How to get OS X Yosemite on your Apple computer

At the big press event yesterday where Apple unveiled its refreshed iPads, the company also unleashed the latest version of OS X.

Yosemite brings a number of changes to the Mac's operating system, the most obvious of which is a fresh new look, a "flat" appearance similar to what Apple introduced with iOS 7, with everything looking clean and crisp. Indeed, the theme of tying more closely in with iOS is certainly one that's repeated throughout OS X 10.10, and there are features which integrate the desktop and mobile operating systems more tightly.

Related: Apple iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 and iMac Retina 5K unveiled at busy event

Anyhow, the really good news is Yosemite is free, and you can grab it for your Mac now. In fact, by waiting until today, rather than jumping on the download immediately last night, you might have saved yourself some frustration – as downloading was a pretty sluggish affair off the bat, with everyone and their dog trying to grab the new OS.

So how do you download OS X Yosemite? By following these simple steps...

Compatibility

First of all, check that your Mac is compatible with Yosemite. Apple advises that the following machines are good to go:

  • iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminium, or Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)

If you're not sure, you can find out what model Mac you have by clicking the Apple icon at the top left of your screen, then select About This Mac, and finally click More Info.

Also, you can check the version of OS X you're running on this same screen. You can upgrade to Yosemite from:

  • OS X Snow Leopard (v10.6.8)
  • OS X Lion (v10.7)
  • OS X Mountain Lion (v10.8)
  • OS X Mavericks (v10.9)

If you're running an earlier pre-10.6.8 version of Snow Leopard, update to the latest version before you install Yosemite (via the Apple icon, then click Software Update). If you're still on Leopard, you'll need to purchase the upgrade to Snow Leopard first – it costs £14 and you can grab it here.

As a final point on compatibility, it's worth noting that you'll need an Apple ID to install Yosemite.

Backup

Before you perform any major software upgrade, it's always a good idea to back up your files in case anything goes wrong. At the very least back up all your very important files and data.

Download and install

With everything checked and backed up, you can now download the new OS from the Mac App Store. Head to the store here, and click to download – you'll then be given on-screen instructions.

Bear in mind that this is a 5GB download, so it will take some time – and download speeds may well still be a bit sluggish this morning. With this being a free upgrade, there's been a fair old stampede to grab it pronto.

The installer will launch itself after the download is finished, and again, it's a matter of following the instructions on-screen, and agreeing to all the usual terms and conditions.

Then you'll be in the bold new world of Yosemite – share your thoughts on the OS below in the comment section, if you feel the need, or indeed check out our live chat feature (the chat bubble, bottom left of the site).