$29 Snow Leopard Upgrade Compatible with 10.4 Intel Macs?

Technology columnist Walt Mossberg recently addressed a common query concerning the upgrade to Snow Leopard. Specifically, he discussed whether users transitioning from Tiger need to purchase the comprehensive $169 software package.

Surprisingly, the answer leans towards no, despite Apple’s official guidelines suggesting otherwise. Users can indeed proceed with the $29 individual upgrade or the $49 family pack on any Intel-based Mac, regardless of its current operating system.

As detailed on the All Things Digital site, Apple has acknowledged that the $29 Snow Leopard upgrade will function correctly on Macs originally equipped with Tiger, offering a potential savings of $140.

However, it remains somewhat ambiguous whether this installation method constitutes an upgrade or necessitates a clean installation, as suggested by Lifehacker.

Many seasoned Mac users typically prefer a fresh installation for major OS updates, either by reinstalling applications and files from a backup or using Migration Assistant for transferring existing configurations, as noted by some users. According to a preview by Wired, it’s possible to upgrade directly from 10.4 to 10.6 using the standard Snow Leopard disc, though experiences may vary.

In conclusion, if your Intel Mac is currently running Leopard, the $29 or $49 Snow Leopard versions available this Friday should suffice.


Christopher is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing readers the latest updates and insights on all things Apple. With a keen eye for detail, Christopher covers everything from the newest iPhone releases to the latest macOS updates. His articles are a go-to source for Apple enthusiasts looking to stay informed about their favorite products, including the iPad, Apple Watch, and MacBook. Christopher’s commitment to delivering accurate and engaging content makes him a valued member of the TUAW team.