macOS

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macOS
macOS Sonoma, the latest release of macOS
DeveloperApple
Written in
OS family
  • open source components)
Initial releaseMarch 24, 2001; 23 years ago (2001-03-24)
Latest release14.5[3] Edit this on Wikidata (13 May 2024; 2 months ago (13 May 2024))
Latest preview15.0 beta 3 (Public Beta)[4] (24A5289h)[5] (July 15, 2024; 6 days ago (2024-07-15)) [±] , 14.6 beta 4[6] (23G5075b)[7] (July 16, 2024; 5 days ago (2024-07-16)) [±]
Available in47 languages[8]
List of languages
  • Bahasa Melayu - Malay
  • Català - Catalan
  • Čeština - Czech
  • Dansk - Danish
  • Deutsch - German
  • English (Australia) - English (Australia)
  • English (Canada) - English (Canada)
  • English (India) - English (India)
  • English (Ireland) - English (Ireland)
  • English (New Zealand) - English (New Zealand)
  • English (Singapore) - English (Singapore)
  • English (South Africa) - English (South Africa)
  • English (United Kingdom) - English (United Kingdom)
  • English (United States) - English (United States)
  • Español (España) - Spanish (Spain)
  • Español (Estados Unidos) - Spanish (United States)
  • Español (Latinoamérica) - Spanish (Latin America)
  • Español (México) - Spanish (Mexico)
  • Français (Canada) - French (Canada)
  • Français (France) - French (France)
  • Hrvatski - Croatian
  • Indonesia - Indonesian
  • Italiano - Italian
  • Magyar - Hungarian
  • Nederlands - Dutch
  • Norsk bokmål - Norwegian Bokmål
  • Polski - Polish
  • Português (Brasil) - Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Português (Portugal) - Portuguese (Portugal)
  • Română - Romanian
  • Slovenčina - Slovak
  • Suomi - Finnish
  • Svenska - Swedish
  • Tiếng Việt - Vietnamese
  • Türkçe - Turkish
  • Ελληνικά - Greek
  • Русский - Russian
  • Українська - Ukrainian
  • עברית - Hebrew
  • العربية - Arabic
  • हिन्दी - Hindi
  • ไทย - Thai
  • 한국어 - Korean
  • 日本語 - Japanese
  • 简体中文 - Simplified Chinese
  • 繁體中文(台灣) - Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
  • 繁體中文(香港) - Traditional Chinese (Hong Kong)
Platforms
graphical)
LicenseCommercial software, proprietary software
Preceded byClassic Mac OS, NeXTSTEP
Official websiteapple.com/macos Edit this at Wikidata
Support status
Supported

macOS, originally Mac OS X, previously shortened as OS X, is an operating system developed and marketed by Apple since 2001. It is the primary operating system for Apple's Mac computers. Within the market of desktop and laptop computers, it is the second most widely used desktop OS, after Microsoft Windows and ahead of all Linux distributions, including ChromeOS.

Mac OS X succeeded classic Mac OS, the primary Macintosh operating system from 1984 to 2001. Its underlying architecture came from NeXT's NeXTSTEP, as a result of Apple's acquisition of NeXT, which also brought Steve Jobs back to Apple.

The first desktop version,

audioOS
.

A prominent part of macOS's original

brand identity was the use of Roman numeral X, pronounced "ten", as well as code naming each release after species of big cats, and later, places within California.[11] Apple shortened the name to "OS X" in 2011 and then changed it to "macOS" in 2016 to align with the branding of Apple's other operating systems, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS.[12] After sixteen distinct versions of macOS 10, macOS Big Sur
was presented as version 11 in 2020, and every subsequent version has also incremented the major version number, similarly to classic Mac OS and iOS.

macOS has supported three major processor architectures, beginning with

Apple M series processors on the latest Macintosh computers.[13] As of 2023, the most recent release of macOS is macOS 14 Sonoma
.

History

Development

The heritage of what would become macOS had originated at

GUI toolkit using the Objective-C
programming language.

Throughout the 1990s, Apple had tried to create a "next-generation" OS to succeed its

Gershwin projects, but all were eventually abandoned.[16] This led Apple to acquire NeXT in 1997, allowing NeXTSTEP, later called OPENSTEP, to serve as the basis for Apple's next generation operating system.[17]
This purchase also led to Steve Jobs returning to Apple as an interim, and then the permanent CEO, shepherding the transformation of the programmer-friendly OPENSTEP into a system that would be adopted by Apple's primary market of home users and creative professionals. The project was first codenamed "Rhapsody" before officially being named Mac OS X.[18][19]

Mac OS X

The letter "X" in Mac OS X's name refers to the number 10, a Roman numeral, and Apple has stated that it should be pronounced "ten" in this context. However, it is also commonly pronounced like the letter "X".[20][21] The iPhone X, iPhone XR and iPhone XS all later followed this convention.

Previous Macintosh operating systems (versions of the classic Mac OS) were named using numbers, as with Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9.[22][20] Until macOS 11 Big Sur, all versions of the operating system were given version numbers of the form 10.x, with this going from 10.0 up until 10.15; starting with macOS 11 Big Sur, Apple switched to numbering major releases with numbers that increase by 1 with every major release.

The first version of Mac OS X,

Classic Environment
with a reduction in performance.

