Topic site links on left last updated May 2019.  
Elite Service Award Winner HomeAdvisor

 Thumbtack logo

Download my résumé as a Word compressed zip file and Adobe Acrobat.   Need computer help? Book now to resolve most computer issues.   Tech support jobs.
site search by freefind advanced

How to install Classic by Mac model age?

Old links to need to be updated to

For more on the differences between Classic and Booting into Mac OS 9, see my Migration from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X FAQ.

Macs of different ages have different capabilities when it comes to Classic. The dates below are when specific models were released as new Macs according to the spec pages:

11/1997-7/2002 The G3 and G4 Macs released during this period (except the original G3/250 Powerbook) can use the 9.2.1 retail installer disc to install Mac OS 9. If they shipped with a version of 9, they can only use a newer retail version of 9 to install 9 for use with the Classic environment. A minimum of 9.1 needs to be installed to use Classic. The article below lists which versions of 9 each Mac shipped with:

If you need to upgrade to 9.1 or higher, follow the directions in this article:

Also check if the firmware needs to be updated before installing 10.2 or later:

8/2002-12/2002 The Macs which shipped new during this period shipped with a restore 9 installer disc and could not use the retail installer disc for Mac OS 9. Call AppleCare if you are missing those discs:

To install Classic from the restore discs, follow the directions in this article:

867 Mhz Macs and faster Macs that shipped during this period 11/1997-12/2002 can also boot into 9 when Leopard (10.5) is installed, but can't use Classic unless Tiger (10.4) or earlier is installed on a separate bootable hard disc by the Startup Manager, or partition of the boot hard drive. Pre-Firewire 800 Powermac G4s which shipped during the next time period also have this ability if they were 867 Mhz or faster.

1/2003-12/2005 The machines which shipped new during this period (except the PowerMac G4 pre-Firewire 800 which could boot into 9) could only use Classic, and thus once upgraded to Leopard can't use Classic anymore. If you kept a separate partition or booted off an external hard drive that had Tiger they could continue to use Classic. Article still applies for restoring Classic to Tiger and older operating systems on these Macs.

1/2006 - present Intel Macs which shipped during this time period can't use Classic at all.

Return to Migration from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X FAQ.

Return to top