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I have a simple question that I seem to be having a hard time getting a straight-up answer for. What is Apple's support policy for Mac OS X client versions? When do they drop support? For example, is 10.0 still supported?

A colleague has called Apple twice, and both times didn't seem to get a real answer despite being shunted to many different people. At one point he was told "we support all versions forever," at which point he asked, "so if I have System 7 on an old 68K machine, you'll still give me full support on it, patches, etc.?" he was told "yes", which is somewhat beyond reailty.

Our guess is that it's pretty much current version only. We're asking because we are an ISV (web-based application) and we're trying to decide what Mac OS versions we can drop support on. On the Microsoft side we follow their mainstream lifecycle (so for example Windows 2000 clients with IE 5.01 are no longer supported). We don't have the luxury of saying "just get the latest and greatest" as the customers are not in a situation to always update immediately, but we can use the OS vendor as a guide.

The Apple web site seems to suggest that 10.2+ is supported at the moment, although even that is not really clear.

Can anyone point me at a definitive source? Ideally we'd like to see something like http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?LN=en-us&x=19&y=9 or even better something like http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifeselectindex.

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See below, but you may consider posting this on Stack Overflow –  gWaldo Aug 25 '10 at 16:20

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

As far as development and patching, it is the current version (10.6 "Snow Leopard") and 1 previous (10.5 "Leopard").

That is a safe assumption for development and supporting internal applications. Few independant developers support Tiger unless they happen to not use Leopard-only or Snow Leopard-only APIs, but even then, they often drop the testing support with statements like "it should work on Tiger, but I don't test on that or support it."

-Waldo

EDIT: Short answer: it's not spelled out explicitly.

Long answer is some reading: http://www.info.apple.com/usen/legacy/ and http://www.apple.com/support/service/

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Thanks for your answer. OK, if there's no explicit spelling out, then perhaps this is the best we can get. I'm going to mark as the answer, although of course if someone can point out it being spelled out somewhere, that would be great. –  MikeBaz Aug 25 '10 at 20:58

From Apple's support site, http://www.apple.com/support/osfamily/ seems to indicate that OS X 10.2 is still supported. See http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2241?viewlocale=en_US for the 10.2 updates matrix.

However, the last update for 10.2 was released 6 years ago, which implies to me that there would be very few people still running it (the hardware would also have to be >=6 years old).

For your services, though, look at your incoming logs to see what OSes folks are running. If you're seeing single-digit percentages (or smaller) for certain platforms, consider stopping active support for them (ie, if some update breaks an old computer, well - it's old!).

Personally, I would expect that anyone running on PPC hardware (which has been discontinued for a few years now) would be running what was the latest and greatest edition of OS X (10.4 or 10.5).

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