Pepperdine IT Advisory: El Capitan OS 10.11 Upgrade


October 27, 2015

On Wednesday, September 30, 2015, Apple released Mac OS 10.11 (El Capitan). Pepperdine IT does not support El Capitan on university-owned machines at this time.Due to known challenges and incompatibilities with this release, Pepperdine IT recommends that you delay upgrading your Apple Macintosh computer to this new operating system. Known issues with El Capitan (10.11) include problems with email, Microsoft Office, whole disk encryption, device management, and several other applications.

Please remain on your current Mac OS version until Apple and other software vendors resolve issues with El Capitan.

Best Practices

To work and teach effectively, it's important to keep your system up-to-date and secure. At the same time, it's important to follow best practices before applying a major system upgrade to avoid issues.


Maintain current system backups of your computer and mobile devices to minimize data loss in the event of hard drive failure or problems after a major system upgrade.

"Update" Regularly

An update keeps your currently installed operating system up-to-date with security and performance fixes. Updates can occur several times a year, monthly, or even weekly in some cases, for example, updating your Mac OS Yosemite from 10.10.4 to 10.10.5. Please also use Pepperdine Browser Check and make sure our University Device Management Client is installed to keep other software secure.

Evaluate Major "Upgrades" Before Installing

Major system upgrades, like the El Capitan upgrade, happen infrequently, perhaps once a year, every other year, or longer. A major upgrade involves significant changes to a system and early adoption often leads to significant challenges. It can take weeks or months for software vendors to identify and resolve problems related to new operating systems. As stated above, please do not upgrade your university-owned Mac to El Capitan.

Whole Disk Encryption

If your university-owned workstation has whole disk encryption (WDE), wait for instruction from our Information Security Office before purchasing a new Mac computer or installing any major operating system upgrades.


Current Compatibility Status of Commonly Used Applications




University anti-virus (Sophos) Compatible with known issues Refer to Sophos Technical Updates
University whole disk encryption Not Compatible Whole disk encryption users should not purchase new Macs or upgrade existing systems to El Capitan. Wait for instruction from Pepperdine IT Information Security Office (ISO). Refer to: Symantec Support
University device management Compatible Refer to: Dell Service Notification
Adobe Acrobat Pro XI Compatible with known issues Refer to: Adobe Acrobat Notification
Adobe Connect Tested as working, but not officially supported by Adobe Internal testing with latest Adobe Connect add-in and Firefox is successful. However, Adobe does not list El Capitan as a supported OS. Refer to: Adobe Connect Technical Specifications
Adobe Photoshop Latest version listed as compatible; older versions may or may not work Adobe only lists Photoshop CC 2015 as compatible with El Capitan. Earlier versions may or may not work. Refer to: Photoshop System Requirements
Canon ImageRunner Photocopiers Compatible Initial reports of issues, but Canon recently released new Mac OS drivers to support El Capitan. Refer to: Canon Support and Drivers
ExamSoft Compatible Caruso School of Law's ExamSoft testing software is compatible. Refer to Pepperdine Law School update: Law School Tech Publication
Finale Compatible Refer to: Finale Blog or Finale System Requirements
Firefox Compatible Refer to: Firefox System Requirements
Google Apps Compatible Google lists El Capitan as compatible with Google Drive, Docs, etc. Refer to: Google Apps System Requirements
Microsoft Office 2011 Compatible with known issues Initial issues, but recent update 14.5.6 seems to resolve a majority of problems. Refer to: Microsoft Office 2011 Update
Microsoft Office 2016 Not Supported by Pepperdine IT Office 2016 is not supported by Pepperdine University, regardless of platform (Mac or PC). Numerous issues reported on official launch of El Capitan. Apple update 10.11.1 may resolve some issues, but lingering problems with email persist. Refer to: Microsoft Office 2016 Update
Pro Tools Compatible Refer to: Pro Tools System Requirements
SPSS Statistics Not Compatible IBM SPSS Statistics software does not currently support El Capitan. Reports from users suggest that re-installing the deprecated Apple Java 6 software may restore functionality. Refer to: SPSS FAQ

Last Update: 01/14/2016

  • Several software vendors have not updated system requirements list to include El Capitan support. Software may or may not run properly.
  • Several other specialty applications also reported as incompatible such as AutoCAD, select audio/sound applications, screenwriting software, video editing software, and many others.

Pepperdine IT cannot test every application on every operating system. Users should check with the vendors of any critical software applications to evaluate potential compatibility issues.

Major Compatibility Updates Thus Far

Microsoft Outlook 2011 Update (October 7, 2015)

Software update addresses Outlook 2011 hanging when running on El Capitan.

Apple MacOS El Capitan Update (10.11.1, October 21, 2015)

Microsoft Office Support Notification
Apple Support Notification
Resolves several Office 2016 problems and crashes. Does not resolve continuing incompatibility with Outlook 2016 and university Exchange email servers. The workaround is to implement IMAP rather than Exchange to send/receive email.