Upgrading your college computer to macOS 12 Monterey

This article is primarily aimed at those who have received a popup message referring them to keyword macOSupgrade, but others are allowed to read it, too!

macOS 12, also known as Monterey, was released in the fall of 2021. It is our recommended operating system for new and upgraded Macs on campus. Computers using 10.15 (Catalina) or earlier will have to upgrade to 12 in summer or fall of 2022, as vendor support for Catalina will cease by the end of 2022.

The installation may take 30 minutes to an hour or more, depending on your computer. Once it has started it will mostly run on its own; in some cases, there may be a login prompt before the process can entirely complete.

Step 1: Prep

As always, before you perform major maintenance on your computer, make sure your files are backed up. These upgrades should not damage or remove any files, but it's wise to check that your backups are running before making any major changes.

  • Any files stored in Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive should already be covered (log into the web portal of the service you use to verify that the sync has been working).
  • Most office computers have Code42 (formerly CrashPlan) installed. Open the program via the squarish C icon in the upper right of your screen or find it via Spotlight Search or in your Applications folder. Verify that the checkmark is green and there's a "next backup" scheduled soon.
  • If you're not sure your files are backed up properly, stop here and contact T&I for assistance before you continue.

Step 2: macOS Upgrade

The OS upgrade will take a while (at least an hour is not uncommon) so we recommend starting this right before you leave for lunch or the evening.

You may install Monterey manually if the installer is already in your Applications folder, or you can use Self Service:

  1. Save all work and close all programs.
  2. Launch the Self Service app via the Applications folder or Spotlight search, or by clicking "Do It Now" in the popup notification that brought you here.
  3. In the Featured section, you should see an entry to Upgrade to macOS 12 Monterey.
  4. Choose to Install and follow the instructions on-screen. If it is not already downloaded, your computer will spend a few minutes acquiring the installer, then proceed to prepare the installation before rebooting to perform the main work. Once the download begins, you can leave it to run on its own.
  5. During the installation, there may be a time when the computer appears to be completely off. Do Not hit the power button to turn it on again; it is actually busy upgrading its firmware, and interrupting it can cause serious send-it-to-Apple-for-repairs complications. It will come back to life and start doing visible work again in a few minutes.
  6. In some cases, there may be another 10-15 minutes of installing to do after you log in again, before the computer is ready to use, so please plan accordingly.


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