iMac 2015 No Longer Supported After Ventura

Welp, it seems that my 27" iMac from late 2015 (specs below) has reached end of macOS life, as once Ventura hits, it will not be able to be updated.

So this is now forcing me to think about new desktop solutions. I am so mad at Apple for killing off the 27" iMac. I am so mad that they no longer let you add memory to your machine after purchase.

My Current 27 iMac Specs

  • 2TB Storage
  • 32GB Memory (installed after purchase)
  • I recall my current iMac (late 2015) running around $2750 or so back in 2016.
  • To get the equivalent with the current offerings (Studio Display and Mac Studio) is $4,800 (including tax) which is just a tough pill to swallow. That price is bonkers.

My questions:

  • Does anyone know of a simple unbiased place to compare the power/performance of my current iMac (late 2015) to the different Macs currently available (Mac Mini, MBP, Air, etc.). Something with simple charts/graphs using plain English?

  • I don’t know what ‘cores’ do or the benefit of 8 cores vs 10 cores. What does that mean in practical terms? Does buying one with 10 cores mean it is 25% more powerful than 8 cores?

  • I understand that the new devices are much more powerful than my current iMac but how much more? How much better will this new machine be to help me justify the extra investment?

  • How much memory do I really need to buy with one of these new machines, especially since it is impossible to upgrade post purchase? How does the Mac Mini with a maxed out 16GB of memory compare to a Mac Studio with 32GB or 64GB of memory, compare to a MBP or Air with equivalent memory?

  • Do I just budget to max out on memory on whatever I purchase?

  • I think I unfortunately need to suck it up and spend on the Studio Display as I love the 27" screen size of my current iMac and the built in camera

  • I work remotely a lot and having the built in camera into the display is important for never ending Zoom meetings. Unless there are suggestions for other quality displays w/built in cameras out there?

  • I do a lot of web development, photo/image/graphic design via Photoshop so I need a machine that can handle that as well.

Lots of questions, here are a few answers.

  • For processor performance check out

  • When it became harder to make processors faster, designers built more processors onto a single chip - cores. As long as your workload can take advantage of multiple cores you will see the speed increase. In the case of the M1 chip the low power cores handle a lot of the user interface tasks like mouse and keyboard.

  • I would recommend 16gb of memory as a minimum for most users. 8gb is ok for simple single tasks but insufficient for multitasking. Best to check out your current memory usage via Activity Monitor to see how much you will probably need.

  • I understand the desire for the 27” display but I’ve been very happy with my 24” iMac. Unless Apple decides to release a larger iMac your only options are to link either a desktop (Mini or Studio) or a laptop to the studio display or equivalent.

Purchasing decisions are always tough. How much is too much? Will X be enough? For desktops external storage can be added without much trouble. External drives on a laptop can be a pain. I would tend to lean towards more memory over disk space if budget constraints require.

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Monterey will get security updates for two more years. Generally speaking you get support for 7 years after the product is discontinued. But even then you can continue to use it until it no longer meets your needs. I still use a 2009 and 2 2012 Mac minis.

That said, I do feel your future pain and hope they do come out with a new 27" iMac. There is a real hole between the old $1900 iMac starting price and the $4000 of a Mac Studio, Studio Display, keyboard and mouse, and that’s where you have to go if you want more than 16GB of RAM. I bought the last generation 27" iMac because I also wanted an Intel processor to run Windows and Linux virtual machines. You can probably still find one on the Refurbished store if you want a few more years of support.

As to your questions.

  • ANY current Mac will outperform your iMac. My wife’s 24" M1 iMac, the low end of the M1 line, outperforms my 2020 27" i7 iMac. No charts or graphs, just side by side observation.

  • More cores only matter for programs and applications that can take advantage of them by dividing the work among them. 10 cores would be at the most 25% faster than 8 cores, but for most use no faster. Photoshop will use them, but how heavy is your processing? The most noticeable improvement would be if you were doing videos.

