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I have been us­ing Macs since 1997, from my still-trust­wor­thy Pow­erMac 7300/166, through an iMac G5 to my present 27-inch iMac.

De­spite sev­eral of­fers from Ap­ple to up­grade free of charge, I’ve stayed with Moun­tain Lion. I am be­com­ing in­creas­ingly aware that up­grades to sev­eral of my apps re­quire Yosemite.

Yes, I’m ner­vous! Why? In view of Yosemite’s di­verse cus­tomer rat­ings: 265 five- and four-star, but 320 one­and two-star, and three on av­er­age from 5,022 peo­ple. Prom­ises of “The apps you use ev­ery day will have pow­er­ful new fea­tures”, “It’s like get­ting a whole new Mac – free” and “The 10.10.2 up­date im­proves the sta­bil­ity, com­pat­i­bil­ity and se­cu­rity of your Mac” ap­par­ently need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Among the thou­sands of com­ments are com­plaints about speed, Wi-Fi, bat­tery and other prob­lems. Can MacFor­mat help with some wise, in-depth, de­fin­i­tive guid­ance, and urge Ap­ple to put right Yosemite’s re­ported short­com­ings? Ken­neth Watkins Alan Stone­bridge says… Is­sues like those you men­tion cer­tainly are a con­cern, but also con­sider that peo­ple are likely to leave neg­a­tive feed­back in anger, and that many more just ac­cept some­thing works and so don’t bother. One of our MacBooks had Wi-Fi is­sues, but that seems to have cleared up with one of the small up­dates – at least for us. That doesn’t negate all bad feed­back. Prob­lems that look the same might be caused by dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions of soft­ware and hard­ware, so it’s worth send­ing rel­e­vant de­tails to sos@macfor­mat.com – say, your router make and model for Wi-Fi is­sues. If a flood of peo­ple tell us about a prob­lem, we’ll ask Ap­ple what’s go­ing on. Ma­jor things, like the up­date that broke many iPhones’ mo­bile net­work­ing tend to get fixed very quickly.

Not rush­ing to up­grade for the sake of it is wise, though. Time Ma­chine helps with try­ing out OS X up­dates (dif­fi­cult to do on iOS). Re­cov­ery mode can roll back your setup even to an ear­lier ma­jor ver­sion from a full backup, though take care to pre­serve work from the in­terim.

It’s dif­fi­cult to feel re­as­sured that soft­ware up­dates will make your Mac run bet­ter when you hear other peo­ple’s hor­ror sto­ries, but there are things you can do to pro­tect your setup.

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