Have a new iOS Device and an Intel Mac Running Mac OS X 10.4? Call Apple for a Free Upgrade to Mac OS X 10.5

May 21, 2011 - 10 Comments

Free Mac OS X Upgrade from Tiger to Leopard

Do you have an Intel Mac running Mac OS X 10.4, and you just bought a new iOS device? If so, you’ve probably noticed you can’t sync that new iPad, iPod, or iPhone to Mac OS X… but don’t despair, try calling AppleCare Support (1-800-275-2273) and you might be eligible for a free upgrade from Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.

While this isn’t widely confirmed yet, TUAW is reporting that one of their readers received a free update to Leopard from Tiger courtesy of Apple:

if you find yourself …with a new iOS device that requires Leopard/iTunes 10 for sync support, but still running Tiger on your Intel Mac… call AppleCare. He says that Apple’s support team will ask you for your iPhone/iPad/iPod touch serial number… and then send you a copy of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, free of charge.

The reason for the free upgrade is simple: new iOS devices require iTunes 10 to sync to a Mac, but iTunes 10 requires at least Mac OS X 10.5 in order to run.

Now, on a related note… you can upgrade directly from Mac OS X 10.4 to Mac OS X 10.6 using a Snow Leopard installation DVD, these sell for $29 on Amazon with free shipping.

My opinion is that 10.6 Snow Leopard is a far superior Operating System to Leopard, so I think if you’re still on 10.4 it’s well worth the $29. On the other hand, it’s hard to argue with the price of free so if the free 10.5 Leopard upgrades continue to be offered by Apple, you might as well take advantage of that too.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS


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  1. Steve says:

    I got apple support to send me os x 10.5 discs. Had to wait on hold for a while and pay $17 and change, but worth it. I am upgrading my hdd & ram and I don’t have the 10.5 discs I borrowed previously. Told them I am running 10.4 currently and need 10.5 to run itunes10 and manage my multiple generation ipod touches.

  2. DJB says:

    I just got a free copy. I believe when I mentioned that the specs say it will work for Windows XP that got support moving toward giving me a free copy especially since they can’t sell 10.5 anymore. Give support a call and take the “It will work on an XP machine” tack.

  3. Heisenberg says:

    I’m an old fart running OS 10.4.11 on an ancient (all of 3 years old) iMac. Same problem; I couldn’t make my new iPad work. Just got off the phone with Apple Customer Care. No one there ever heard of sending a free OSX 10.5. They talk about my computer as if it were something really ancient. Like how could I expect support for a three year old system.

    I asked why I can’t download OSX 10.6 (and pay for it, but not wait for a disc to get here). The support person didn’t know. I asked if she could pass along that maybe the purchasing page for iPads could say something about having to buy a software upgrade in order to make it work (if you are on a Mac with 10.4.11; Microsoft users don’t need to upgrade to get the new itunes. Apple supports Microsoft better than its own customers). She said sorry, but no one takes any suggestions from the customer support people at Apple.

    Not the Apple I used to know. More like the Microsoft I used to know.

  4. Squirt says:

    This is not even remotely true. You’re just wasting Apple’s time and getting people set up for disappointment.

    • Paul says:

      Do you have evidence to suggest it is not true? We are reporting what TUAW has said, but beyond that Snow Leopard DVD’s do in fact work to upgrade from 10.4, which may be a better solution anyway.

    • Heisenberg says:

      Apple deserves to have the its time wasted; but it should be the time of the higher ups who feel no obligation to support people who bought computers from them 3 years earlier. They support PC users running Windows better than their own customers.

  5. riddletr says:

    I have a MacBook running 10.4 and an iMac running 10.5. I’m waiting for Lion which I’ll install on both Macs.

  6. Jason Smith says:

    The “free” upgrade from 10.4 to 10.5 only applies to customers who had the device running 3.1.3 and upgraded to 4.0. Since originally the 4.0 upgrade stated 10.4 or iTunes 9 requirement(s). You’ll notice all future packaging now states 10.5.8 or higher to sync. If you buy a new device and still running 10.4, you’ll probably be shown the very nice Snow Leopard Box set.

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