Today Apple announced the release OS X Yosemite, a major upgrade to its operating system. While Apple is better at communicating with consumers than with small businesses, millions of small businesses use tens of millions of Macs and hundreds of millions of other Apple devices. For them, any new OS X upgrade decision is also a business decision.

Here are some considerations and tips about OS X upgrades in general, and Yosemite in particular.

What does “wait” mean?

Wait can mean months for some of the reasons below. However, for savvy users and those comfortable, familiar and experienced, “wait” means long enough to see at least one security or minor feature update or patch.

More employees mean more reasons to hold off on upgrading

If you are what the U.S. government calls a “no-employee” business (and the rest of us call self-employed, freelancer, etc.), the decision to upgrade is limited only to your comfort level with technology. The more employees you have who work together, the greater your need will be to take into  consideration all sorts of issues regarding versioning of software and hardware. While different versions of OS X in an office can support most software, there are times when even Apple software (say, Keynote) will cause headaches if you are running multiple OS X versions or hardware. An older machine may not support the version of Keynote that works on Yosemite, for example.

Don’t upgrade for a single killer feature

Yosemite has lots of features that users will love and should be eager to try out. (Best example: “Continuity”) However, if your Mac is a business tool, you should not upgrade for “cool” reasons (even Continuity), but for business reasons. If the upgrade feature makes you more efficient and productive — and you can articulate why and how — updating soon is a great idea.

If you can, wait a little bit

Yosemite has been available to developers and others since the summer. At least a million users (mostly, power users) have tested it intensely, many in order to make sure their applications work well on it. Nevertheless, there are always glitches that show up in the early days of a general release of an OS X upgrade.


If you are a business user of Macs and you don’t already have some type of backup system in place, don’t even think about upgrading. Spend your time putting in place a backup system. If you have a backup system in place and know how it works, you are savvy enough to know whether or not backing up is an issue. In other words, if you have to ask, the answer is: “Don’t upgrade.”

Security issues related to the blurred lines of personal/business use

Small businesses often allow employees to use their company owned Macs (and mobile devices) for personal use, also. Because there are security issues that are introduced with the Yosemite upgrade. According to major security tech security companies like Symantec, many small businesses move to Macs from PCs looking for less complicated devices. However, they warn: Don’t confuse general ease of use with not having to worry about having to keep up to date with security issues.

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