Replace or keep using 2010 Mac Mini?

The OS of my trusty 2010 Mac Mini cannot be upgraded, but it still works for me after various hard drive and RAM upgrades over the years. These days, I’m mostly using it for email (no issues of course), websurfing, Fujitsu Scansnap to Dropbox, and Excel and Word (2011 versions). My two other Macs, a 2012 MacBook Pro and a 2014 Mini can both run Mojave.

Should I bite the bullet and buy a new Mac? Should I use this Mac Mini until it dies? Or donate/sell the old Mini (or keep as a entertainment server) and use the Macbook Pro until it can no longer be upgraded?

Incidentally, the reason I have 2 Mac Minis is that I live in the US and Mexico, and keep keyboards, mice and big monitors in my homes in both countries. All I carry back and forth annually is the Minis. Much cheaper than two laptops. The Macbook Pro was for traveling, but now when I travel, my iPad Pro (or even my iPhone) is all I need.

I’m probably in a different boat than most MPU subscribers. I’m retired, live much of the year in Mexico, and teach computing and photography to teenagers in rural schools (see So I’m using my computer a lot less than the rest of you.

BTW, there is a Mac Group in my town in the mountains of central Mexico (San Miguel de Allende). We have monthly programs, and if any of you are visiting, feel free to contact me for information.

1 Like

If you teach photography I assume some part of that is post-processing, yes? How are you getting along with typical current software on hardware that old?

If it’s doing everything you want, and you do backups, I would keep running it.
If you buy new, you’ll get Catalina, which will mean using something like VueScan to interface with your scanner. Any other software or drivers that are 32-bit won’t run anymore, etc.

If it’s doing the job, don’t replace it! I’ve got 2 2009 and 2 2012 minis doing various server functions and see no reason to replace them and plenty of reasons not to! If you haven’t already, replace the HDD with a SSD and max out the memory for a new lease on life. These things seem to run forever.

1 Like

My main machine is a:

2009 iMac
16 GB ram
2 Tb SSD

Have a 2010 Mac min being used as a Plex Server.

1 Like

I retired about 18 months ago and we still had about 70 2009 iMacs in use at that time. Those employees used Safari, Mail, and and an IBM telnet application (i.e green screen terminal emulator).

Personally, as long as it’s doing what you need and still getting security updates I’d keep using it.

1 Like

2010 Mac mini should be able to run High Sierra, so that’s still supported. I’d expect support to be dropped with the next release of macOS, however.

Agree with what others have said: if it works, no reason to stop using it.

1 Like

It’s going to be hard for me to get rid of my '09 iMac simply because of the 2TB SSD that I have in there.

1 Like

They’ve gotten progressively cheaper, and faster. For several days Amazon had the 2Tb Samsung external T5 SSD for $249 (sold out right now), and B&H has it right now for $247.99

Mine is actually an internal 2TB SSD. You can’t even get a 2TB SSD on the highest end 21.5" iMac configuration right now. See below:

And yes, I know I can purchase the smallest size and then have one installed later right? But I’d have to pay to have someone install it because I can’t do it myself.

I understood. I’m saying that an external is inherently faster than an old SSD in an old machine (though not if you have old, slow hardware ports), and it’s cheaper (and more convenient to use for other purposes and machines), and cheaper too.

I have been using a 2006 Mac Pro running El Cap and it works great for everything I need it to do. But, I live in AZ and it is definitely unpleasant to use in the summer. Also have the 2010 Mac Mini (Server variant). Again, works for me but. since I haven’t had a new Mac in nine years, I decided to buy a 27" iMac and love it. One of the best things about Mac is that if you wanted (or needed to) you can keep them around, plugging away for as long as you want. There is nothing like a new Mac though , IMHO.

1 Like

Got one of these, though I was disappointed to see that Bombich has Samsung T5 on his list of not-recommended drives for external booting:

There’s a workaround where you format the T5 as HFS+, instead of APFS, but then, if you have a T2-based Mac, you cannot boot from an encrypted HFS+ volume.

The problem may be a firmware one, and AFAIK Samsung only does Windows-based firmware-updating programs.

Interesting. Thanks for that. Same for ‘SanDisk flash drives’ too, unfortunately, and SanDisk has their 2Tb SSD on sale (Amazon, B&H, Adorama) for $199 right now. :frowning:

Thanks for all your good advice. Bottom line. I’ll keep using the old Mac Mini until it dies. My MacBook Pro, other Mac Mini and iPad Pro will do the job at that point. And who knows what comes next from Apple?