  • Look in Activity Monitor with your heaviest workload and see how much of that memory you are using. That will tell you if you need more than what you can get in a mini. Of course if an app is running but not actively being used it can be safely swapped out, so the figure is somewhat pessimistic. I’m using 20GB so might get by with 16GB, but would sure be happier with the (unavailable) 32GB.

  • It looks like an iPhone with iOS 16 and Ventura on the Mac will give a better video camera than the Studio Display which appears to have issues.

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I’m kind of in the same situation as you, but from what I’ve heard and read the Mac Studio is in another league than your current equipment, especially since you don’t mention needing to perform video rendering/editting.

My current thinking is a Studio Display with an appropriately-configured Mac Mini, but there is speculation about new iMac’s toward the end of the year, and I’m waiting to see how that turns out.

To the best of my knowledge, and I’m sure fellow MPU’ers will correct me if I’m wrong, Apple has not said that an iMac with a display larger than 24 inches is off the table - they just aren’t saying anything about it (which is typical for Apple).

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I’ve been trying to keep up with Howard Oakley’s articles about how cores are used on the new machines but the only thing I know for sure is “It’s complicated”. The same goes for the unified memory architecture.

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Same dilemma here, I also have a late 2015 5k 27" imac. I’m always I year behind upgrading OS so I’m only going into Monterey in the next month. It should be another two years before apps stop support for Monterey and then I’ll re-look at what I need.

With the pace of technology change I’ve come to the conclusion of replacing more often and buying base models. In terms of screen there are plenty of 5k screens out there, I even know some people who use a 5k tv as you get a larger screen for your money; which might solve your 27" problem. You might want to consider two smaller screens, one in portrait for less scrolling.

This discussion may help your decision although it’s focused on a macbook:

One thing I don’t know: can another mac use my imac 27" screen for display?

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What do you think about the M2 Pro?

(Later this year in the high end MacBook Pro’s?)

For quite a while I have been waiting for a new 27” iMac, but I might go for a Studio Display with a MacBook Pro instead.

Or wait yet another year…

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While I also really like my 27’’, I also look forward to the new concept of the separation between Mac and Monitor.
You can use your Monitor with different Generations of the Mac, you can choose from a wide variety of Monitors (diff. Resolutions, Sizes, Formats and so on).
Furthermore Apple is able to design the Mac with lesser restrictions, which is an advantage e.g. for the cooling, and overall it produces by chance a lot of fewer waste, as you can use the monitor longer, than the Mac, and don’t need a separate Monitor for running different Macs.

Oh, and if you have to turn in your Mac, you are not in Risk of damaging the Monitor… :roll_eyes:

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@jec0047 Yeah, I won’t be doing much in the way of video editing. The occasional home movie or maybe to help one of my kids with a project, but that’s it. It would not be enough to dictate what I would buy. That said, I’m of the mindset to buy as much computing power as feasible ‘today’ to future-proof yourself as tech evolves over the next several years. The logic others have noted about the display lasting longer than the computer does have some validity.

I do recall some folks quoting Apple on this site saying that an all in one 27"+ screen machine is not happening. However, I didn’t parse the words for nuances. Right now, I’m working on the assumption that the MacStudio set up is the next gen of the the 27" iMac.

@SpivR After reading all the comments and thoughtful posts here, I’m re-considering what you suggest above but less souped up.

iMac’s used to be able to do this but I think in 2014 or 2015, Apple disabled this capability. If they COULD do this, then that would solve my issue and I’d just buy a new MBP and use my 27" iMac as the display. I know there are some software solutions out there however they come with a lot of caveats that I don’t feel like dealing with.

@Ulli Agree with this approach and perspective…just have to rationalize the larger than expected up front costs. Which, after reading all these responses to my rant, I am going to re-consider :slight_smile:

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Thank you everyone for all the responses so far. Keep them coming! You have given me solace that I am not alone in this dilemma! Not sure where I’ll net out just yet, or when I will take the plunge, but will let you know.