The consumer version of Mac OS X was launched in 2001 with

FrameMaker, Adobe Inc., declined to develop new versions of it for Mac OS X.[24] Ars Technica columnist John Siracusa, who reviewed every major OS X release up to 10.10, described the early releases in retrospect as "dog-slow, feature poor" and Aqua as "unbearably slow and a huge resource hog".[23][25][26]

Apple rapidly developed several new releases of Mac OS X.[27] Siracusa's review of version 10.3, Panther, noted "It's strange to have gone from years of uncertainty and vaporware to a steady annual supply of major new operating system releases."[28] Version 10.4, Tiger, reportedly shocked executives at Microsoft by offering a number of features, such as fast file searching and improved graphics processing, that Microsoft had spent several years struggling to add to Windows Vista with acceptable performance.[29]

As the operating system evolved, it moved away from the

Safari web browser. With the increasing popularity of the internet, Apple offered additional online services, including the .Mac, MobileMe and most recently iCloud products. It later began selling third-party applications through the Mac App Store
.

Newer versions of Mac OS X also included modifications to the general interface, moving away from the striped gloss and transparency of the initial versions. Some applications began to use a

brushed metal appearance, or non-pinstriped title bar appearance in version 10.4.[32] In Leopard, Apple announced a unification of the interface, with a standardized gray-gradient window style.[33][34]

In 2006, the first Intel Macs were released with a specialized version of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.[35]

A key development for the system was the announcement and release of the

iPod media players used a minimal operating system, the iPhone used an operating system based on Mac OS X, which would later be called "iPhone OS" and then iOS. The simultaneous release of two operating systems based on the same frameworks placed tension on Apple, which cited the iPhone as forcing it to delay Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.[36] However, after Apple opened the iPhone to third-party developers its commercial success drew attention to Mac OS X, with many iPhone software developers showing interest in Mac development.[37]

In 2007, Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard was the sole release with universal binary components, allowing installation on both Intel Macs and select PowerPC Macs.[38] It is also the final release with PowerPC Mac support. Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard was the first version of Mac OS X to be built exclusively for Intel Macs, and the final release with 32-bit Intel Mac support.[39] The name was intended to signal its status as an iteration of Leopard, focusing on technical and performance improvements rather than user-facing features; indeed it was explicitly branded to developers as being a 'no new features' release.[40] Since its release, several OS X or macOS releases (namely OS X Mountain Lion, OS X El Capitan, macOS High Sierra, and macOS Monterey) follow this pattern, with a name derived from its predecessor, similar to the 'tick–tock model' used by Intel.

In two succeeding versions,

server versions of Mac OS X, selling server tools as a separate downloadable application through the Mac App Store. A review described the trend in the server products as becoming "cheaper and simpler... shifting its focus from large businesses to small ones."[42]

OS X

OS X logo used until 2013

In 2012, with the release of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, the name of the system was officially shortened from Mac OS X to OS X, after the previous version shortened the system name in a similar fashion a year prior. That year, Apple removed the head of OS X development, Scott Forstall, and design was changed towards a more minimal direction.[43] Apple's new user interface design, using deep color saturation, text-only buttons and a minimal, 'flat' interface, was debuted with iOS 7 in 2013. With OS X engineers reportedly working on iOS 7, the version released in 2013, OS X 10.9 Mavericks, was something of a transitional release, with some of the skeuomorphic design removed, while most of the general interface of Mavericks remained unchanged.[44] The next version, OS X 10.10 Yosemite, adopted a design similar to iOS 7 but with greater complexity suitable for an interface controlled with a mouse.[45]

From 2012 onwards, the system has shifted to an annual release schedule similar to that of iOS and Mac OS X releases prior to 10.4 Tiger[citation needed]. It also steadily cut the cost of updates from Snow Leopard onwards, before removing upgrade fees altogether in OS X Mavericks.[46] Some journalists and third-party software developers have suggested that this decision, while allowing more rapid feature release, meant less opportunity to focus on stability, with no version of OS X recommendable for users requiring stability and performance above new features.[47] Apple's 2015 update, OS X 10.11 El Capitan, was announced to focus specifically on stability and performance improvements.[48]

macOS

Current logo

In 2016, with the release of

HFS+ file system.[51][52][53] macOS 10.13 High Sierra, released in 2017, included performance improvements, Metal 2 and HEVC support, and made APFS the default file system for SSD boot drives.[54]

Its successor, macOS 10.14 Mojave, was released in 2018, adding a dark mode option and a dynamic wallpaper setting.[55] It was succeeded by macOS 10.15 Catalina in 2019, which replaces iTunes with separate apps for different types of media, and introduces the Catalyst system for porting iOS apps.[56]

In 2020, Apple previewed macOS 11 Big Sur at the WWDC 2020. This was the first increment in the primary version number of macOS since the release of Mac OS X Public Beta in 2000; updates to macOS 11 were given 11.x numbers, matching the version numbering scheme used by Apple's other operating systems. Big Sur brought major changes to the UI and was the first version to run on the Arm instruction set.[57] The new numbering system was continued in 2021 with macOS 12 Monterey, 2022 with macOS 13 Ventura, 2023 with macOS 14 Sonoma, and 2024 with macOS 15 Sequoia.

