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Support for Macintosh Operating Systems

Information Technology Services currently provides support for Macintosh operating systems (Mac OS X) versions 10.6 and higher. If you are running a computer with a version of the Macintosh operating system prior to version 10.6, contact the IT Service Desk at 646-2999 or your department's IT support office to determine if your computer can be upgraded to a supported version. To find out what hardware and software is supported by Computing Services, see Supported Hardware and Supported Software.


For the past several years Mac OS X has been the operating system that ships on all Macintosh computers purchased from Apple Computer. It is a UNIX-based system that provides improved stability for your computer. Note: New Apple computers no longer start up in any operating system prior to Mac OS X.

Mac OS X is very different from earlier versions of the Mac operating system. Most software applications, as well as the software needed to run peripherals such as printers, zip drives, and external drives, have been updated by the vendor of that software in order to be compatible with Mac OS X computers. Please contact the IT Service Desk (Help Desk) at 646-2999 or your department's IT support office before upgrading to the latest operating system to ensure applications or devices you rely on will work with the upgraded operating system.

In addition, the IT Service Desk or your department's IT support office can tell you about other software that is available for the Macintosh operating system. For example, Dartmouth has an agreement with Microsoft that allows Dartmouth faculty, staff, and students to purchase some Microsoft products at a significantly reduced price. This includes software that Microsoft has developed for the Macintosh. If you are interested in obtaining the Microsoft Office suite of software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) for your Macintosh computer, please contact The Computer Store at 646-3249 for pricing information.

Apple Computer is constantly updating their operating systems. We do not recommend upgrading to the latest version as soon as it is released, as there may be programs or peripherals you require that do not run correctly with the new version. Usually, waiting a few months gives third-party software vendors a chance to update their products.

OS 10.9 Mavericks

The most recent release of the Macintosh operating system is version 10.9 (Mavericks). This was released in October 2013 and we have not yet tested most Dartmouth software with it. Computing Services does not get pre-release versions of new OSes from Apple.

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Intel Core Duo Processor and Windows on Macs

In January 2006, Apple began shipping computers that have the new Intel Core Duo processor. The SideCar software does not work on these new computers. The recommended authentication method is to use a PKI Secure Certificate, which is used to identify you to systems on the Dartmouth network. For more information on using PKI certificates, see Public key infrastructure (PKI) certificates (MacWindows). If you have questions on getting or using a PKI certificate, contact your department's IT support office.

As part of versions 10.5 and 10.6, Apple released Boot Camp, which allows you to install and boot into Windows 7 on new Macintosh computers that have the Intel Core Duo processor. Two alternatives to Boot Camp are virtual machine applications. One is called Parallels, the second is VMWare Fusion. Both Parallels and VMWare allow you to run Windows from the Macintosh desktop. When using Boot Camp, you must close down the Macintosh desktop and boot into Windows; Parallels and VMWare Fusion allow you to switch to Windows with the press of a key. Both Parallels and VMWare Fusion can be purchased through The Computer Store. For pricing information, please contact them at 646-3249.

If you have questions about purchasing one of these computers or questions about updating your current operating system, contact the IT Service Desk(Help Desk) at 646-2999, send e-mail to, or call your department's IT support office.

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Last Updated: 10/21/14