

Mid-2010

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Twelve Core" 2.66

Mid-2010

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Twelve Core" 2.93

Mid-2010

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Quad Core" 2.8

Server Mid-2010

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Quad Core" 3.2

Server Mid-2010

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Six Core" 3.33

Server Mid-2010

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Eight Core" 2.4 (Server)

Server Mid-2010

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Twelve Core" 2.66 (Server)

Server Mid-2010

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Twelve Core" 2.93 (Server)

Server Mid-2010

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Quad Core" 3.2

Mid-2012

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Six Core" 3.33

Mid-2012

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Twelve Core" 2.4

Mid-2012

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Twelve Core" 2.66

Mid-2012

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Twelve Core" 3.06

Mid-2012

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Quad Core" 3.2 (Server)

Server Mid-2012

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Six Core" 3.33 (Server)

Server Mid-2012

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Twelve Core" 2.4 (Server)

Server Mid-2012

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Twelve Core" 2.66 (Server)

Server Mid-2012

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Twelve Core" 3.06 (Server)

Server Mid-2012

MacPro5,1

Mac Pro "Quad Core" 3.7

Late 2013

MacPro6,1

Mac Pro "Six Core" 3.5

Late 2013

MacPro6,1

Mac Pro "Eight Core" 3.0

Late 2013

MacPro6,1

Mac Pro "Twelve Core" 2.7

Late 2013

MacPro6,1

Xserve Xeon Nehalem 2.26 "Quad Core"

Early 2009

Xserve3,1

Xserve Xeon Nehalem 2.26 "Eight Core"

Early 2009

Xserve3,1

Xserve Xeon Nehalem 2.66 "Eight Core"

Early 2009

Xserve3,1

Xserve Xeon Nehalem 2.93 "Eight Core"

Early 2009

Xserve3,1


If your Mac isn't listed above, and it was released before June 13, 2016, it isn't compatible with OS X El Capitan (10.11).

OS X El Capitan Features Compatibility

All of the above Macs support the operating system interface refinements as well as the updated Safari, Mail, Notes, and Spotlight applications.

However, originally based on analysis of the drivers in the Developers Release of OS X El Capitan from the well respected hacker netkas, it also seemed highly likely that the most major performance related enhancement -- support for the Metal graphics technology -- would be limited to Macs with a "NVIDIA GeForce GTX 4xx and newer, Intel HD 4000 and newer, and AMD HD 7000 and newer" graphics processor.

This analysis was correct for the final release of OS X El Capitan, as well. As a result only these Macs support Metal graphics:

Without the major performance enhancement provided by Metal, it may make less sense to upgrade earlier systems to OS X El Capitan, particularly if there are other trade-offs in terms of third-party application support or hardware compatibility that is important to you.

Support for other major features -- Handoff and Instant Hotspot, AirDrop to iOS, AirDrop Between Macs, AirPlay Mirroring, and Power Nap -- all of which were first introduced with earlier versions of OS X and carry over to OS X El Capitan also varies.

These are the earliest models that support each of these features running OS X El Capitan:

 

Metal

Handoff
Instant Hotspot

AirDrop to iOS

AirDrop (Mac-to-Mac)

AirPlay Mirroring

Power Nap

iMac

Late 2012

Late 2012

Late 2012

Early 2009

Mid-2011

Late 2012

MacBook

Early 2015

Early 2015

Early 2015

Late 2008

Early 2015

Early 2015

MacBook Air

Mid-2012

Mid-2012

Mid-2012

Late 2010

Mid-2011

Late 2010

MacBook Pro

Mid-2012

Mid-2012

Mid-2012

Late 2008

Early 2011

Mid-2012 Retina

Mac mini

Late 2012

Late 2012

Late 2012

Mid-2010

Mid-2011

Late 2012

Mac Pro

Late 2013

Late 2013

Late 2013

Early 2009

Late 2013

Late 2013

Xserve

None

None

None

None

None

None

Compatibility Summary

Ultimately, the improvements in system and graphics performance alone are welcomed by all who have Macs who can take advantage of the new technology. Some of the feature additions -- like improved Safari, Mail, Notes, and Spotlight -- should be welcomed by most users, too.


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