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Fresh Install or Upgrade to macOS Catalina?

Do you upgrade or start fresh when you install macOS Catalina?

We often get asked, which is better. Fresh Install or upgrade macOS Catalina.

Fresh install or upgrade? Fresh install means you lose all your data. An upgrade means you keep your apps, settings and data.

So you have decided to Upgrade to macOS Catalina. You are installing a major operating system software update.

Well, you have two choices in front of you. You can either start from scratch with a fresh install of macOS Catalina.

Or you can Upgrade? Meaning you won’t have any of your settings or Data on your Apple Macbook or iMac.

But your Apple device. if you decide to start fresh. Will run and feel like you’ve purchased a brand new Apple device and your starting it up for the first time.

Or. if you do an upgrade of your current version of macOS? Pushing your Apple iMac or MacBook to macOS Catalina.

You will be! Keeping all your current settings and data. Allowing you to continue working as usual with all the apps, programs, and environments that work for you.

Deciding which step to take can be a difficult choice.

But it’s entirely up to you. There are benefits to both choices. No matter. Which path you decide to choose. 

Install-macOS-Catalina
Install macOS Catalina

Why a clean install/ Fresh of macOS Catalina might be good for you?

Think of it like this. You’ve moved into a new house or apartment. There are new carpets throughout the new home and the smell of fresh paint in the air.

So now all you have to do is decide. Where do I put all my belongings and furniture? You’re making your new home yours and bringing the comfortable feel of your old home with you.

But you also have the choice to start again and get all new furniture.

If you decide to do a fresh/clean install of macOS Catalina.
Your getting rid of all that old unwanted bloat.
“Were there some apps you couldn’t uninstall?, Or never got round to deleting? Or loads of downloads you’ve meant to remove.”

All these things would go in one swoop click of your mighty mouse or trackpad.

Well. I might be wrong; your data won’t go in a fashion.

Why might I not lose all my data?

These days we have cloud services. Dropbox, google drive, sync.com and many more.

But make sure you, do not forget Apple’s own default cloud storage iCloud.
Apple encourages most mac users to have iCloud active.
So if you have one of these cloud services and you’ve kept it backing up regular. Then your files and documents should be easy enough to track down.

If you’ve been using Apple iCloud, any pre-purchased apps will be soo easy to redownload and get back! At your choice, of course.

These days, software or apps. If you haven’t got them from the app store, these other programs like Microsoft office mac etc. have online logins for redownloads. Sign in and obtain.

Programs like Avast, Malwarebytes, etc., will have licence codes sent to your email inbox. Helping you get these paid programs back from the grave. It’s not like the old days when you needed cd’s and DVD or dmg’s save to a USB pen or hard drive.

If you finally decide to do a clean install. Make sure you have;

  • Lots of patience
  • Extra free time.
  • Know all your passwords
  • Make sure you have backed up what you want to keep

Let’s hope you know all your passwords. Or have them written down somewhere so you can get back into your email. Or even sign back into icloud if you manage to get back into icloud without a problem.

At least all your notes and pictures in macOS photo’s will still be there. And come to think about it. icloud saves your passwords in the keychain if you have forgotten some of your passwords.

DONT forget to Remember when you do a clean/fresh install. You are starting your iMac or MacBook from scratch.

It always feels good to have a fresh start. Like when you were back at school at the beginning of the year with beautiful new books. BUT remember this option can be chaotic. But worth it for that clean sheet.

As mentioned, a clean install also means you lose everything. Like I said there are perks to moving into a new home.

Have you ever moved hope then realised you’ve lost something? Did you try to figure out where it’s gone? But it never turns up.  Iv had this experience when wiping my Apple iMac.


After I deleted everything, I then realised I had some favourite photos that I hadn’t saved or uploaded to Apple photos, and I had no backups.  I had lost them for good.

That’s one of the reasons upgrading to macOS Catalina. Might be the option for you.

setting-up-catalina-macos-apple-problems
"Setting up your mac" MacOS Catalina

If the upgrade option is right for you?

Keeping all those adjustments and tweaks you’ve made over the years. So if you decide to fresh install your Apple device, these will all be gone.  That’s why upgrading might be the best choice for you.

When you download and install macOS Catalina, then upgrade. You’re not starting from scratch.

You keep your apps, settings, files, and documents will be in the same spot that they were before.  Your icloud will be signed in. So will all those websites you regularly use.

Apps and you won’t have to redownload. You will have pictures in your photo app. Plus all your passwords will be saved as they were before.

If your Upgrading. Is much faster to go from installation. Your Apple iMac or MacBook will be ready to go. Then you to get productive again.  With your apps and files are right where you left them.

It’s like turning the light out in your bedroom. Then you need to find something. You know where everything is without thinking about it.

Don’t have time to spare.

If you don’t have spare time. Placing everything back as you like it. Finding your old documents, pictures and redownloading apps after a fresh/clean install.

Upgrading to macOS Catalina makes more sense. It might be an option for you. Other than starting from scratch with a fresh install.

“If you don’t have the spare time but this is the option for you why not visit our Apple Repairs page and let us do it for you”

Which option would I choose?

I’ve done both the upgrade and fresh install. Iv did it for thousands of clients too at Kingfisher Computers.

For my Kingfisher clients, I usually choose the upgrade option. Then if they come back to me with issues, I will then perform a Backup of their data. Perform a fresh install and restore their data.

On my own Devices. Like my iMac or MacBook. I usually install macOS updates from scratch. I am always taking precautions to created manual backups, iCloud backup and Apple time machine backups.

You can never be too careful.  I like to do this on my machines because I tend to fill them with junk. Pretty fast.  But I like to have my Apple device feel like they are running brand new.

But I am the type of user that uses very minimal programs. Like Chrome, Microsoft Office Mac, WhatsApp, Utorrent and Grammarly.

Then the stock Apple apps. So a fresh install isn’t too much hassle for me.

That said, doing fresh installs. And even taking the precautions, I do at backing up. I have still lost files in the past. That even today, I wish I still had. I guess it’s up to you.

Our Advice on MacOS Catalina

Think hard before you make a choice. Make sure you know what you need. Know your passwords. Make sure you can log into icloud.

MOST IMPORTANTLY “For god sake”. Make sure you have all your photos backed up and documents. I cannot think of anything worse than rewriting a CV or losing Photos.

Conclusion With MacOS Catalina

The choice is yours!

Want us to Upgrade you to macOS Catalina?

If you want to upgrade to macOS Catalina. But not confident about doing it your self. Then let us do it for you. Why not visit our Apple Repairs page

Visit Apple Repairs

Are you holding off upgrading or installing macOS Catalina for a while. But its something your thinking about doing. But you’re worried about the data on your iMac or MacBook. Why not visit our iMac or MacBook page. Book an appointment and let us give you the best advice we can on how to move forward.

Do you need an Apple iMac Repair

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