By Jenny Posted to Home > wiki, updated on July 15th, 2021

Originally published on November 14th, 2005. Below the break is a table showing all major releases of macOS (previously Mac OS X) from the public beta through the latest public version, which is 11.5.2, as of August 11th, 2021 —the 153rd release in total. Note: Click the ⓘ symbol to read Apple's release notes for a given update. After installation is complete, your Mac might restart to a setup assistant. If you're selling, trading in, or giving away your Mac, press Command-Q to quit the assistant without completing setup. Then click Shut Down. When the new owner starts up the Mac, they can use their own information to complete setup. The first desktop version of the Mac OS X operating system was Mac OS X 10.0, released in March 2001. Except for the first Mac OS X beta, Apple named all Mac OS X series versions and OS X 10.8 after big cats from Cheetah to Mountain Lion. Here, we will introduce the last two legendary OS X releases that's still in use. (1) Mac OS X 10. Update macOS to the newest version in 2019. Use About This Mac to check the version of Mac operating system installed, and find out whether it's the latest (newest, most recent) version. Which macOS version is installed? From the Apple menu in the corner of your screen, choose About This Mac.

Summary: From this post, you can quickly learn all Mac OS versions from the latest to the oldest. It emphasizes the features and defects of each macOS version.

The Mac operating system is the second most widely-used operating system targeted for Apple's Mac family of personal computers. It's praised for the straightforward graphical interface and high security but criticized for updating problems and hardware limitations. We will walk you through three categories of Mac operating systems - macOS, OS X and Mac OS X, from the lastest the the oldest.

List of macOS version releases

Here’s an overview of all versions of macOS and Mac OS X Apple has released along with public and internal code names (if available):

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard (Chablis) - 26 October 2007

Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger (Merlot) - 29 April 2005

Mac OS X 10.3 Panther (Pinot) - 24 October 2003

Mac OS X 10.2: Jaguar - 24 August 2002

Mac OS X 10.1: Puma - 25 September 2001

Mac OS X 10.0: Cheetah - 24 March 2001

Mac OS X 10 beta: Kodiak - 13 September 2000

macOS

Apple changed the name 'OS X' to 'macOS' in 2016, adopting the nomenclature they were using for their other operating systems, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. As the latest series of Mac operating systems, let's see what's new here.

(1) macOS 12 Monterey

MacOS 12 Monterey has its public beta released at the beginning of July 2021. It’s mainly focused on apps such as FaceTime and Notes that users share with iPhones and iPads. The headline-grabber is the Universal Control, which allows people to control multiple Apple devices with a single mouse and keyboard. However, this feature is not running in the public beta of Monterey yet.

Users can use Airplay To Mac to stream audio and videos from other devices to an iMac display. The improved handling of tabs in Safari will simplify life by allowing people to open and close entire tab groups as needed quickly. Live Text and Short Cuts are also added to this new version.

These macOS 12 powerful features intrigue people to see the final release of Monterey with all the problems fixed. It is compatible with all Macs with Apple silicon and some models with Intel CPUs. Notably, it doesn’t support Macs featuring Nvidia Brand GPUs. If you want to know more about the solutions for current bugs, read macOS Monterey Problmes and Fixes.


Source: zinznjj.com

Latest Mac Os 2019

(2) macOS 11 Big Sur

MacOS 11 Big Sur was released on November 12, 2020, named after a coastal area in California. It is a step of cohering its user experience across Apple devices. iPhone and iPad users may feel newly familiar with Big Sur since the redesign adds up to an aesthetic that is closer to iOS. MacOS Big Sur update and Apple silicon transition that happened subsequently were two significant events in 2020. Big Sur is the first macOS for Macs powered by the M1 chips that natively run iOS and iPadOS applications. It also allows faster backups on APFS-based Time Machine.

Latest Mac Os Catalina

The interface with full-height sidebars and refreshed Dock accommodating uniform square icons with rounded edges display its main design change. Safari, Maps, and Messages are all updated with useful new features such as providing guides that allow you to discover new palaces to explore and cycling directions that you can send to your iPhone.

