Reviving old Macs, good or bad idea

Hello to all of you,

my question is regarding to Mac computers, and I am wondering it is worth updating them.

Mac no 1, Mac mini Late 2014


As you can see, it's not a Ferrari. Currently I run on it FMS and use FMP The system is very slow, frequent beach ball, patience is required. The OS is Monterey the newest it may run. The disk is a hybrid 1TB. I have two monitors connected. Issues I have : applying OS patches, upgrading Apple apps. Last time I could not update Monterey. I love working on a Mac, but it is frustrating.

Since everything is soldered, I can't add memory. The only think I can change is to install an SSD. I am thinking about a Samsung 760EVO. Why Samsung ? I already have 4 of them in Windows computers, plus they come with a 5-year warranty. 8G memory means swapping like hell, but swapping to an SSD should be way faster - the memory will still be slow.

If I update the hard disk to SSD I would like to run the server app. I don't need all the functionalities in there, just a file server. If on top of that I may run FMS, it is even better.

Question: is it worth it to install an SSD ? I checked buying a main board with more memory and a faster CPU, but it would be cheaper to buy a new M2 Mac mini !

Mac no 2, Macbook Pro mid-2014 15"

I know someone who will get a new Macbook Pro M2 Pro 16" and offers me his Macbook Pro 15". The CPU is Intel i7, memory is 16G. All it needs is a new battery, it is already fitted with an SSD. The latest OS it may run is Big Sur.

Question: is it worth getting it and changing the battery ? It can't run FMP 19.6.x on MacOS, but it would be possible to run FMP in a VM running Windows or using Bootcamp. Thing is for how long will Windows 10 be supported - I don't like Windows 11 which is such a pain, broken here and there.

All your suggestions are welcome.

The only reason I would adopt/keep older hardware is to match a specific config a customer is using in a production environment.

None of those are machines I would recommend for production in 2023.

There are many things I like about developing on Mac, so I would no longer consider developing on a Windows machine.

Anything that is not using the newer processors will be limiting you in terms of the OSes you can upgrade to. It would be best to put that money towards newer hardware. M1 or M2 is what I would go with, you will have to check if you can use both your monitors on the model you go with.

it would be cheaper to buy a new M2 Mac mini

The floor price on those is $800 CAD, I would take that over anything else you mentioned. You can get this for less than $67 per month on a 12-month term. Some people pay more than that for their internet bill.

You can "revive" your old macs by installing Ubuntu on them and use them as a server, but you will still need another machine to do your development on.

Even if you tried to breathe new life into those machines, and they were to perform well, you would still be capped in terms of what OS it can run. In real life, it is hard to predict if your modifications will have the level of impact you hope for. So I fear that in the end it would not buy you much time and the same dollars would have been better invested on newer machines. You will buy time, but how much, it may very well be too little.

So with the context you gave us, I would say that it seems to me "reviving" old macs is a bad idea. If Apple was still manufacturing Macs running with Intel chips, maybe I would say something different, but they have turned away from Intel. (Yes, I am excluding the Mac Pro, I know)

You can also look at some refurbished items.

The missing information here is your budget. If you can spare $67 per month for the next 12 months, get a new mac mini M2. If you can't, I would say that rather than putting $$$ on old hardware, money you will not get back, you would be better off waiting, relying on your patience and tolerance for beach balls, until you can get your hands on a newer machine. That one won't be capped the same way, will come with a better lifespan, and you will know better what you can expect in terms of performance.

Mac no 1, Mac mini Late 2014
I use that machine in the same configuration as my development server. It only runs FMS. I use my laptop for running email, filemaker client, etc. In that configuration I have no complaints. The mac mini is not asked to do much and it does it very well.

Replacing the fusion drive with SSD will give you a speed bump. The APFS format has a reputation for turning rotating platter drives into turtles.

Performance will suffer when your drive is full . I just checked disk usage on my dev machine. I've got 963GB free on the 1TB. You need an absolute minimum of 20% free space on your drive. I've noticed a slowdown on other machines when free space fell below 40%.

Mac no 2, Macbook Pro mid-2014 15"
I wouldn't recommend this for your needs. Apple no longer supplies batteries for this model (that was the advice I got about two months ago in NZ). You can get third party batteries but they aren't usually as good.

