How Long Do iMacs Last? 3 to 8 Years is a Good Rule of Thumb

We all know that electronic devices have a shelf life, meaning they don’t last forever. Some last longer than others but today we want to look at the mac. More specifically, we want to know how long do iMacs last

Most iMacs last between 3 and 8 years depending on how you use them. A MacBook Pro or Air will last anywhere from 3 to 5 years. Below we will show a more detailed info on the computer type and the expected lifespan.

Let’s get started

How long do iMacs last table compared to other models

iMacsMacbook Pro or AirMac MiniMac Pro
3 – 8 years3 – 5 years3 – 5 years3 – 8 years

Signs that Your iMac or laptop Needs a Replacement 

  • The latest software update does NOT support your old device anymore
  • Battery runs out quickly ( Laptops only )
  • Takes too long to load apps and processes
  • Running out of free storage space
  • Visible signs of wear and tear
  • Frequent software issues
  • Startup takes forever
  • Spinning cogwheel stuck

All these signs and more are good indications that it’s time to maybe look for a new computer. 

Let’s now see in more detail the items we discussed above and understand each one in more detail.

  1. The latest software update doesn’t support your old computer

To run your iMac smoothly, or any other computer for that matter, you need to upgrade to the latest macOS. But you won’t be getting these updates throughout the lifespan of the computer. So if your iMac or PC no longer supports these updates and you are not able to update, it could be a sign that your computer has aged and it’s time to shop around.

While it does not have anything to do with the hardware, the software performance of the PC will downgrade over time, resulting in poor performance. 

  1. Battery doesn’t last
How Long Do iMacs Last

This is a common sign that your MacBook Pro or Air is getting old, the battery doesn’t last long and needs to be charged like every 2-3 hours instead of the 12 hours like it was when the device was new. I used to have a MacBook Pro so old that the battery simply died on me, and it didn’t work without plugging it to a power source. Needless to say I took this as a sign and bought a new one.

  1. Poor performance – Takes too long to load apps

Another sign that the iMac needs a replacement is poor performance. An older iMac will have older chips and electronic elements as compared to the latest models. And the tools or software that you will use are designed for the latest devices. As a result, the performance will not be great.

While you can always fix this problem by replacing hardware parts, it can cost you a lot of money if you opt for Apple genuine parts and there are plenty of hassles involved in this process, and you might have to back up the entire data. It’s a hassle, and not many people do that honestly.

  1. Less or No Free Space 
How Long Do iMacs Last

The size of apps is growing every single day, and it could seriously affect the storage space available on your iMac. If you use an older model with a small amount of storage compared to newer models, this issue will definitely hurt the performance.

Working on low space can be miserable, and time consuming as you have to transfer files here and there, or constantly delete them to keep some space free which can also lead to loss of data. Using an external SSD seems like a great idea you may think, but you need to keep it connected to the device all the time. and who wants that? No one, that’s who. 

  1. Visible Signs of Hardware Damage 

While there are lesser chances of any damage on an iMac as compared to a MacBook, there can be a chance of visible damage. Inspect the device fully and look for any damages that affect the performance. 

Screen damage is a major issue, there could be some other damages as well. Consult an iMac repair technician and figure out if the device is repairable or it is time to say goodbye.

If the condition is beyond repairs, considering a replacement will be the best idea.

  1. Frequent Software Issues 
How Long Do iMacs Last

An older iMac can also lead to frequent software issues, and that can be frustrating at times. The OS might freeze, and the system may take more time to load your favorite tools. This is due to insufficient storage space, older RAMs, and the inability to upgrade to the latest versions.

If reinstalling the macOS doesn’t help, you must consider getting a new Mac to get better performance. 

  1. Startup takes forever

This might be the most popular tell sign that your computer is getting too old, when you restart it it takes forever to come up, like a lot of time more than usual. If you see this happening and you find yourself waiting for your iMac to start, maybe use the time you have to look for a new device.

  1. Cogwheel stuck
How Long Do iMacs Last

This is also a good sign that your iMac is too old, you start applications or just browse between what is currently open and suddenly the cogwheel shows up and seems like it is stuck and spinning for like a minute, that’s not a good sign.

Helpful Tips to Keep Your iMac Healthy, Happy, and Performing Well 

If you’re still not ready to give up your current iMac or laptop, here are a few tips to help you get more life out of your device, just remember these tips will only help if you have a 2-3 years old model and probably won’t really do anything if the iMac is 5 years old or older.

Don’t overload your System 

If you notice that your iMac is already starting to wear down, don’t accelerate it by jamming more apps and stuff you don’t really need on it. Instead try and clean up regularly, meaning delete files and apps you don’t use, leaving more free space and less stress on your device.

Turn off Background App Refresh 

There are plenty of apps that don’t need a background refresh, you can turn them off and prevent these apps from eating up RAM. I agree that it can be a task to find out the apps you don’t need running in the background, but the results are worth it. 

Protect it From Damages 

If your pet loves snuggling on your lap while you work, you need to be careful it doesn’t damage the iMac. Protect the device from any damage and keep it clean in order to maintain its performance.


So trying to figure out how long do iMacs last we understood that depending on the model you have, the range is between 3 years to 8 years or sometimes even a little more. Every user uses his devices differently so obviously this scale is broad, but from our research, this is an accurate timeframe.

Frequently Asked Questions about iMac usage life

When does an iMac become obsolete

Officially, apple stops supporting the operating system after 8 to 10 years after its release. Meaning at that point you can consider your device to be obsolete.

Is it better to fix my old Mac or just buy new

If your device falls in the category of obsolete it’s going to be hard finding original parts to fix it. Some tech fans who know and love building their own gear might find enjoyment in buying an old Mac on eBay or something and take it a part and using it for parts, but for the average user this is highly not worth the effort.

Can my Mac run with an unsupported software

If your Mac runs with a software that is not supported anymore, it could have many issues as a lot of features and programs will not work anymore. Also apple and other companies stop supporting old software so you will find it hard getting any type of support.

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About the Author: Adam Wishmore

Adam Wishmore is an apple geek, there is no other way of putting it. Since the first generation iPhone hit the market to the latest Macbook pro, Adam knows everything there is and how to fix everything on apple devices. Find me on Facebook