That’s not a typo, Despite the excitement and fervor to rush out and upgrade to the newest cat in Apple’s litter, there are actually good reasons not to upgrade to Leopard right away. Here are five to consider.

Number One: First Isn’t Always Best
Technology always needs early adopters, brave souls living on the bleeding edge trying each new electronic gadget or software program because they are driven to be the first. They are the ones who take the punches, suffer the glitches, crashes, and report the bugs that are inevitable with new technology and software, and many times provide workarounds and fixes. More cautious Mac users should follow the basic tech rule, “Never buy version one of anything.” Some may argue Leopard is just the evolution of the current Mac OS, and while it’s Officially Mac OS X 10.5, it’s still version one of Leopard. Wait a few weeks after Leopard’s release into the wild to see what problems, gotchas, and solutions the first adopters discover. This makes transitioning from Tiger to Leopard smoother and less painless. Places to check to see what is going on with Leopard include Apple’s support site for Mac OS X ( where there will be technotes regarding problems and solutions, and forums where other users discuss their experiences; our own MacCast, as well as ( and Macintouch (

Number Two: Are you Mac Enough?
Apple has significantly raised the bar for which Macs can have Leopard intalled. If your Mac doesn’t meet the new system requirements for running Leopard It’s necessary to either upgrade your existing Mac or purchase a new one. Really the only Mac upgrades for Leopard compatibility are add RAM or hard disk space. Many Macs with third party processor upgrades may still not allow Leopard to be installed, so check with the manufacturer about Leopard compatibility. If buying a new Mac, Leopard will be included in one of three ways depending on when the new Mac was purchased. Leopard is either pre-installed on the hard drive, included as an installation disk in the box, or available through Apple’s up-to-date program (, which entitles those who purchased a new Mac in October before Leopard’s release to get a free copy (although there is a $9.95 shipping and handling charge).

Number Three: Critical Software Used is not Leopard Compatible.
Current programs, drivers and System Preferences installed on your Mac may not all be Leopard compatible. Adobe and Filemaker have already made announcements regarding compatibility issues with their software running on Leopard. Definitely wait to upgrade to Leopard until the software that you need to use is compatible. Check with developers to find out when a patches or upgrades to provide Leopard compatibility will be available. Also check Versiontracker ( for Leopard compatible software updates. It’s also best to upgrade your software before upgrading Leopard, especially software that installs kernel extensions or System Preferences.
Mac users still using Classic Mac OS programs should note that Leopard cannot run Classic at all, so it will be necessary to finally migrate to Mac OS X native versions of any Classic programs being used before upgrading to Leopard.

Number Four: Critical Hardware Used is not Leopard Compatible.
Just as in number three above, third party hardware, video cards, hard drive controllers or other expansion cards, printers, scanners, etc. may not work fully or at all under Leopard. This is currently a problem for users of high end video cards from BlackMagic Design and AJA, who cater primarily to the digital video industry. Definitely check with the manufacturer of any third party hardware that is installed to verify both driver and firmware compatibility with Leopard.

Number Five: Never Upgrade Software (including operating systems) in the Middle of a Project.
In the middle of a critical project? Wait until the project is complete before upgrading to Leopard. Upgrading could introduce problems that can slow or stop the work that is currently being done while you (or the IT department) have to troubleshoot the issues. It could be something as simple as a function or service that has been moved in Mac OS or as complex as dangerous hardware/software interactions, but always stick with the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Bonus Reason: Wait to Upgrade until Your Data is Backed Up.
It goes without saying, but never perform a major upgrade of software or hardware without first making a back up of all your important data.

For those of you who can’t wait to upgrade to Leopard, but still want to have a better experience doing it, check out Adam Engst’s Take Control eBook site for “Take Control of Upgrading to Leopard” ($10,

Treat this new Mac OS X more like a real Leopard and it won’t bite you.

There are 4 comments on Upgrading to Mac OS X 10.5, Leopard: Five Reasons to Wait:

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  1. Mark S | Oct 29 2007 - 10:06

    My upgrade went quite well. Everything seems to be working as expected (except Dashboard crashed on me once). This definitely is a drastically new OS version. There are some little things that I dislike (removal of Music, Pictures, etc from the sidebar, the sidebar icons being really tiny, the light in front of open apps in the Dock not being quite noticeable enough, etc.), but all in all I am quite happy with Leopard. I just got done installing it on my second machine tonight (I was going to give it a week to see how things went initially).

    I’m always extremely cautious on any new OS. I’ve learned that it’s a really good idea to wipe your HD before installing the OS after backing up everything. Generally my upgrades have gone smoothly in the past, but It’s not a bad idea to just have a clean system even if you don’t foresee any problems. Previous OS versions just leave a bunch of files behind that the new OS has no idea what to do with. Sometimes files can be left behind that can cause conflicts if you just do the default “upgrade” install. The “archive and install” option works pretty well If you don’t want to take the extra time to wipe out everything. Also, be sure to check if the apps you use day-to-day are already Leopard compatible. Some of mine did not explicitly state being so anywhere but run flawlessly under Leopard anyway.

  2. Lawerance Oak | Oct 30 2007 - 07:33

    I too have upgraded and I have yet to have any problems. Just did a straight upgrade over my existing OS which was Tiger. I haven’t noticed anything major with the OS. I should note I am just installing this on my laptop which is used for more common things verses my G5.

    If anything I have noticed I have just noticed application problems verses OS. I will be running the bigger test this weekend when I use the Adobe Creative Suit in full action.

  3. Stephen Goodenough | Nov 05 2007 - 11:43

    I attempted an Archive and Install on my iMac this last weekend, which was rather disappointing to say the least. I’d done a cloned back up and also tried to make sure I’d removed any APE or similar hacks. The A & I took about 2 hours after which the system appeared to be working, but …

    Performance was terrible (even after Spotlight had finished indexing). .Mac sync wasn’t working (although it works fine on my other 10.4 machines and on the iMac prior to updating) and I was getting “PubSubAgent has quite unexpectedly” errors every few minutes. Despite spending some hours trying, I couldn’t get the iMac to find my network printer (attached to a small Linux box running CUPS) although in my previous Tiger system it “all just worked”. After 3 days struggling I reverted to my backup. A shame because I liked QuickLook and was eager to try the new codes in IChat which I use every day when I’m away from home. I can’t see me trying again until Christmas when I’ll have a few days to try and make sure that all the problems get resolved.

  4. Elizabeth | Jan 16 2008 - 06:47

    My new Mac OS X version 10.5. I am having trouble. Lost my main computer network. When I proceed to correct I am asked to enter my administrator name and pasword. I am set up as a standard account and won’t recognize my name and password. Please help.