- The best Mac OS version is the one that your Mac is eligible to upgrade to. In 2021 it is macOS Big Sur. However, for users that need to run 32-bit apps on Mac, the best macOS is Mojave. Also, older Macs would benefit if upgraded at least to macOS Sierra for which Apple still releases security patches.
- For example, in May 2018, the latest release of macOS was macOS 10.13 High Sierra. This release is supported with security updates, and the previous releases—macOS 10.12 Sierra and OS X 10.11 El Capitan—were also supported. When Apple releases macOS 10.14, OS X 10.11 El Capitan will very likely no longer be supported.
- For the first time, macOS High Sierra was announced at the Worldwide Developer Conference 2017. Finally, the full version was released on September 25, 2017. The name of the macOS High Sierra was taken from a beautiful place located in America California. Also, macOS High Sierra’s latest version code is 10.13.6.
- Cupertino, California — Apple today announced macOS High Sierra, the latest release of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system, is now available as a free update. With macOS High Sierra, Mac users gain powerful new core storage, video and graphics technologies. A new file system ensures more efficient and reliable storage,.
Apple has taken the wraps off High Sierra, the next version of macOS, and while it may be a maintenance release, it still brings some exciting new features.
Accelerating graphics and much more.
Metal provides a platform-optimized, low-overhead API for developing the latest 3D pro applications and amazing games using a rich shading language with tighter integration between graphics and compute programs. To help you do more while managing ever more complex shader code, Metal adds an unparalleled suite of advanced GPU debugging tools to help you realize the full potential of your graphics code.
Enhanced graphics and compute integration
To better realize the latest GPU rendering techniques, you can now call dynamic libraries, use function pointers, and leverage the Ray Tracing API directly from your graphics shaders.
Efficiently combine precompiled functions into more complex functions at run time. This allows shader authoring tools to precompile individual shader nodes while maintaining flexibility as they author shaders.
New Ray Tracing features
The Ray Tracing API now supports motion blur, user instance IDs, and an extension of numerical limits to help you generate immensely complex scenes with professional renders.
GPU-accelerated ML training
MPSGraph adds new operations and optimizations using Metal buffer-based ML primitives on the GPU, so you can accelerate ML model training on Mac with higher peak performance.
Metal plugin for TensorFlow
Metal adds support for the PluggableDevice interface for TensorFlow, so you can start training with great performance on macOS Monterey.
GPU Performance State Debugger
Optimize your graphics code for power and performance on all Apple platforms.
Metal Debugger timeline view
To help achieve peak performance with the latest rendering techniques, Metal Debugger now includes performance counters and bottleneck analysis tools while providing a unified view of Metal commands, resources, and buffers on the timeline of GPU events.
Selective Shader Debugger
To dramatically reduce the time it takes to debug incredibly large GPU shader code, Xcode 13 now includes the option to target and debug specific functions within the overall GPU shader code.
GPU Address Sanitizer
Xcode 13 can automatically find difficult bugs, such as buffer overruns, in complex GPU shader code.
Texture Converter Tool
To simplify optimizing game texture assets for Apple platforms, the new Texture Converter Tool supports the latest modern texture formats used by high-end games. For game developers with a Windows-based build environment, the Texture Converter Tool is also available in the Metal Tools for Windows package.
Browse the latest documentation, including API reference and articles.
Metal Developer Tools for Windows
Bring your high-end games and assets to Mac with the Texture Converter Tool and Metal Shader Compiler.
Get sample code to see how Metal APIs are implemented.
Learn how to take advantage of the latest advancements in Metal.
Ask questions and discuss Metal with Apple engineers and other developers.
Superpowers for your Mac
macOS is the operating system designed to run on Apple laptops and desktop computers. As Apple grew and strengthened the ecosystem through the years, macOS operating system version history evolved too.
In this article, we guide you through the evolution of Apple’s operating system, from the first public release in 2001 to the latest macOS Monterey announced at WWDC 2021 on June 7.
Is there any difference between Mac OS X and macOS?
No, they are essentially the same thing — just named differently. In fact, three terms were used at different times with reference to Apple’s operating system: Mac OS X, OS X, and macOS. Mac OS X was the official naming through version 10.7, from 2001 to 2011. In the next four years, the OS X names were used. Finally, Apple shifted to “macOS” with the release of macOS High Sierra in 2016. The latter helped standardize the naming of Apple’s operating systems — macOS, iOS, tvOS, iPadOS, etc.