Timeline of releases

Mac OS X, OS X, and macOS version information
Version Release Name Darwin
version
Processor
support
Application
support
Kernel Date
announced
Release
date
Most recent
version
Old version, no longer maintained: Rhapsody Developer Release Grail1Z4/Titan1U
(internal codename)
Un­known 32-bit PowerPC
and Intel
32-bit PowerPC
and Intel
32-bit January 7, 1997[58] August 31, 1997 DR2
(May 14, 1998)
Old version, no longer maintained: Mac OS X Server 1.0 Hera
(internal codename)
32-bit PowerPC 32-bit PowerPC January 5th, 1999[59] March 16, 1999 1.2v3
(October 27, 2000)
Old version, no longer maintained: Mac OS X Developer Preview Un­known May 11, 1998[60] March 16, 1999 DP4
(April 5, 2000)
Old version, no longer maintained: Mac OS X Public Beta Kodiak[61]
(internal codename)
May 15, 2000[62] September 13, 2000
Old version, no longer maintained: Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah
(internal codename)
1.3.1 January 9, 2001[63] March 24, 2001 10.0.4 (4Q12)
(June 22, 2001)
Old version, no longer maintained: Mac OS X 10.1 Puma
(internal codename)
1.4.1/5 July 18, 2001[64] September 25, 2001 10.1.5 (5S60)
(June 6, 2002)
Old version, no longer maintained: Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar 6 32/64-bit PowerPC[Note 1] May 6, 2002[65] August 24, 2002 10.2.8
(October 3, 2003)
Old version, no longer maintained: Mac OS X 10.3 Panther 7 June 23, 2003[66] October 24, 2003 10.3.9 (7W98)
(April 15, 2005)
Old version, no longer maintained: Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger 8 32/64-bit PowerPC
and Intel
32/64-bit PowerPC
and Intel [Note 2] [Note 3]
May 4, 2004[67] April 29, 2005 10.4.11
(November 14, 2007)
Old version, no longer maintained: Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard 9 June 26, 2006[68] October 26, 2007 10.5.8 (9L31a)
(August 13, 2009)
Old version, no longer maintained: Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard 10 32/64-bit Intel 32/64-bit Intel
32-bit PowerPC[Note 3]
32/64-bit[69] June 9, 2008[70] August 28, 2009 10.6.8 (10K549)
(July 25, 2011)
Old version, no longer maintained: Mac OS X 10.7 Lion 11 64-bit Intel 32/64-bit Intel October 20, 2010[71] July 20, 2011 10.7.5 (11G63)
(October 4, 2012)
Old version, no longer maintained: OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion 12 64-bit[72] February 16, 2012[73] July 25, 2012[74] 10.8.5 (12F2560)
(August 13, 2015)
Old version, no longer maintained: OS X 10.9 Mavericks 13 June 10, 2013[75] October 22, 2013 10.9.5 (13F1911)
(July 18, 2016)
Old version, no longer maintained: OS X 10.10 Yosemite 14 June 2, 2014[76] October 16, 2014 10.10.5 (14F2511)
(July 19, 2017)
Old version, no longer maintained: OS X 10.11 El Capitan 15 June 8, 2015[77] September 30, 2015 10.11.6 (15G22010)
(July 9, 2018)
Old version, no longer maintained: macOS 10.12 Sierra 16 June 13, 2016[78] September 20, 2016 10.12.6 (16G2136)
(September 26, 2019)
Old version, no longer maintained: macOS 10.13 High Sierra 17 June 5, 2017 September 25, 2017 10.13.6 (17G14042)
(November 12, 2020)
Old version, no longer maintained: macOS 10.14 Mojave 18 June 4, 2018 September 24, 2018 10.14.6 (18G9323)
(July 21, 2021)
Old version, no longer maintained: macOS 10.15 Catalina 19 64-bit Intel June 3, 2019 October 7, 2019 10.15.7 (19H2026)
(July 20, 2022)
Old version, no longer maintained: macOS 11 Big Sur 20 64-bit Intel and ARM[Note 4] June 22, 2020 November 12, 2020 11.7.10 (20G1427)
(September 11, 2023)
Older version, yet still maintained: macOS 12 Monterey 21 June 7, 2021 October 25, 2021 12.7.5 (21H1222)
(May 13, 2024)
Older version, yet still maintained: macOS 13 Ventura 22 June 6, 2022 October 24, 2022 13.6.7 (22G720)
(May 13, 2024)
Current stable version: macOS 14 Sonoma 23 June 5, 2023 September 26, 2023 14.5 (23F79)
(May 13, 2024)
Latest preview version of a future release: macOS 15 Sequoia 24 June 10, 2024 TBA
Legend:
Old version
Older version, still maintained
Latest version
Latest preview version
Future release
1. The Power Mac G5 had special Jaguar builds.
2. Tiger did not support 64-bit GUI applications, only 64-bit CLI applications.[79][80]
3.1 2 32-bit (but not 64-bit) PowerPC applications were supported on Intel processors with Rosetta.
4. 64-bit Intel applications are supported on Apple silicon Macs with Rosetta 2. However, Intel-based Macs are unable to run ARM-based applications, such as iOS and iPadOS apps.


Architecture

At macOS's core is a

GUI-based operating system which is macOS.[82]

With its original introduction as Mac OS X, the system brought a number of new capabilities to provide a more stable and reliable platform than its predecessor, the

68k-based NeXT workstations to x86 and other architectures before NeXT was purchased by Apple,[83] and OPENSTEP was later ported to the PowerPC architecture as part of the Rhapsody project
.

