ONE FIFTH of Mac users have been left open to attack by malware, as Apple quietly ended support for Mac OS X Snow Leopard.
While the rest of the technology world screams bloody murder about the approaching end of life facing Windows XP, the Mac community is facing a similar issue.
However, unlike Windows XP, which Microsoft has given the longest, most melodramatic end of life ever, Apple has quietly pulled the plug on Mac OS X Snow Leopard after just four and a half years.
Introduced in 2009, Snow Leopard was something of a watershed for Mac users. It was the last edition of Mac OS X to support the PowerPC processor that predated Apple's 2006 switch to Intel. Additionally, it was the last 32-bit compatible version of the Mac OS X operating system.
As such, it effectively ends the life not only of the operating system but the old machines too, as newer, supported versions of Mac OS X are not designed for older machines, leaving anyone still running a PowerPC Mac automatically vulnerable.
Figures published by Computerworld put the proportion of Mac OS X Snow Leopard users at 19 percent, and yet the company has made no announcement about the end of support, leaving its lack of updates since September 2013 as self-evident.
Unlike Microsoft, Apple does not publish formal end of life plans, and quite often support for key applications ends along with security support.
There is some good news, however, for anyone affected who has a 64-bit Intel Mac, as the latest release, Mac OS X Mavericks, is available as a free upgrade. For anyone with an older machine, though, it's apparently time to raid the piggy bank. µ