List of macOS versions
Brief backstory. In 1996, Apple purchased NeXT, the company Steve Jobs built after he had left Apple. The same year, Jobs returned to Apple and helped build the first Mac OS that could compete with Windows. That’s when it became obvious Apple could grow to become a big player.
The first ancestor of the macOS family was Mac OS X Public Beta released in 2000, followed by a public release of Mac OS X 10.0 in 2001. Let’s recount the stories of all Mac OS X versions, up to the current macOS.
1. Mac OS X 10.0 (Cheetah)
March 24, 2001: Aqua interface is born with Mac OS X Cheetah. It’s a big step in the evolution of graphical interfaces, with 2D and 3D graphics support, granting an all-new visual experience. Cheetah featured a water theme, which, according to Steve Jobs, “one wanted to lick when they saw it.” Beauty comes at a cost, though. Graphics improvements made Cheetah very slow, which prompted Apple to shift focus from visual experience to performance in the next release.
source: Apple Wiki Fandom
2. Mac OS X 10.1 (Puma)
September 25, 2001: As you might have noticed, the first generation of Apple’s operating systems was named after animals. Puma arrived with a solid performance boost and a few other functional improvements such as simplified CD and DVD burning, new features in Finder, and more extensive printer support.
source: Apple Wiki Fandom
3. Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar)
August 23, 2002: The third release of Mac OS X added search to Finder (can you imagine it, Finder used to exist without it!) Jaguar also brings MPEG-4 support for QuickTime, a range of privacy features, and, for the first time, Accessibility API called Universal Access. Some of the apps born with this release continue living on Mac even today (for example, Address Book, which is now called Contacts).
source: VTII Technology
4. Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther)
October 24, 2003: Meet Safari! The first official web browser made by Apple replaces Internet Explorer on Mac. In fact, Safari was available on Jaguar but it’s the first release where it becomes a default browser. Other than that, Panther adds 150+ new features, including Font Book, Xcode enhancements, and more.
source: Cult of Mac
5. Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger)
April 29, 2005: Did you think Apple TV is pretty new? Well, guess what, it was born in 2005, with the release of Apple’s fifth operating system! Tiger was a pretty big update. It featured Spotlight search, Automator, VoiceOver, and around 200 other improvements. During this time, Apple also switched to Intel’s processors, which made Tiger the first system operating on Macs with Intel chips.
6. Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard)
October 26, 2007: Here comes Leopard, one of the most Mac-changing systems. This time, Mac’s desktop changes significantly, with Dock, a new menu bar, and Stacks. Time Machine, Spotlight enhancements, and support for 64-bit apps arrive too. In fact, Leopard featured so much new stuff that Apple even had to delay the initial release date to finish it all in time.
source: Apple Wiki Fandom
7. Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)
August 28, 2009: Leopard’s successor, Snow Leopard, focused on expanding 64-bit architecture. Most of the native applications were rewritten in 64-bit. Back then, experts used to say that was the first step to a full transition, which, as we know today, became true. Also, the App Store was born in the Snow Leopard era.
8. Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion)
July 20, 2011: With Lion, Apple brings lots of useful enhancements from iOS to Mac OS. Launchpad, multi-touch gestures, and more. Interestingly, many people criticized Mac OS X 10.7 for the so-called “natural scrolling,” which moved the content up when you scroll down. Back then, it seemed more natural to have the content move down — as Windows did it.
9. OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion)
July 25, 2012: Major apps like Notes, Reminders, and Messages arrive from iOS, turning Mac into a more comfortable spot for managing your daily routine. The most significant update in Mountain Lion is Notification Center, with on-screen banners communicating updates.
10. OS X 10.9 (Mavericks)
October 22, 2013: Operating system number 10 debuts a range of privacy features, majorly focused on password encryption and storage. This is when iCloud Keychain arrives. Also, OS X 10.9 features new Maps, iBooks, and Tags for the first time, as well as upgrades Notification Center by allowing users to reply directly from notifications.
source: Apple Wiki Fandom
11. OS X 10.10 (Yosemite)
October 16, 2014: Biggest redesign in years. From small things like thin fonts and new color schemes to the big shift towards flat graphic design, which better matches the design of iOS. What’s more, Yosemite introduces Handoff and Continuity. This once again confirms Apple’s intention to craft a better cross-device experience in the future.
12. OS X 10.11 (El Capitan)
September 30, 2015: El Capitan is faster, better, stronger than the previous operating system, due to a major performance boost. For example, it allows opening apps 40% faster than old systems. Also, this is the year when Split View’s dual-pane emerges, opening up new possibilities for managing windows on Mac.