Prior to macOS High Sierra, and on drives other than

case insensitivity of file names, a design made worse when Apple extended the file system to support Unicode.[84][85]

The

permissions layer. In 2003 and 2005, two Macworld editors expressed criticism of the permission scheme; Ted Landau called misconfigured permissions "the most common frustration" in macOS, while Rob Griffiths suggested that some users may even have to reset permissions every day, a process which can take up to 15 minutes.[86] More recently, another Macworld editor, Dan Frakes, called the procedure of repairing permissions vastly overused.[87] He argues that macOS typically handles permissions properly without user interference, and resetting permissions should only be tried when problems emerge.[88]

The architecture of macOS incorporates a layered design:[89] the layered frameworks aid rapid development of applications by providing existing code for common tasks.

Automator application that offers pre-written tasks that do not require programming knowledge.[94]

Software compatibility

List of macOS versions and the software they run
Operating system Safari
Mail
QuickTime iTunes Messages/iChat iWork
10.0[note 1] 1.x 5.0 2.0.4
10.1 6.3.1 4.7.1
10.2 "Jaguar"[note 2] 1.0.3 6.5.3 6.0.5 2.0 Keynote
10.3 "Panther" 1.3.2 7.5 7.7.1[95] 2.1[96] '05
10.4 "Tiger" 4.1.3 2.1.3 7.6.4 9.2.1[97] 3.0 '09
10.5 "Leopard" 5.0.6 3.6 7.7 10.6.3[98] 4.0
10.6 "Snow Leopard" 5.1.10[99] 4.5[100] 10.1 11.4[101] 5.0
10.7 "Lion"[note 3]
6.1.6 Un­known 12.2.2[102] 8.0b or 6.0.1
10.8 "Mountain Lion" 6.2.8 10.2 12.4.3[103] 8.0
10.9 "Mavericks" 9.1.3 7.3 10.3 12.6.2 2013
10.10 "Yosemite" 10.1.2 9.3 10.4 12.8.2 2014
10.11 "El Capitan" 11.1.2 9.3
10.12 "Sierra" 12.1.2 11.0 10.0 2018
10.13 "High Sierra" 13.1.2 11.0 2019
10.14 "Mojave" 14.1.2 12.0 10.5 12.9.5 12.0 2020
10.15 "Catalina" 15.4 13.0 13.0 2021 partial, 2020
11 "Big Sur" 16.0 14.0 14.0 2022 (12.0)
12 "Monterey"
13 "Ventura"
14 "Sonoma" 17.0 16.0 14.0
15 "Sequoia" 18.0 14.1
  1. Classic
    installed will iTunes 2.0.4 operate. If not, iTunes 1.1.1 can only be used natively by Mac OS X 10.0.
  2. ^ The only iLife application that works with Mac OS X 10.2 "Jaguar" is Keynote 1.0 . This version is compatible with two minor updates, 1.1.1 and 1.1.
  3. ^ A beta version of Messages 8.0, known as Messages 8.0b, was available exclusively from February 16 until December 12, 2012.After then, customers had two options to keep using Messages: either go back to using iChat on OS X 10.7 or update to a newer version of OS X (10.8 "Mountain Lion" for US$19.99, or 10.9 "Mavericks" or newer for free). .

Apple offered two main

APIs to develop software natively for macOS: Cocoa and Carbon. Cocoa was a descendant of APIs inherited from OPENSTEP with no ancestry from the classic Mac OS, while Carbon was an adaptation of classic Mac OS APIs, allowing Mac software to be minimally rewritten to run natively on Mac OS X.[19]

The Cocoa API was created as the result of a 1993 collaboration between

cross-platform compatible, and that graphical user interfaces written in Swing look almost exactly like native Cocoa interfaces. Since 2014, Apple has promoted its new programming language Swift
as the preferred language for software development on Apple platforms.

Apple's original plan with macOS was to require all developers to rewrite their software into the Cocoa APIs. This caused much outcry among existing Mac developers, who threatened to abandon the platform rather than invest in a costly rewrite, and the idea was shelved.

Classic Environment
with performance limitations; this feature was removed from 10.5 onwards and all Macs using Intel processors.

Because macOS is

X11 application provided by Apple, or before that the XDarwin project.[112]

Applications can be distributed to Macs and installed by the user from any source and by any method such as downloading (with or without code signing, available via an Apple developer account) or through the Mac App Store, a marketplace of software maintained by Apple through a process requiring the company's approval. Apps installed through the Mac App Store run within a sandbox, restricting their ability to exchange information with other applications or modify the core operating system and its features. This has been cited as an advantage, by allowing users to install apps with confidence that they should not be able to damage their system, but also as a disadvantage due to blocking the Mac App Store's use for professional applications that require elevated privileges.[113][114] Applications without any code signature cannot be run by default except from a computer's administrator account.[115][116]

Apple produces macOS applications. Some are included with macOS and some sold separately. This includes

software for macOS
.

