iOS 6 requires iTunes 10.6, Snow Leopard

Karen Haslam
25 September, 2012
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Apple seems to be determined to write off as many legacy Macs, iPhones and iPads as possible with its recent Mac and iOS operating system upgrades. The latest victim is OS X Leopard, which launched in October 2007.

The lack of support has been highlighted with the launch of iOS 6, which is available for iPhone 5; iPhone 4S; iPhone 4; iPhone 3GS; the New iPad; and iPad 2; and the fifth and fourth generation iPod touch.

Even if you do have a compatible iOS device, your Mac hardware may not be compatible with the version of iTunes that the iOS device now requires you to be running.

This weekend a Mac user who had updated their iPhone to iOS 6 via WiFi contacted Macworld UK. Having performed the update they plugged their iPhone into their Mac to be greeted by a message that they needed to update their version of iTunes.

“The iPhone “Pamela’s iPhone” cannot be used because it requires iTunes version 10.6.3 or later. Go to to download the latest version of iTunes,” read the message.

The Mac in question was purchased in early 2008 and is currently running Leopard. Unfortunately the version of iTunes required by iOS 6 is not available to Leopard users.

Regrettably, updating the Mac in question appears to be no easy feat, especially now that Apple only offers downloads of its operating system via the Mac App Store, which is not available in Leopard. Our friend was baffled when they went to the Apple website hoping to find somewhere to purchase a newer version of Mac OS X. “I have searched Apple’s website and have no idea what it is that I need. It all seems very confusing?” they told us.

Of course, if Mountain Lion were available to download or purchase direct from Apple it would be no help to our friend. The minimum Mac hardware requirements of Mountain Lion are a mid 2007 iMac; a late 2007 MacBook Pro; a late 2008 MacBook; a late 2008 MacBook Air; an early 2008 Mac Pro; and an early 2009 Mac mini. Yes, in some cases a three-year-old Mac is now out of date.

This means that Apple has stopped offering upgrades for some Macs purchased in the past five years. Five years may seem like a long time in terms of technology, but given that the world has been in recession during that time, perhaps the rate of upgrade has been slow, meaning that a lot of people are still using what are now legacy devices.

A post on Apple Support Communities about this very issue, suggests that the solution is to upgrade to Snow Leopard.


5 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Matthew says:

    The transition from PowerPC to Intel based Macs caused similiar issues. I am not sure of Apples legal obligations in this areas in regards Warranty of a product in Australia but what I am sure of is it is incredibly frustrating to have to spend hours and $ upgrading everything for the sake of software on one device.
    Part of the reason I buy very expensive Mac PCs ahead of cheaper competitiors is that they products have had a significantly longer lifespan. If that changes either due to product quality or compatability they loose a strong driver for me to spend the extra money.

  2. Geoffrey Luck says:

    I’m afraid the launch of iOS6 and its related demands is the beginning of the end of a beautiful friendship with Apple for me. Since I switched in 2001 with the first OSX system and the purchase of a marvellously-built but too-expensive Powermac G4, I have carefully studied the upgrade path and moved only when stability had been achieved and “improvements” benefited me. Two years ago I reached the limitations of a machine with only 80GB of storage and Tiger, and bought a 27″ iMac. It is now running OSX 10.6.8 Snow Leopard a very big advance on the past but I refuse to “upgrade” to Lion or Mountain Lion. I do not value their so-called improvements and still want the features they have eliminated. I am constantly pestered to upgrade iTunes from my version 10.6.1 (7) to be compatible with Apple features such as iCloud that I will not touch with a barge pole. I wasn’t going to upgrade my iPad 2 to iOS6 until I knew more about it; now I read your report of the sort of incompatibilities I want to avoid. Fortunately I don’t have any type of touchphone, but if and when I buy one it will be a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 or its successor. I refuse to be locked further behind Apple’s Iron Curtain with its increasingly limiting freedom of choice and movement. I have always believed in the “plateau” policy in computing – get on a satisfactory level of efficiency, with all programs and applications compatible and in balance and stay there as long as possible. I see no reason to change that view now – quite the reverse. And the iPhones in my wider family give me every reason to leave Apple telephony – form over function, control over options.

  3. Gerald M says:

    I have the same problem as Pamela, but with my ipad2… It upgraded yesterday to iOS6 and now I cannot synchronize with itunes any longer, since my macpro runs with Leopard which uses the older version of itunes… I do not know what I should do now… Apparently I cannot even install Snow Lion on my macpro because in order to install it, one would need to have Snow Leopard already installed. Is that correct? Thanks for your answer in advance. Gérald

  4. mukeem says:


  5. Apple Family from way back says:

    We have been an exclusively Apple household for as long as I care to remember, but lately, in my humble opinion, it appears that Apple is now being run by accountants and bottom line is their key driver. Their focus no longer appears to be producing, and providing great products and looking after their loyal customer base.
    Why else would Mac products that are only 3-4 years old no longer be supported, unless you carry out their forced upgrades in order to keep your equipment up to date.
    I wonder if Steve Jobs was still alive, whether the company would be heading down the path it is?

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