13. macOS 10.12 (Sierra)
Macos High Sierra Latest Version
September 20, 2016: With Sierra, Apple shifts to the “macOS” naming. Again, more iOS perks arrive, such as unlocking a Mac with Apple Watch. There’s also a new Storage Optimization feature with a detailed overview of storage and suggestions on how to free up disk space. And, hey Siri!
14. macOS 10.13 (High Sierra)
September 25, 2017: macOS High Sierra adds a new video standard called HEIC and a transition to Apple File System (APFS), which is an improved alterantive to its predecessor file system HFS+. Apart from that, there are a few enhancements in Safari, Mail, and Photo — but nothing major.
15. macOS 10.14 (Mojave)
September 24, 2018: That’s when things go dark. We mean Dark Mode! Mac users can now move through their day-and-night routine, with the colors of the screen moving with them, thanks to Dynamic Desktop feature. There are more and more apps that arrive from iOS, including Stocks, News, and Home.
16. macOS 10.15 (Catalina)
October 7, 2019: macOS Catalina marks the death of iTunes, splitting Apple’s top-destination for media content into three dedicated apps — Music, Podcasts, and Movies. Apple continues aligning iOS and macOS with Sidecar, a feature that lets your connect an iPad screen to your Mac, and the ability for developers to port iOS apps to macOS.
source: Mobile Review
17. macOS 11 (Big Sur)
November 19, 2020: There’s no macOS 10.16, because Big Sur deserves a more epic version name — 11.0. Bringing a huge design change and transition to Apple’s M1 Macs, macOS Big Sur is the one to remember. This is the first operating system that allows running iOS apps natively on Mac — the so-called Universal apps.
18. macOS 12 (Monterey)
Fall 2021: Announced on June 7, macOS Monterey brings Shortcuts — the ability to set up quick actions with different apps to automate your flow. Apart from that, there’s Universal Control, a natural transitioning across your Mac and iOS devices (for example, you can move your cursor between Mac and iPad); redesigned Safari with tab groups, and a range of cool FaceTime enhancements. More on macOS 12 Monterey here.
What’s the latest macOS?
New operating systems for Mac not only bring new features, they bring better performance, enhanced privacy, and better workflow for those working across devices. If you’re wondering whether to upgrade to the newest macOS, we’d say yes, it’s worth it.
How to check the latest macOS on your Mac
Before you upgrade, you should find out what your current macOS is. Some macOS versions can’t be “skipped.” For example, if you want to upgrade to Lion, you should first install Snow Lion. Here’s how to check your operating system version on Mac:
- Go to Apple menu > About This Mac
- See the name of your current macOS in the Overview section
- To check for pending macOS updates, choose Software Update.
Tip: If you don’t want to upgrade, but you feel like “you have to” because your Mac is slowing down or acting weird, don’t rush into it. Check what’s wrong with iStat Menus app, a real-time system monitor that can identify any pitfalls in your system. Maybe some apps are putting pressure on your Mac or you’re low on storage. In this case, macOS update won’t help.
How to update to the latest version of macOS
Older Mac OS X releases or newest macOS, the process of updating operating systems follows the same logic:
- First, you backup your data to make it available on the new macOS
- Second, you make sure you have enough space on Mac to install new macOS
- Third, you download and install the new update.
The first step is essential. Without securely backing up your disk, you might lose access to the images, docs, and whatever essential stuff stored on Mac. We recommend Get Backup Pro or ChronoSync Express to run a backup. The former can back up selected files and the latter does a great job backing up folders. So you don’t have to back up the whole disk, with all the clutter stored on it. Here’s how to create a backup with Get Backup Pro:
- Click on the “+” button in Backups to create a new project
- Choose a destination for your backup
- Click File+ to add files for backup
- Press Start.
Back up folders with ChronoSync Express:
Macos High Sierra Latest Release 2020
- Choose “Create a new synchronization task” on the right
- Name the project
- Choose folders for backup
- Choose your backup destination
- Hit the arrow button to start backing up.
Once you’ve secured the data, go ahead and clean your Mac with CleanMyMac X. Remove clutter, system files, unused apps and app caches, etc. This way, you’ll free up lots of storage and get your Mac ready for a new macOS installation. We recommend to start with a Smart Scan, but if you want to go for a deeper cleanup, go through dedicated modules, they all work like magic.
Nice work! Now you’re ready to install macOS 12 Monterey or any other macOS version you want to try. For detailed instructions on how to update macOS, read this article.