Moreover, the Control Center that we enjoyed for years on iPhones is finally on Macs. You can now access the controls you use most such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirDrop controls, Do not Disturb, and more, with a simple click on the Control Center button from the menu bar. Unfortunately, Big Sur dropped support for some Macs released in 2012 and 2013.

If you encounter data loss when updating, please read How to Fix macOS Big Sur Problems.

(3) macOS 10.15 Catalina

Released in 2019, macOS Catalina comes with three striking new apps: Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts. These three apps provide you with beautiful songs, fantastic movies and TV shows, and exciting radio broadcasts. What's more, tired of switching from your iPad to MacBook? Don't worry! Catalina now can create Mac apps from the iPad apps you run for daily use. This design connects your iPad and MacBook, which achieves the integration of the Mac operating system.

Catalina also brings some problems. First, it is incompatible with MacBook Air and Pros before 2012. Second, Catalina ends the support for 32-bit applications. You'll have to find replacements for these apps if you still want to run them with the Catalina operating system. Third, just like its predecessor, Mojave, the enhanced security of Catalina keeps requiring you to confirm to run certain apps.

(4) macOS 10.14 Mojave

Apple released macOS 10.14 Mojave on June 4, 2018, with new features including the brilliant introduction of dark mode, which is refreshing for users, image-management features built into QuickLook, a more informative App Store, etc.

The Mojave operating system also has its flaws. With increased security measures, the user has to give apps permission to do things they've been doing all along, which can be annoying. Also, every new operating system may face incompatibility with previous software, which could cause data loss after updating to macOS Mojave.


Source: macexpertguide.com

(5) macOS 10.12 Sierra and macOS 10.13 High Sierra

Released in 2016, new features of macOS 10.12 Sierra include the addition of Siri, optimized storage, and updates to Photos, Messages, and iTunes. The introduction of Siri can be a ground-breaking design for Mac operating system. With the help of Siri, we can quickly find the documents and get access to the file without wasting too much time.

MacOS 10.13 High Sierra was released one year later. Like OS X El Capitan and OS X Mountain Lion, this operating system is also a refinement-based update having very few new features. Nevertheless, sometimes it's the small change that makes a big difference. The highlight of this version is the use of the new Apple File System(APFS), which changes how data is stored and organized.


Source: osxdaily.com

OS X

Apple shortened the name 'Mac OS X' to 'OS X' in 2012 and switched to landmarks in California to name operating systems since OS X 10.9 Mavericks. Here are some representative operating systems from OS X.

(1) OS X 10.11 El Capitan

Released in 2015, instead of introducing significant changes, Apple described OS X 10.11 El Capitan as containing 'refinements to the Mac experience' and 'improvements to system performance' rather than new features. OS X 10.11 El Capitan offers battery and speed improvements, improved language support, and mission control for its pros. Separate windows make it more convenient for users to switch from one to another.

Latest

As for the cons, though El Capitan has enhanced security, however, you can't have your cake and eat it. Because of the enhanced security, some functions don't work anymore. For example, new security features in El Capitan prevent some free utilities from changing default folder icons, and the old paste-into-Get-Info method doesn't work either.


Source: techcrunch.com

(2) OS X 10.10 Yosemite

Released in 2014, Yosemite features a redesigned user interface similar to that of iOS 7. It also features the new concept 'handoff,' enabling 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. These features bridge the gap between the computer and the smartphone.

As for its weaknesses, first, the system font won't likely cater to everyone's taste. Second, notifications can pile up and may drive you crazy if loads of things are waiting to be done.


Source: oceanofdmg.com

(3) OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Released in 2013, the highlight of Mavericks was that it was a free upgrade to all users running Snow Leopard or later with a 64-bit Intel processor. The changes of Mavericks included the addition of the previously iOS-only Maps and iBooks applications, improvements to the Notification Center, and many under-the-hood improvements.

For its cons, though you can see the links shared by others with the revamped Safari, shared links in Safari don't support Facebook, and you might feel offended if you are a Facebook lover. Also, though Mavericks tries to fulfill the target of multitasking, it still feels limited when you run the computer.


Source: yellownerd.com

(4) OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

Since the release of Mountain Lion in 2012, Apple started to offer new releases of the Mac operating system on an annual basis as its iOS updates. Critics praised the new Notification Center, Messages, and speed improvements but condemned the unreliable iCloud and Game center lacking games.

