Catalina on a Macbook Pro 2011!

I’ve been partial to tinkering with my computers for quite a while now. My hard drive to Solid State Drive upgrade, battery replacement, OS re-installation, even keyboard replacement, I’ve done it myself.

Oftentimes, the tinkering was motivated by a lack of funds and a desire for upgrading combined with just wanting to open up my computers.

Henceforth, my latest attempt at tinkering; the upgrade of an unsupported Macbook pro 13 Inch (early 2011) from MacOS High Sierra to Catalina (2 generations up)

For those who are interested, the website Macworld has an excellent resource on how to do the upgrade ( They have also been kind enough to give a warning to users regarding the stability.

I followed the instructions and managed to install Catalina successfully. Here’s my account of the experience:


The download took some time, as expected of a large file such as an installer. After the download has finished, do patch the installer using the included Catalina patcher, or the installer will not work (it will simply state that your Macbook is incompatible with the installer)

As recommended by the website, I used an external USB drive to create a bootable installer. Pressing the [ALT option] key while restarting, I entered the recovery mode and selected install MacOS. After you click next several times during the installation progress, the installation will start.

Here, I was not sure what affected the speed. As I was using an SSD, there should not have been a speed bottleneck there. Perhaps it was due to the slow USB connection on the 2011 Macbook Pro. Nevertheless, I managed to complete the installation after about 1 hour.

The initialisation process also encountered a hitch. The first log in became stuck in a loop error, after which I had to force restart the macbook.

Eventually, I managed to reboot the macbook; lo and behold, I had Catalina!

Using MacOS Catalina on the early 2011 Macbook Pro

There was a slight but noticeable lag when I startup the Macbook Pro. Subsequently, usage of Google Chrome has a very significant lag when I start it up that was not present when High Sierra was installed. I cannot be sure if it is due to insufficient RAM or optimisation issues with unsupported hardware.

Conversely, there is no issue when starting up Safari, or the other Apple apps that I use (the iWorks suite, the app store, etc…). Most apps are reasonably snappy after clicking, with few instances of the spinning beach ball.

More updates to come regarding usage of the Macbook over time.

P.S. incidentally, this review/ report of the usage was typed on my Macbook Pro 2011 running Catalina, for what it’s worth.