In 2018, Apple introduced an application layer, codenamed Marzipan, to

Mac Catalyst.[122]

Hardware compatibility

List of macOS versions, the supported systems on which they run, and their RAM requirements

Operating system Release year(s) Supported systems[123] RAM requirement
10.010.2 2001 – 2002 G3, G4 and G5 iBook and PowerBook, Power Mac and iMac
(except PowerBook G3 "Kanga")
128 MB
10.3 2003 Macs with a New World ROM[124]
10.4 2004 Macs with built-in
FireWire and either a New World ROM
or Intel processor
256 MB
10.5 2006 Select G4, G5, and Intel Macs (32-bit or 64-bit) at 867 MHz or faster
Classic
support dropped from 10.5 and later.
512 MB
10.6 2008 Intel Macs (32-bit or 64-bit)[125] 1 GB
10.7
2010 Intel Macs (64-bit)[125]
Rosetta support dropped from 10.7 and later.
2 GB
10.810.11 2012 – 2015
10.1210.13 2016 – 2017
10.14 2018
10.15 2019
4 GB
11 2020
12 2021
13 2022
8 GB
14 2023
15 2024

Tools such as XPostFacto and patches applied to the installation media have been developed by third parties to enable installation of newer versions of macOS on systems not officially supported by Apple. This includes a number of pre-G3 Power Macintosh systems that can be made to run up to and including Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar, all G3-based Macs which can run up to and including Tiger, and sub-867 MHz G4 Macs can run Leopard by removing the restriction from the installation DVD or entering a command in the Mac's Open Firmware interface to tell the Leopard Installer that it has a clock rate of 867 MHz or greater. Except for features requiring specific hardware such as graphics acceleration or DVD writing, the operating system offers the same functionality on all supported hardware.

As most Mac hardware components, or components similar to those, since the Intel transition are available for purchase,

Psystar, a business that attempted to profit from selling macOS on non-Apple certified hardware, was sued by Apple in 2008.[132]

PowerPC–Intel transition

Steve Jobs talks about the transition to Intel processors.

In April 2002, eWeek announced a rumor that Apple had a version of Mac OS X code-named

Intel x86 processors. The idea behind Marklar was to keep Mac OS X running on an alternative platform should Apple become dissatisfied with the progress of the PowerPC platform.[133] These rumors subsided until late in May 2005, when various media outlets, such as The Wall Street Journal[134] and CNET,[135] announced that Apple would unveil Marklar in the coming months.[136][137][138]

On June 6, 2005, Steve Jobs announced in his keynote address at WWDC that Apple would be making the transition from PowerPC to

Mini vMac, Basilisk II and SheepShaver provided support for some early versions of Mac OS. A new version of Xcode and the underlying command-line compilers supported building universal binaries that would run on either architecture.[141]

PowerPC-only software is supported with Apple's official binary translation software, Rosetta, though applications eventually had to be rewritten to run properly on the newer versions released for Intel processors. Apple initially encouraged developers to produce universal binaries with support for both PowerPC and Intel.[142] PowerPC binaries suffer a performance penalty when run on Intel Macs through Rosetta. Moreover, some PowerPC software, such as kernel extensions and System Preferences plugins, are not supported on Intel Macs at all. Plugins for Safari need to be compiled for the same platform as Safari, so when Safari is running on Intel, it requires plug-ins that have been compiled as Intel-only or universal binaries, so PowerPC-only plug-ins will not work.[143] While Intel Macs can run PowerPC, Intel, and universal binaries, PowerPC Macs support only universal and PowerPC builds.

Support for the PowerPC platform was dropped following the transition. In 2009, Apple announced at WWDC that Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard would drop support for PowerPC processors and be Intel-only.[144] Rosetta continued to be offered as an optional download or installation choice in Snow Leopard before it was discontinued with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.[145] In addition, new versions of Mac OS X first- and third-party software increasingly required Intel processors, including new versions of iLife, iWork, Aperture and Logic Pro.

Intel–Apple silicon transition

An illustration of Apple's M1 processor

Rumors of Apple shifting Macs from Intel to in-house ARM processors used by iOS devices began circulating as early as 2011,[146] and ebbed and flowed throughout the 2010s.[147] Rumors intensified in 2020, when numerous reports announced that the company would announce its shift to its custom processors at WWDC.[148]

Apple officially announced its shift to

software. The transition was completed at WWDC 2023 with the announce of the Apple silicon Mac Pro, ending the transition in 3 years.

The change in processor architecture allows Macs with ARM processors to be able to run iOS and iPadOS apps natively.[150]

Features

Aqua user interface

The original Aqua user interface as seen in the Mac OS X Public Beta from 2000

One of the major differences between the

widget is drawn on-screen using spatial anti-aliasing technology.[151] ColorSync, a technology introduced many years before, was improved and built into the core drawing engine, to provide color matching for printing and multimedia professionals.[152] Also, drop shadows were added around windows and isolated text elements to provide a sense of depth. New interface elements were integrated, including sheets (dialog boxes
attached to specific windows) and drawers, which would slide out and provide options.