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I have a Mac mini Late 2012, 16 GB RAM, with 2 SSDs replacing the original HD. It makes a very nice Linux machine.

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The generals problem is that new Apple Silicon Mac minis or MacBooks can be picked up far below $1000 USD and on the same time they may have double or more better performance than the old machine. So it becomes a question whether you want to suffer under bad peformance and thus high power bills.

Similar to the discussions about whether we proactive remove working lights to replace them with LEDs. A light bulb may use enough power for another 1000 hours, that it is cheaper to replace it now due to the cost for the power. e.g. compare a 60 Watt light with 40cent/KWh to cost 24 Euro for next 1000 hours. The LED costs maybe 5 Euro new and power then maybe 2.4 Euro.

On the other side, my sons MacBook Pro failed with a broken graphics card. So I installed Ventura via Open Legacy Patcher on an even older MacBook Pro (which is still working) for him to use. I consider that a better solution than to buy a new MacBook Air for now.

But I would only do that if the cost of doing so is cheap, so the MacBook and have SSD and RAM without costs from spare parts.


@Bobino ,

your comments all make sense and I agree with them. Would I have the money, I would buy a new Mac - or refurbished - they are great computers. And Rosetta 2 does a great job running apps for Intel CPUs.

As for the Mac mini, I don't mind being topped at Monterey since the goal is to have a file server. Why MacOS for that ? Two reasons:

  • Time machine, a Backup system that works behind the scene and that is dependable
  • It's the only OS with such a backup solution


You are in the same situation as me. But since it's topped at Monterey, you won't be able to run FMS by the end of the year because new FMS 19 releases won't support Monterey. You can still use FMS 19.6.3 for some while when future releases of FMP will still be supported by FMS 19.6.3.

That confirms that an SSD would be a good solution to have much better performances.

Regarding the MacBook Pro, iFixIt sells batteries for older Mac hardware. I trust them for this. A new battery and a set of screws is slightly above CAN $ 220.00.


I don't want to turn my Mac mini in a Linux machine. Reason is I worked once in a Mac shop using FileMaker. There consultants told them that a Mac mini would work as a file server ... I tried to get explanations, I was told that they learn that from FMI - my guess is that they were told not to have FMS and Server app on the same computer. So they sold them a computer to be used at the file server, running Linux. That was a nightmare: they created a home directory on that Linux computer, and it was a pain. Once in a while I lost access to files I had created. Instead of selling them that computer, the Mac shop could have bought another Mac mini for the file server !


The cost for changing the battery in old MacBook Pro is much cheaper that buying a new MacBook Pro.

Of note, although in general I have found the M1 macs to be 3-4x as fast running general apps (including FileMaker Pro) I have also found a situation in which running FileMaker Server is about 3x slower than under FMS18 on Intel.

I see this when running complex calculations updating thousands of records - See FMS19.6.3 poor performance on M1 mini / Ventura

Christian, I get you recommend using this tool. Very interesting.

To learn more about that, see OpenCore Legacy Patcher (


I installed OCLP (Monterey) a few weeks ago on my old Mac mini 2011 for testing purposes. The Mac has only 8 GB RAM but a SSD installed. It ran absolute smoothly with FMS 19.5.2, even with 10.000 invoices in my database. I though do not use it in a productive environment, although I could.

A harddisk or a fusion drive is definitively what slows down your computer mostly. A SSD will give you a significant speed bump, factor 5 to 10, I would say. So my recommendation would be: buy a SSD for 50-100 Bucks and give it a try. You will not be disappointed.

Installing a SSD is rather easy. If you don't think you can do this, you could also use an external SSD as boot volume. But trust me: you can do it!

Sure. We replaced a lot of batteries here already.
But please remember that refurbishing an older Macbook for giving it to a school boy is more reasonable than using it for your business.

So I can buy myself a new Mac every year and then rotate through here replacing older ones in all levels.

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@cheesus. you have done that on an older Mac mini and got very good results ! So my guess is now confirmed. Thanks a lot. For your comment.

NOTE: I picked @cheesus post as the Solution because it answers the question about my Mac mini. Other comments were also much appreciated.

Thank you all !

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