It's worth mentioning that Mountain Lion introduced more Chinese features, including support for Baidu as an option for Safari search engine, QQ, 163.com, and 126.com services for Mail, etc. AirPlay Mirroring is an exciting feature borrowed from iOS, but it supports only a subset of Macs compatible with Mountain Lion.


Source:cn.go-travels.com

Mac OS X

The first desktop version of the Mac OS X operating system was Mac OS X 10.0, released in March 2001. Except for the first Mac OS X beta, Apple named all Mac OS X series versions and OS X 10.8 after big cats from Cheetah to Mountain Lion. Here, we will introduce the last two legendary OS X releases that's still in use.

(1) Mac OS X 10.7 Lion

In 2011, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion presented Apple’s first step to bring iOS concepts to Macs. For example, reverse scrolling and auto-hiding Scroll bars that disappear when not in use. It also introduced an easily navigable display of installed applications called Launchpad and, more importantly, documents auto-save by default. You don't have to struggle for the unsaved documents anymore!

Apple has allowed free downloads of Mac OS X Lion since June 2021. Nevertheless, Many minor modifications, including gestures, scrolling direction, visibility, and different way of resizing windows, may frustrate long-term Mac users. And it abandoned Mac OS X software written for the PowerPC processor that works fine with Snow Leopard.


Source: twintree383.weebly.com

(2) Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Released in 2009, Snow Leopard meant to be a refinement for its predecessor, Leopard.

Most of its changes, such as rewriting the Finder application, are not intended for users to see. Therefore, users may experience few changes in the user interface. It received positive feedback for its low price and increased performance and efficiency.

However, like Leopard, Snow Leopard does not support macOS 9/Classic software at all. The release of Snow Leopard also marked the switch of distribution from the optical disc to the App Store.


Source: deviantart.com

Which Mac operating system is the best so far?

The answer to this question may vary from case to case. Generally speaking, the best macOS version is the latest one that your Mac is eligible to upgrade to. There are a couple of reasons for that conclusion:

  1. Apple updates operating systems annually with improved features and better security. The latest version is more likely to save you from bugs older versions can’t fix.
  2. As App developers updating their products, older versions of operating systems will roll off the supporting matrix. If your operating system is incompatible with the upgraded apps, you may find yourself stuck with the old ones.

However, if you need to run some legacy apps on Mac, Mojave is the final version of macOS to support 32-bit software.

Updated and republished for macOS 11.6; skip it unless you really really care about all the macOS releases. Originally published on November 14th, 2005.

Below the break is a table showing all major releases of macOS (previously Mac OS X) from the public beta through the latest public version, which is 11.6, as of September 13th, 2021—the 154th release in total.

Note: Click the ⓘ symbol to read Apple's release notes for a given update.

The following was culled from Apple's support downloads page, and as such, some of the dates may be off just a bit. If you know for certain that something is incorrect, please let me know and I'll get it fixed. (Scroll to see all entries.)

