Lesson 1: OS X El Capitan: Frequently Asked Questions

OS X El Capitan: Frequently asked questions

In September 2015, Apple launched OS X El Capitan. We'd like to offer you a brief overview of OS X El Capitan and try to answer some questions you may have at this time.

What is OS X El Capitan?

OS X El Capitan is the newest version (version 10.11) of the desktop operating system for Apple computers. It contains several new features and improvements that will make your computer more efficient and easier to use.

How much does it cost?

Nothing—OS X El Capitan is a free upgrade.

Who can get OS X El Capitan?

Anyone with an Apple computer using Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, or Yosemite can upgrade to OS X El Capitan. The system requirements for El Capitan are the same as those for Yosemite. For a full list of hardware requirements, view the OS X Technical Specifications.

If you have an earlier version of OS X (such as Leopard), you cannot upgrade to OS X El Capitan.

How do I get OS X El Capitan?

If you buy a new Apple computer, it will come pre-installed. You won't need to do anything to install it.

If you want to upgrade an existing computer, you can download and install OS X El Capitan by going to the App Store on your Mac (shown below) and clicking Updates.

Screenshot of OS X MavericksOpening the App Store from the Dock

OS X El Capitan is only available as an online download—you cannot purchase a physical copy at a retail store.

What's new in OS X El Capitan?

Each new version of OS X generally includes several new features, and El Capitan is no exception. Some of the most important changes include:

  • Improved window management: If you like to use multiple applications at the same time, the new Split View feature allows you to quickly split two windows between the entire screen. There have also been updates to Mission Control, which will make switching between programs easier and faster.
  • Spotlight improvements: In addition to finding apps and files on your computer, Spotlight can now give you quick results from the Web about weather, sports, and a whole lot more.
  • App updates and background security: As usual, there have been a number of smaller improvements to built-in apps like Safari, Notes, and Mail. El Capitan also includes some new security features to keep your computer safer, but since these mostly run in the background, they won't affect how you use your computer on daily basis.

To learn even more about these features, check out this page from Apple.

Will my apps still be there after I upgrade?

Any apps you previously had installed on your computer will still be there once you upgrade. Some Apple apps, such as Safari and Calendar, will be updated automatically when you upgrade.

Will my apps still work after I upgrade?

Almost all apps installed on your computer should work correctly in OS X El Capitan. However, as with any new operating system some software may not be totally compatible. A simple Google search will often be enough to tell if an app will be compatible with OS X El Capitan.