The use of soft edges, translucent colors, and pinstripes, similar to the hardware design of the first

Platinum" appearance had offered. According to Siracusa, the introduction of Aqua and its departure from the then conventional look "hit like a ton of bricks."[153]
Bruce Tognazzini (who founded the original Apple Human Interface Group) said that the Aqua interface in Mac OS X 10.0 represented a step backwards in usability compared with the original Mac OS interface.[154][155] Third-party developers started producing
legal action against people who make or distribute software with an interface the company says is derived from its copyrighted design.[156]

Apple has continued to change aspects of the macOS appearance and design, particularly with tweaks to the appearance of windows and the menu bar. Since 2012, Apple has sold many of its Mac models with high-resolution

APIs have extensive support for resolution-independent development on supporting high-resolution displays. Reviewers have described Apple's support for the technology as superior to that on Windows.[157][158][159]

The

Portable Document Format (PDF) imaging model, making it easy to output PDF to multiple devices.[152] As a side result, PDF viewing and creating PDF documents from any application are built-in features.[161] Reflecting its popularity with design users, macOS also has system support for a variety of professional video and image formats and includes an extensive pre-installed font library, featuring many prominent brand-name designs.[162]

Components

The

Dock
, which holds file and folder shortcuts as well as minimized windows.

Apple added Exposé in

version 10.7), a feature which includes three functions to help accessibility between windows and desktop. Its functions are to instantly display all open windows as thumbnails for easy navigation to different tasks, display all open windows as thumbnails from the current application, and hide all windows to access the desktop.[167] FileVault is optional encryption of the user's files with the 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES-128).[168]

Features introduced in

desktop widgets that can be called up and dismissed in one keystroke;[170] and Front Row, a media viewer interface accessed by the Apple Remote.[171] Sync Services allows applications to access a centralized extensible database for various elements of user data, including calendar and contact items. The operating system then managed conflicting edits and data consistency.[172]

All system icons are scalable up to 512×512 pixels as of version 10.5 to accommodate various places where they appear in larger size, including for example the Cover Flow view, a three-dimensional graphical user interface included with iTunes, the Finder, and other Apple products for visually skimming through files and digital media libraries via cover artwork. That version also introduced Spaces, a virtual desktop implementation which enables the user to have more than one desktop and display them in an Exposé-like interface;[173] an automatic backup technology called Time Machine, which allows users to view and restore previous versions of files and application data;[174] and Screen Sharing was built in for the first time.[175]

In more recent releases, Apple has developed support for

intelligent personal assistant Siri, which was introduced in version 10.12 of macOS.[179][180]

Multilingual support

There are 39 system languages available in macOS for the user at the moment of installation; the system language is used throughout the entire operating system environment.[181] Input methods for typing in dozens of scripts can be chosen independently of the system language.[182] Recent updates have added increased support for Chinese characters and interconnections with popular social networks in China.[183][184][185][186]

Updating methods

macOS can be updated using the Software Update settings pane in

Software Update application performed this functionality. In Mountain Lion and later, this was merged into the Mac App Store application, although the underlying update mechanism remains unchanged and is fundamentally different from the download mechanism used when purchasing an App Store application. In macOS 10.14 Mojave
, the updating function was moved again to the Software Update settings pane.

Most Macs receive six or seven years of macOS updates. After a new major release of macOS, the previous two releases still receive occasional updates, but many security vulnerabilities are only patched in the latest macOS release.[187]

Release history

Rhapsody (operating system)Mac OS X Server 1.0Mac OS X Public BetaMac OS X 10.0Mac OS X 10.1Mac OS X JaguarMac OS X PantherMac OS X TigerMac OS X LeopardMac OS X Snow LeopardMac OS X LionOS X Mountain LionOS X MavericksOS X YosemiteOS X El CapitanmacOS SierramacOS High SierramacOS MojavemacOS CatalinamacOS Big SurmacOS MontereymacOS VenturamacOS Sonoma
Timeline of versions

Mac OS X versions were named after

Mac OS X 10.7 as "Lion", OS X 10.8 as "Mountain Lion", and OS X 10.9
as "Mavericks".

"Panther", "Tiger" and "Leopard" are registered as trademarks of Apple,

Tiger Direct sued Apple for its use of the name "Tiger". On May 16, 2005, a US federal court in the Southern District of Florida ruled that Apple's use did not infringe on Tiger Direct's trademark.[193]

Mac OS X Public Beta

On September 13, 2000, Apple released a US$29.95[194] "preview" version of Mac OS X, internally codenamed Kodiak, to gain feedback from users.

The "PB", as it was known, marked the first public availability of the Aqua interface and Apple made many changes to the UI based on customer feedback. Mac OS X Public Beta expired and ceased to function in Spring 2001.[195]

Mac OS X 10.0

Screenshot of OS X 10.0

On March 24, 2001, Apple released Mac OS X 10.0 (internally codenamed Cheetah).[196] The initial version was slow,[197] incomplete,[198] and had very few applications available at launch, mostly from independent developers.[199] While many critics suggested that the operating system was not ready for mainstream adoption, they recognized the importance of its initial launch as a base on which to improve.[198] Simply releasing Mac OS X was received by the Macintosh community as a great accomplishment,[198] for attempts to overhaul the Mac OS had been underway since 1996, and delayed by countless setbacks.