Date
Version
Comments
2021Sep 133411.62.64 GB
Aug 111511.5.22.5 GB
Jul 26511.5.12.2 GBⓘ Patch for exploited security issue
Jul 215811.52.9 GB
May 242111.43.1 GB
May 3711.3.13.3 GBⓘ Security update only?
Apr 264911.35.71 GB
Mar 81111.2.32.44 GB
Feb 251611.2.22.17 GB
Feb 9811.2.12.43 GB
Feb 14911.23.25 GB
2020Dec 142511.13.27 GB
Nov 19711.0.12.81 GBⓘ First general release of Big Sur
Nov 12711.012.18 GBBig Sur - 11.0 only shipped on M1 Macs
Nov 54310.15.7 SU11.21 GB
Sep 234210.15.72.86 GB
Aug 122810.15.6 SU13.22 GB
Jul 154410.15.63.35 GB
Jun 1610.15.5 SU11.59 GB
May 264810.15.53.37 GB
May 21--10.14.6 SU4151 MBFixes a launch issue for certain 32-bit apps
Apr 81510.15.4 SU11.38 GB
Mar 245610.15.43.0 GB
Jan 284910.15.33.0 GB
2019Dec 104210.15.23.0 GB
Oct 291410.15.14.5 GB
Oct 15810.15 SU1985 MBNo info page
Oct 71110.154.9 GBCatalina - You need more permission!
Sep 263110.14.6 SU31.32 GB
Aug 262510.14.6 SU21.25 GB
Aug 11010.14.6 SU1949 MB
Jul 227010.14.62.7 GB
May 134910.14.52.5 GB
Mar 256210.14.42.8 GB
Jan 224810.14.32.0 GB
2018Dec 52810.14.22.5 GB
Nov 7810.14.1 SU11.3 GBⓘ For 2018 MacBook Air
Oct 303610.14.13.3 GB
Sep 242710.145.2 GBⓘ Mojave - You need permission!
Aug 283810.13.6 SU21.32 GBⓘ For 2018 Touch Bar MBP…again
Jul 241510.13.6 SU11.31 GBⓘ For 2018 Touch Bar MBP
Jul 93810.13.61.32 GBⓘ AirPlay 2
Jun 16410.13.52.12 GBⓘ Messages in iCloud
Mar 293710.13.42.36 GBⓘ Sortable Safari bookmarks!!
Feb 202810.13.3 SU40.4 MBⓘ Indian character/Messages crash fix
Jan 233310.13.31.97 GB
Jan 83310.13.2 SU633.6 MBⓘ Spectre and Meltdown fixes
2017Dec 63610.13.22.08 GB
Oct 312610.13.11.47 GB
Oct 51010.13 SU915 MBⓘ Addresses two security issues
Sep 256810.134.8 GBⓘ High Sierra - Higher in the mountains?
Jul 196510.12.61.98 GB
May 154910.12.51.57 GB
Mar 276310.12.41.56 GBⓘ Night Shift
Jan 234110.12.31.05 GB
2016Dec 135010.12.21.94 GB
Oct 243410.12.11.36 GB
Sep 206410.124.77 GBⓘ Sierra - Still in the mountains.
Jul 186310.11.6759 MB
May 165710.11.5759 MB
Mar 206110.11.41.58 GB
Jan 194110.11.3662 MB
2015Dec 94910.11.21.4 GB
Oct 212110.11.11.19 GB
Sep 304810.116.08 GBⓘ El Capitan - Go climb something!
Aug 134410.10.51.02 GB
Jun 307510.10.41.09 GB
Apr 16810.10.3 SU1.8 MBⓘ Supplemental Update
Apr 87110.10.31.52 GBⓘ Includes Photos app
Jan 277110.10.2544 MB
2014Nov 173210.10.1311 MB
Oct 162910.105.2 GBⓘ Yosemite - No surfers here.
Sep 177910.9.5139 MB
Jun 304610.9.4283 MB
May 157910.9.3461 MB
Feb 257110.9.2460 MB
2013Dec 165510.9.1243.4 MB
Oct 221910.95.3 GBⓘ Mavericks - All out of big cats!
Oct 32110.8.5 SU19.6 MBⓘ Supplemental Update
Sep 1210010.8.5273.7 MB
Jun 48210.8.4152.0 MB
Mar 1416110.8.3249.0 MB
2012Oct 41510.8.2 SU26.7 MBⓘ Supplemental Update
Sep 192710.8.2665.5 MB
Aug 232910.8.124.2 MB
Jul 257710.84.1 GBⓘ Mountain Lion - App Store only
Oct 41510.7.5 SU2.0 MBⓘ Supplemental Update
Sep 1913310.7.51.1 GBⓘ Released w/ 10.8.2
May 99810.7.4692.7 MB
Feb 111210.7.31.3 GBⓘ Only combo updater available
2011Oct 125610.7.2768.8 MBⓘ Now iCloud enabled
Aug 172910.7.179.3 MB
Jul 192610.74.1 GBⓘ Lion - App Store only (USB stick later)
Jun 239410.6.8453.6 MBⓘ App Store readied for Lion
Mar 217410.6.7475 MB
Jan 65710.6.6143.6 MBⓘ Can you say 'App Store?'
2010Nov 1014810.6.5644.5 MB
Jun 157810.6.4607.2 MB
Mar 2914010.6.3719.2 MB
2009Nov 96010.6.2473 MB
Sep 101310.6.171.5 MB
Aug 282310.62.31 GBⓘ Snow Leopard - First Intel-only release
Aug 58510.5.8274 MB
May 1214810.5.7442 MB
2008Dec 159110.5.6372 MB
Sep 157710.5.5316 MB
Jun 303310.5.488 MB
May 2810710.5.3420 MB
Feb 118810.5.2343 MBⓘ Combo updater only
2007Nov 152010.5.1110 MB
Oct 2612810.52.15 GBⓘ Leopard - First universal binary release
Nov 1414710.4.11128 MBⓘ This '10' goes to '11'
Jun 209910.4.1072 MB
Mar 1316510.4.9160 MB
2006Sep 299410.4.8206 MB
Jun 278510.4.7133 MB
Apr 34810.4.6163 MB
Feb 143510.4.516 MB
Jan 107110.4.455 MBⓘ First Intel-capable release
2005Oct 3111110.4.397 MB
Jul 125710.4.244 MB
May 161710.4.137 MB
Apr 291410.41.78 GBⓘ Tiger
Apr 156510.3.951.3 MB
Feb 95610.3.826.6 MB
2004Dec 154010.3.797 MBⓘ Combo updater only
Nov 58810.3.634 MB
Aug 97510.3.5???
May 267210.3.479 MBⓘ Combo updater only
Mar 158910.3.370 MBⓘ Combo updater only
2003Dec 173710.3.236.9 MB
Nov 101710.3.11.5 MB
Oct 242110.31.54 GBⓘ Panther
Oct 35710.2.840 MB
Sep 2213910.2.7???Only for certain G5s/G4s
May 62610.2.626 MB
Apr 105610.2.581.9 MB
Feb 135610.2.476 MB
2002Dec 193810.2.351 MB
Nov 115410.2.224.4 MB
Sep 182610.2.116.3 MBⓘ Update not available?
Aug 237910.21.03 GBⓘ Jaguar
Jun 54710.1.545.1 MBⓘ Combo updater only
Apr 195710.1.41.7 MB
Feb 216210.1.316 MB
2001Dec 213710.1.229.2 MB
Nov 145010.1.113.8 MB
Sep 259510.1989 MBⓘ Puma
Jun 224410.0.412 MB
May 9810.0.315 MB
May 11510.0.215 MBReleased but replaced (see comments)
Apr 162310.0.14 MB
Mar 2419210.0659 MBⓘ Cheetah
2000Sep 13--10.0β676 MBⓘ Public Beta