Dude, let it go. Macs haven’t been user upgradable for years now. Give up the grudge and get on with your life! :slight_smile:

And for the record I had a 2010 Mac Pro that I kept going into Mojave with many upgrades along the way (memory, hard drives, SSDs, USB3, GPU, etc.). I bought it 2010 when it came out, and I retired that machine in December 2019. I too miss the days of user upgradable Macs (although I do not miss dealing with SCSI settings and terminators!). But those days are over. And unless folks stop buying Macs because of this, they are not coming back.

You have a lot questions. Other folks have answered some of them. One thing you should do is determine what your real needs are. I didn’t see where you stated what you use the iMac for. I’m going to make an assumption that the iMac is meeting your current needs. Based on that assumption then …

… you could continue to use the iMac. It will continue to work after Ventura is released. I mean, who knew, right? Seriously though, you will not get any of the new gee wiz features, but you haven’t gotten all of the new features from Big Sur or Monterey, as many require an Si processor. And if those features were important to you then you would have surely upgraded by now. So you could ride out the iMac until such time the applications you use no longer work with Monterey/Intel. And upgrade then. I suggest you start saving your new Mac now.

… you could buy a base level M1 Mac mini. It will easily out perform your iMac. Now it may be the case you need more memory. But again, you’ve not indicated what you use the machine for. I believe another poster mentioned using System Activity to monitor your actual usage. iStat Menus (which I use) could also be used to track usage over time. This would provide info on what your real needs are. And if my assumption above is correct, a Mini will work just fine. And while they are just rumors, the next generation Mac mini will be even more performant. So again, if the iMac is meeting your needs I suggest waiting to see what other systems are released this year.

And again for the record, I upgraded from a 2018 Mac mini (I7, 32 GB ram) to a Mac Studio (M1 Max, 64 GB ram) because of my usage profile and because I wanted to. I could have continued on with the Mini, but the performance increase was just too tempting. And it was announced in the same month as my annual bonus got paid. :slight_smile:

As to monitors … from all indications the Studio Display, other than maybe the camera, is a fine device. And as others have said, unlike the display on your iMac, it can be used with multiple generations of Macs. With my Studio I am using a 20" Apple Cinema Display, a 23" Apple Cinema Display HD, and a BenQ 27" display. The Apple displays are well into their teenage years. A bit of an extreme case, but it illustrates the point. Monitors can last a long time. And as secondary (and tertiary!) displays they work just fine for me.

So if the Studio Display is the one you want, by all mean get one. But there are other less expensive options for you to consider (I’m very happy with the BenQ). And you could look at Luna Display for using your iMac as a display for your new Mac.

To recap, the sky is not falling and you can likely continue to use your iMac for several more years. Macs are ‘appliance’ systems now, much like my 512KE was back in the day. And for the most part that is a good thing (if you want to fiddle with and tweak you machine, an Intel/Linux system is your best bet, have at it! A Raspberry Pi might be fun as well, but good luck finding one.), and there are good options should you want to replace your iMac with a much more powerful machine.

Happy deciding! And have fun with what ever you decide to get/use.


You are correct, however I’ve seen a couple of articles that documented converting an iMac to a display. Not for the faint of heart, though.

In my long post above this bit was buried toward the end:

I’m referring to something rather more intrusive, like this. I’ve seen at least one other example but I can’t find it right now.

For sure. I was just pointing out, for folks that my not have read through my novel of a post, that the Luna Display option is available as well, as a not quite as intrusive option. I probably should have made that more obvious in my reply to you. :slight_smile:

You will still receive security updates, and Monterey is a fully functional OS anyway.
Yes it’s no fun having to look at a possible replacement, but it’s not a non-functional device.

And if you are worried about updates and functionality, you can always just put Elementary OS on it, or any other linux distro and it might even be better than new!