How to upgrade as little as possible the Macbook and using it to connect Apple services and iPhone with new iOS for as many years as possible.


Dec 30, 2018
What is the best computer surrounding a new iPhone for an old man.

Let me explain.

I have a friend who is nearly 90 who was an Apple fan, who owned may Apples ( :) ) but last one is a Macbook 2007 who still runs OSX 10.7.4. He didn't update since then.
He also uses for work a Window 7 desktop PC. The UI is rather close to that of MacOS contrary to Windows 10/11.
Frankly I showed him a Windows 10 PC and he told me he doesn't understand how to use it and that it was horrible experience.
Eventually I could put Windows 7 with Bootcamp on his very old Macbook but that would be a limited 32 bits system. Not an option either.
He owns with family plenty from old to recent iPads and him and his with a iphone. His is the latter series. He uses his iPhone for everything and the Ipad too. He watches everything on Apple TV. However he needs his computer but his old Mac is kind of deprecated. His Firefox version is beginning to be incompatible with some web sites. Safari is also super-old and the worst thing is that he cannot pair his iPhone with his old OS.
He wants to update his kind of Macbook computer with a new one, much better, but doesn't want a Macbook that costs a lot. He wants a basic PC and Windows 7, for cheap like what would be in dollars $400/500 or 400/500€ not more.
I told him that this is quite impossible on a new PC to have W7 and I am not sure iTunes will stay compatible with Windows 7 for long if it is still is.
Only solution would be a refurbished Macbook or something alike.

Now there are 4 solutions I can see :
- an old, as new, Macbook Pro 2012 that I would upgrage for him with a news 1GB SSD and 16GB DDR3. I own one of that kind for 10 years. It's still great.
As far as it goes, I believe Apple will support for a long time new iPhone OSes on MacOS 10.15 Catilina which runs on a Macbook mid-2012 as the last option. I believe for about another 5 years, like the nomber of updates for an Iphone 13. Also even if Safari doesn't get any new upgrade, I believe Firefox will.
- a Macook Air 2018, the cheapest possible healthy one with Ventura support, which is around $500, but with much lower specs, like only 8GB RAM and 250GB SSD, which is bad...
- a Macbook Pro 2017 (same as Air 2018).
Also recent Macbooks like those from 2014 up until now have current keyboard failure which on the 2012 is ultra-rare. Another good point for the Macbook pro 2012. Also the Macbook Pro 2012, especially the 13'', have been sold many years after 2012.
- a Macbook M : they are only supported from 2017 on supported on Ventura, and they are expensive for what they are and with the little support they will get further. And same keyboard failure as x86 Macbook.

In fact I don't own a iPhone nor an iPad and I don't know about their support and for how long and Windows and which OS and which MacOS for how long. How difficult is to use a deprecated Macbook to connect to an Iphone, retrieve photos and movies and documents from email for instance, and sync to iTunes or what is called now for movies, series and music. And how many years Apple uses to be support on an old MacOs only on the service side (which seems much longer than the OS itself even on the security updates part only). For instance, I believe that today an Iphone 13 with iOS 15 can sync to a computer with MacOS 10.11 El Capitan which is 7 years old, as I read.
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Supreme [H]ardness
Sep 24, 2001
The short version just comes down to what kind of support this guy wants in the future, both near and far. Stuff considered Vintage is still on 'extended support' and everything Obsolete is of course not updated at all:

If you want to continue receiving updates for really any period of time, you shouldn't buy an Apple device on either of those lists. Even though Vintage is still technically supported, it's a short jump to Obsolete. Usually within 2 years at the most. iOS devices tend to be supported for 5+ years. Some as much as 7. The iPhone 6S as an example is still on the Vintage list and it came out in 2015.

As far as getting images and/or doing backups off of iOS devices, there is no limitation there in terms of newness of machine. In fact as you're discussing and discovering, the newer the better. It also maybe worth it for this guy to spend $12 a year to pay for 50GB of iCloud space and have it all automatically backed up to the Cloud. Including device backups and photos, mail, whatever.

EDIT: hard to say what I'd do in his position. I'd personally want to stretch to buy an M1 machine. I'm seeing base level Macbook Air 2020's sell for around $650 when I did a search in the Seattle area. If he's really not doing anything that requires ports, or heavy lifting (gaming, video editing, whatever) it's a pretty solid buy. Not upgrade-able at all though, so he'd be stuck at 256GB HD and 8GB of RAM for the life of the machine. That's not a problem for someone only doing light computing duties - the M1 has a lot of specialized accelerators. On all basic computing tasks it flies and will continue to fly for some time. Jumping to 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM is a really significant jump in price.
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Limp Gawd
Jun 15, 2017
This is arguably one of the coolest threads I've seen in a good while. And while I have no suggestions, I wish you the best of luck.


Aug 27, 2010
You can get an m1 mac mini for $750 and probably be good until he is in the triple digits.