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High Sierra is almost among us. According to Apple, this update should make “your Mac more reliable, capable and responsive — and lay the foundation of future innovations.” That may be true but in the mean time we want to be sure our clients are informed. Here are a few things you should consider as you decide to upgrade to macOS 10.13.

Back up your server

For the love of all that is bits and codey, be sure to back up your Mac before performing the upgrade. That should be the first step before all upgrades, but especially this one since it may introduce a new file system for your machine. (More on that below.)

The ideal backup is a full, bootable copy with software like SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner. You can request that a hard drive be attached to your machine via the MacStadium admin portal and then clone to that drive.

If you decide to not take that route, you can backup to a disk image on your server and then download it with a file transfer application like Transmit.

Whatever route you take, be sure to make a backup of your most important data.

New file system

High Sierra may introduce a new file system to your Mac. If your machine has an SSD drive, it will be upgraded automatically. The good news is that APFS should bring some powerful new features over time. That being said, you should definitely take the time to get familiar with the change. For instance, “volumes formatted as APFS can’t offer share points over the network using AFP.” If you access your machine that way, you may need to look at other options. Take the time to prepare for APFS in macOS High Sierra.

Also: back up.

The upgrade process 

Upgrading your Mac remotely is done the same way as you do at home: download the software update via the Mac App Store and run the upgrade process.

When you perform the upgrade, you may lose access to your machine for up to 45 minutes. It’s important not to restart your machine during this time. If an hour passes and you still see no response, you might open a ticket with our support team and have them take a look.

If possible, keep your Screen Sharing window open during the whole upgrade. The software should reconnect and, if needed, prompt you for any further interaction.

A clean install option

If you plan to use High Sierra as an opportunity to start over with your server setup, we can help.

First, back up. (Do I sound like a broken record? Broken records are better than broken servers.)

Once you have your data safe, you can contact our support team and request a “clean install” of High Sierra. This will erase all your data on the server and, once complete, will provide you with a new login to a brand new operating system.

Give it some time

With the official release of High Sierra on 25 September, our engineers can do final testing of the operating system in a hosted environment. As we become comfortable with it’s stability, we’ll make it our default install for new clients. When this happens, we’ll be sure to provide the update on Twitter.

If your server is providing business critical services, you might wait for the confirmation from our engineers. (You might even wait for the first point release. Assumedly, a 10.13.1 release would have most of the bugs worked out. This is usually the case.)

Conclusion

With some of the changes in High Sierra, you might find your server performing even better than it had worked before. There are some powerful new technologies being introduced. As we become more familiar with them, we’ll highlight them here and in our MacStadium community.

Happy upgrading. And even happier if there is a backup in place.

Back up.