OS X 10.11 El Capitan - Everything you need to know!

While the predecessor OS X 10.10 was given the name of a national park with "Yosemite", OS X 10.11 went directly into this park. The name "El Capitan" stands for a local monolith - and on the Mac for the last version of OS X. After that it went along macOS 10.12Sierra further. The Mac operating system OS X El Capitan was released in 2015, bringing new features for Safari and the Notes app, as well as customizations for app window organization. Furthermore, the performance of the system has been improved by Metal and the graphics API of iOS 8 has been integrated. There were updates until mid-2018.

What's new in OS X 10.11 El Capitan?

As already indicated at the beginning, El Capitan shouldn't do anything fundamentally new, but rather represent an improvement on Yosemite. This was realized through several small adjustments and innovations. For example, zooming in on the mouse pointer when moving the mouse or finger quickly on the trackpad was introduced. Since then, the cursor can also be found faster on large displays. Furthermore, in Spotlight the possibilities for the local search and the web search have been expanded. The Spotlight window can also be better customized since OS X 10.11, for example to display more content at once.

There were even more adjustments for a better workflow in the Mail app. In addition to a revised search, gesture control for marking and deleting e-mails was also introduced there. This is certainly interesting for those who work with the trackpad. Gestures and other innovations have also been introduced in Safari, such as pinning frequently visited websites. Additionally, audio playback in Safari has been addressed; starting with El Capitan, it became easier to determine which tabs are playing audio and to stop or mute the playback. For document and file management in Finder improved search functions were also introduced, as in Spotlight and Mail.

There were also improvements for window management under OS X 10.11 El Capitan on the Apple Mac. For example, if you use the Mail app in full-screen mode, you can swap content between the emails and an email draft, and use tabs in the draft window to write multiple new emails at once. For working in two windows, the "Split Screen" view was introduced as a completely new feature. You can still access it today via the green “full screen mode” button in an app window. The function was presented, among other things, for working with the notes app, which e.g. B. had received an image preview for links as an innovation.

In addition to the many small adjustments and innovations for working on the Mac, the same should be made possible and accelerated in the background through better system performance. As an improvement on OS X Yosemite, OS X El Capitan offers not only more convenient operation but also more efficient hardware workflows. App calls should be up to 1,4 times faster. Switching from one app to another should work up to 2 times faster. And Z. B. opening PDF files in the preview app should be up to 4 times faster. The graphics were adjusted using the "Metal" technology, which was introduced in 2014 for iOS.

Metal for the Mac was introduced in 2015 with El Capitan; meanwhile it has become an essential component for displaying game content and other complex graphics applications. With El Capitan, the "Open GL" intermediate step was bypassed and Metal was used for direct control of the built-in graphics hardware. Render work in graphics apps or games has become up to 50% faster. In addition, the hardware used was used more efficiently and performance increased by up to 40%. On the MacBook, this meant longer battery life. To demonstrate the improvements, Epic Games showed "Fortnite" in the Unreal Engine on Mac during its presentation at WWDC 2015.

Learn more about OS X 10.11 El Capitan for the Apple Mac:

These Mac models are compatible with OS X El Capitan

There are several lists for the Mac models that are compatible with El Capitan. This is because the basic version also works with those Apple computers that were already running OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, OS X 10.9 Mavericks and OS X 10.10 Yosemite. However, there are some functions and applications that require more modern hardware. Therefore, below you will find more than just a compatibility list for OS X 10.11.

Minimum requirements for using the system:

  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum or Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
  • iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
  • Xserve (early 2009)

For using Handoff, AirDrop minimum required between iPhone and Mac, Instant Hotspot and similar features:

  • MacBook (Early 2015)
  • MacBook Pro (2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (2012 or newer)
  • Mac mini (2012 or newer)
  • iMac (2012 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013)

At least required to use Metal for better graphics performance on the Mac:

  • MacBook (Early 2015)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Late 2012 or newer)
  • iMac (Late 2012 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013 and newer)

For more compatibility lists specific to specific OS X El Capitan features, see the official data sheet of Apple's operating system. The minimum requirements for the iOS devices that can be used with the cross-platform functions are also listed there.

Download OS X El Capitan and create a boot stick

If you want to download OS X 10.11 El Capitan then you can find the system for compatible Mac computers among others with this link in the official App Store – or here as a dmg file. The 6,2 GB download requires a Mac with a 64-bit Intel chip and at least Mac OS X 10.6.8 as the previously installed system version. You can also install El Capitan with a boot stick from scratch, i.e. not as an upgrade or downgrade of an existing system. We published a few instructions for making a USB boot stick here in the blog a few years ago:

Buy Apple OS X 10.11 El Capitan Boot Stick

If you would have to buy a new USB stick anyway in order to create the bootable storage medium with OS X El Capitan, then the more convenient alternative would be to order a ready-made boot stick. One of these is currently available from Amazon for 16,99 euros, and even with Prime shipping. Here you come to the offer including the detailed product description and the reviews.

DS Systems Installation Boot Stick Compatible with OS X 10.11 EL Capitan macOS Bootable Bootable...
  • Comes with detailed but easy to understand step-by-step instructions. Completely in German.
  • With this DS Systems USB (Type-A) boot stick it is possible to carry out a complete new installation on, for example, a...
  • Always check the system requirements beforehand. If in doubt, you can check compatibility...

Download OS X El Capitan Wallpaper - Desktop Background in 5K and 6K

The various Mac operating systems are not only recognizable by their version number and name, but also by their default desktop background when they are running. The system OS X 10.11 El Capitan was z. B. named after the monolith of the same name in Yosemite National Park. Accordingly, the wallpaper shows it, as it is illuminated by the orange light of a sunrise. With macOS 10.12 Sierra, this theme has been picked up again, only in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. If you want to use the high-resolution El Capitan wallpaper on a new Mac or on a PC, it's very easy.

At 512pixels you will find all standard backgrounds from Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah and 10.1 Puma. However, these are not pixelated screenshots of old systems, but 5K and 6K versions that look great even on the very latest high-resolution displays. Up to High Sierra there is only one image each, from Mojave onwards there is one image for the light mode and one for the dark mode. Away macOS 11 BigSur there are four images, since the transition to the new systems with photos and digital creations was heralded there. You can find the Mac wallpaper collection by 512pixels with this link.

OS X El Capitan manuals and guides

Unfortunately, we don't have that many instructions, guides and help for older systems in stock here in the blog. For more modern Mac systems, however, you will find a whole lot of troubleshooting, tips and tricks. If you want to find out everything about retro systems and try them out down to the smallest detail, then Amazon, for example, has the right offers. A few manuals are still available (as Kindle eBooks).

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The page contains affiliate links / images: Amazon.de

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