Mac OS X 10.1

Later that year, on September 25, 2001, Mac OS X 10.1 (internally codenamed Puma) was released. It featured increased performance and provided missing features, such as DVD playback. Apple released 10.1 as a free upgrade CD for 10.0 users, in addition to the $129 boxed version for people running Mac OS 9. It was discovered that the upgrade CDs were full install CDs that could be used with Mac OS 9 systems by removing a specific file; Apple later re-released the CDs in an actual stripped-down format that did not facilitate installation on such systems.[200] On January 7, 2002, Apple announced that Mac OS X was to be the default operating system for all Macintosh products by the end of that month.[201]

Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar

On August 23, 2002,[202] Apple followed up with Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar, the first release to use its code name as part of the branding.[203] It brought significant performance improvements, and an updated version of Aqua's visual design. Jaguar also included over 150

original Macintosh — was replaced with a grey Apple logo.[206]

Mac OS X 10.3 Panther

Portable Document Format (PDF) rendering and much greater Microsoft Windows interoperability.[207] Support for some early G3 computers such as "beige" Power Macs and "WallStreet" PowerBooks was discontinued.[208]

Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger

Screenshot of Tiger

Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger was released on April 29, 2005. Apple stated that Tiger contained more than 200 new features.

Automator, VoiceOver, Core Image and Core Video. The initial release of the Apple TV used a modified version of Tiger with a different graphical interface and fewer applications and services.[210] On January 10, 2006, Apple released the first Intel-based Macs along with the 10.4.4 update to Tiger. This operating system functioned identically on the PowerPC-based Macs and the new Intel-based machines, with the exception of the Intel release lacking support for the Classic environment.[211]

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard was released on October 26, 2007. It was called by Apple "the largest update of Mac OS X". It brought more than 300 new features.

Classic Environment and all Classic applications.[216] It was the final version of Mac OS X to support the PowerPC architecture.[217]

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard was released on August 28, 2009. Rather than delivering big changes to the appearance and end user functionality like the previous releases of Mac OS X, Snow Leopard focused on "under the hood" changes, increasing the performance, efficiency, and stability of the operating system. For most users, the most noticeable changes were: the disk space that the operating system frees up after a clean install compared to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, a more responsive Finder rewritten in Cocoa, faster Time Machine backups, more reliable and user-friendly disk ejects, a more powerful version of the Preview application, as well as a faster Safari web browser. Snow Leopard only supported machines with Intel CPUs, required at least 1 GB of RAM, and dropped default support for applications built for the PowerPC architecture (Rosetta could be installed as an additional component to retain support for PowerPC-only applications).[218]

Snow Leopard also featured new 64-bit technology capable of supporting greater amounts of RAM, improved support for multi-core processors through Grand Central Dispatch, and advanced GPU performance with OpenCL.[219]

The 10.6.6 update introduced support for the Mac App Store, Apple's digital distribution platform for macOS applications.[220]

Moscone West
.

OS X 10.7 Lion

OS X 10.7 Lion was released on July 20, 2011. It brought developments made in Apple's iOS, such as an easily navigable display of installed applications called

Launchpad and a greater use of multi-touch gestures, to the Mac. This release removed Rosetta, making it incompatible with PowerPC applications.[145]

Changes made to the GUI include auto-hiding scrollbars that only appear when they are used, and Mission Control which unifies Exposé, Spaces, Dashboard, and full-screen applications within a single interface.[221] Apple also made changes to applications: they resume in the same state as they were before they were closed, similar to iOS. Documents auto-save by default.[222]

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion was released on July 25, 2012.

Sina Weibo are integrated into share sheets.[186]

Starting with Mountain Lion, Apple software updates (including the OS) are distributed via the App Store.[224] This updating mechanism replaced the Apple Software Update utility.[225]

A screenshot of OS X Mavericks

OS X 10.9 Mavericks

OS X 10.9 Mavericks was released on October 22, 2013. It was a free upgrade to all users running Snow Leopard or later with a 64-bit Intel processor.[226] Its changes include the addition of the previously iOS-only Maps and iBooks applications, improvements to the Notification Center, enhancements to several applications, and many under-the-hood improvements.[227]

OS X 10.10 Yosemite

OS X 10.10 Yosemite was released on October 16, 2014. It features a redesigned user interface similar to that of iOS 7, intended to feature a more minimal, text-based 'flat' design, with use of translucency effects and intensely saturated colors.[228] Apple's showcase new feature in Yosemite is Handoff, which enables users with iPhones running iOS 8.1 or later to answer phone calls, receive and send SMS messages, and complete unfinished iPhone emails on their Mac. As of OS X 10.10.3, Photos replaced iPhoto and Aperture.[229]

OS X 10.11 El Capitan

Screenshot of El Capitan

OS X 10.11 El Capitan was released on September 30, 2015. Similar to Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, Apple described this release as emphasizing "refinements to the Mac experience" and "improvements to system performance".

San Francisco as the system font for clearer legibility, and the introduction of System Integrity Protection
.

