How to update a 2009 Macbook Pro with OS X 10.6.8 installed

Recently a client asked me whether I could help him to make his Macbook Pro “work again”. His browser no longer connected to websites and everything was “slow”.

Turns out he never installed any updates. So when on February 14th 2016 some Apple certificates expired, he no longer could surf the Internet. But he could use Email and some local apps, so he postponed to fix it.

And now he wanted me to take care of it. (yeayyy …)

It is a Macbook Pro, Mid 2009 15” with OS X 10.6.8 on it. The latest working OS for this machine is OS X 10.11 El Capitan.

The problem was that 10.6.8 has no App Store software and one would need to download El Capitan from a itunes website link. But as some Apple certificates had expired, Safari refuses to connect.

So I download the El Capitan Installer by using another Mac with a newer OS installed. In App Store I go to Purchased, scroll down the list and download the El Capitan installer. Once downloaded, I copy it from the Applications folder out to a USB disk.

Then I copy the installer app over to the old Macbook Pro. But here, it won’t run the installer, but come up with an error like “This copy of the Install OS X El Capitan application can’t be verified”. This is also because the Apple certificates had expired.

So now have to set an older date in terminal:

sudo date 0201010116

Now, I can launch the installer and update to the newest possible OS X version which allows my customer to surf the Internet again, without having to buy a new Mac. And at that occasion we bought an Upgrade kit from iFixit to add more RAM and an SSD.

Now the old 2009 Macbook Pro flies again.

So, if you don’t install updates, you may suddenly be blocked by expiring certificates.

If you have kept all main OS X version installers, you could have updated version by version. That’s how I did it from 10.5 recently up to 10.11 (also for a MacBook Pro 2009).

Actually, I had saved a OS X Lion Installer (my client had not), but this installer did not run, because of the expired certificates. I then used the date/terminal trick to install Lion, and then upgraded directly to El Capitan. I did not have to update version-by-version. Don’t know if the intermediate install to Lion even was necessary.

Perhaps creating a bootable USB installation drive

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201372

This one also :slight_smile:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204904

you could go to system preferences to change the date, no need for terminal !
and by the way, 10.6.8 HAS the appstore program in it, but it may be also the certifications that expired.

Probably create an usb device holding the installer with DiskMaker X as well.