Note: The Days column reflects the number of days between releases.

Some entries may appear out of chronological order (i.e. 10.5 is shown on Oct 26, but above Nov 14 for 10.4.11). This is to keep the version numbers in the proper order, even when an older OS received an update after a major new release came out. This has happened a few times over the years.

Some random notes, updated from the original post:

Latest Mac Os 2019
  • Starting with the Public Beta and up through 11.6, there have been 154 macOS releases, both major and minor. This figure includes the one odd macOS X release: 10.2.7. This version was only for the then-new PowerMac G5 and the flat panel iMac G4, and was never generally released.
  • As of September 13th, 2021 (11.6's release date), it's been 7,670 days since the Public Beta was released. So on average, we've seen some sort of update every 50.1 days.
  • The shortest time period between any two releases is six days, which is how quickly the 10.15.5 Supplemental Update 1 came out after the 10.15.5 release.
  • The longest time period between any two minor releases is 165 days, which was how long we waited for the 10.4.9 update. (Tecnically, it's actually the 192 day interval between the Mac OS X Public Beta and version 10.0, but I'm counting from the official 10.0 release.)
  • The smallest update was 10.3.1, at only 1.5MB. The largest (non-combo, non-main OS release) update was 10.15.1 at 5.3GB.
  • The '???' entry for Size on a given release indicates I was unable to find the size. Feel free to contact me if you can help replace any of the '???' entries.

And now, gratuitous graphics…

Releases by version number

Releases by year

A special 'thank you!' goes to Mr. Ziebell (for providing some size values on very-old minor updates), and to Benton Quest (for providing size info on all the major releases up through Snow Leopard). See Benton's comment below if you want a nicely detailed history of those early releases.

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