The Metal API, first introduced in iOS 8, was also included in this operating system for "all Macs since 2012".[231] According to Apple, Metal accelerates system-level rendering by up to 50 percent, resulting in faster graphics performance for everyday apps. Metal also delivers up to 10 times faster draw call performance for more fluid experience in games and pro apps.[232]

macOS 10.12 Sierra

macOS 10.12 Sierra was released to the public on September 20, 2016. New features include the addition of Siri, Optimized Storage, and updates to Photos, Messages, and iTunes.[233][234]

macOS 10.13 High Sierra

macOS 10.13 High Sierra was released to the public on September 25, 2017.[235] Like OS X El Capitan and OS X Mountain Lion, High Sierra is a refinement-based update having very few new features visible to the user, including updates to Safari, Photos, and Mail, among other changes.[236]

The major change under the hood is the switch to the Apple File System, optimized for the solid-state storage used in most new Mac computers.[237]

macOS 10.14 Mojave

macOS 10.14 Mojave was released on September 24, 2018.

dark mode and several new apps lifted from iOS, such as Apple News. It was the first version to require a GPU that supports Metal. Mojave also changed the system software update mechanism from the App Store (where it had been since OS X Mountain Lion
) to a new panel in System Preferences. App updates remain in the App Store.

macOS 10.15 Catalina

macOS 10.15 Catalina was released on October 7, 2019.[238] Updates included enhanced voice control, and bundled apps for music, video, and podcasts that together replace the functions of iTunes, and the ability to use an iPad as an external monitor. Catalina officially dropped support for 32-bit applications.[239]

macOS 11 Big Sur

macOS Big Sur was announced during the WWDC keynote speech on June 22, 2020,[240] and it was made available to the general public on November 12, 2020. This is the first time the major version number of the operating system has been incremented since the Mac OS X Public Beta in 2000. It brings Arm support,[241] new icons, and aesthetic user interface changes to the system.[242]

macOS 12 Monterey

Automator), a redesigned Safari Web browser, and updates and improvements to FaceTime.[243]

macOS 13 Ventura

macOS Ventura was announced during the WWDC keynote speech on June 6, 2022[244] and released on October 24, 2022.[245] It came with the redesigned System Preferences (named System Settings) to a more iOS-like design, and the new Freeform, Weather and Clock apps that run natively on Mac. Users can use an iPhone as a webcam for video conferencing with Continuity Camera. Siri's appearance was changed to look more like the versions on iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. Mail introduced schedule send and undo send for emails, and Message also got the ability to undo send and edit messages. Maps gained the feature for multiple-stop routes, Metal 3 was added with support for spatial and temporal image upscaling, Lockdown mode was added to reduce the risk of a cyberattack, and the ability to play ambient background sounds was added as an accessibility feature in System Settings.

macOS 14 Sonoma

macOS Sonoma was announced during the WWDC keynote speech on June 5, 2023, and released on September 26, 2023.[246] macOS Sonoma revamped widgets—they can now be placed anywhere on the desktop. Game mode optimizes game performance by prioritizing gaming tasks and allocating more GPU and CPU capacity to the game, and by doing so is able to provide smoother frame rates for gameplay. The Spotlight Search bar and all app icons were made even more rounded, smoother animations were implemented for notifications and the lock screen, and new slow-motion screensavers of different locations worldwide were added. When logged in, they gradually slow down and become the desktop wallpaper.

macOS 15 Sequoia

macOS Sequoia was announced during the WWDC keynote speech on June 10, 2024. It adds support for Apple Intelligence features (for example a redesigned and redesigned Siri, writing tools, Image Playground, Genmoji, and system-wide integration with GPT-4o), as well as adding iPhone Mirroring, a new dedicated Passwords app for faster autofilling and more organised passwords, and window tiling - a similar feature to Microsoft Windows' window snapping feature. [247]

Security

Apple publishes Apple Platform Security documents to lay out the security protections built into macOS and Mac hardware.[248]

macOS supports additional hardware-based security features on Apple silicon Macs:[249]

macOS's optional Lockdown Mode enables additional protections, such as disabling just-in-time compilation for Safari's JavaScript engine, blocks FaceTime calls unless you have previously called that person or contact, location information is excluded when photos are being shared, Game Center is disabled, and accessories have to be approved and your Mac has to be unlocked. These are able to prevent some vulnerabilities within macOS.[251]

Only the latest major release of macOS (currently macOS Sonoma) receives patches for all known security vulnerabilities. The previous two releases receive some security updates, but not for all vulnerabilities known to Apple. In 2021, Apple fixed a critical privilege escalation vulnerability in macOS Big Sur, but a fix remained unavailable for the previous release, macOS Catalina, for 234 days, until Apple was informed that the vulnerability was being used to infect the computers of people, particularly Hong Kong citizens, who visited Hong Kong pro-democracy websites.[252][253]

macOS Ventura added support for Rapid Security Response (RSR) updates. These smaller updates may require a reboot, but take less than a minute to install.[254][255] In an analysis, Hackintosh developer Mykola Grymalyuk noted that RSR updates can only fix userland vulunerability, and cannot patch the macOS kernel.[256]

Malware and spyware

In its earlier years, Mac OS X enjoyed a near-absence of the types of

File Quarantine present since Mac OS X Snow Leopard.[268]

Reception

Usage share

As of January 2023, macOS is the second-most widely used general-purpose desktop operating system used on the World Wide Web following Microsoft Windows, with a 15.33% usage share according to statistics compiled by Statcounter GlobalStats.[269]

Promotion

As a device company, Apple has mostly promoted macOS to sell Macs, with promotion of macOS updates focused on existing users, promotion at Apple Store and other retail partners, or through events for developers. In larger scale advertising campaigns, Apple specifically promoted macOS as better for handling media and other home-user applications, and comparing Mac OS X (especially versions Tiger and Leopard) with the heavy criticism Microsoft received for the long-awaited Windows Vista operating system.[270][271]

See also

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