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Mac Operating Systems in Order | An Overview | 2021

Mac Adviser

Mar 3, 2021

The Mac operating systems have had a pretty interesting history. They were the original alternative to Windows, and now they are one of the most popular operating systems in the world. This blog post will all the Mac operating systems in order, from their first release to today’s latest version. We’ll also talk about how they’ve changed through the years and what you can expect from each system going forward!

Apple released the Lisa with a GUI in 1983, but it was costly, slow, and used floppy disks coupled with a tiny 5 MB hard disk drive. In the short two years that the Lisa was on the market, it sold hardly 10,000 units.

System 1 revolutionized the computing industry, allowing users to navigate through a graphical interface easily. The first Mac’s System 1 set a precedent for what would become commonplace in all of Apple’s later devices:

  • Easy-to-navigate icons and draggable items that can be moved around on multiple desktops at will.
  • An intuitive cursor system with single left click navigation or scrolling capabilities when combined with a mouse wheel button.
  • Copy/paste functionality via keyboard shortcuts, menu options, and contextual menus (think “select”), as well as visual appearance customization by changing themes – like choosing from sky blue gradient backgrounds instead of bluish-white ones.

Systems 1-4

In 1987, System 1 through 4 brought a few enhancements. System 2 introduced multiple folders and taking screenshots using. (Command-Shift-3) System 2.1 brought Hierarchical File System ( HFS), which has actual directories specifically designed to support Apple Hard Disk 20 System 3 brought 800K startup drives to the early Apple computing, SCSI for connectivity with scanners, printers, and storage. They also integrated networking in their first model of computer, which was called AppleShare. System 4.1 was the first Mac to support a Motorola 68020 CPU, expansion slots, and color display of the Macintosh II- making it one of Apple’s most powerful machines.

Mac Operating Systems in Order

System 5 and 6

Apple introduced a package titled “Apple Macintosh System Software Update 5.0” in 1987, and it was the first time that they were offering their operating system as its retail product with four 800K disks for $49. System 6 also brought support for the Motorola 68030 CPU and 1.44MB SuperDrive floppy, which made it a popular upgrade choice among Mac users at the time because of these two new features alone.

System 7

Apple’s System 7 was the most long-lived operating system that they ever made. It offered more stability, virtual memory support, and a scripting language called AppleScript in 1987 which is still used today for automation purposes as part of Automator. This time period also marked when Apple started using PowerPC processors on their Mac line with the release of OS7 8 years later in 1994. In 1997, they removed all mention to “System” from its name because it had become so popular that people were installing third party versions illegally as well!

The System 7 era marked the dawn of a new day in Macintosh technology. To many, this was an exciting time as they witnessed how Macs were constantly evolving and improving themselves to accommodate for technological advances that would come along over the next several years. Apple’s System 7 was the most long-lived operating system that they ever made. It offered more stability, virtual memory support, and a scripting language called AppleScript in 1987, which is still used today for automation purposes as part of Automator. This period also marked when Apple started using PowerPC processors on their Mac line.

Mac OS 8

The story of Mac OS 8 is a fascinating one. Shortly after Steve Jobs returned to Apple from his NeXT adventure, the company released its newest operating system as a tribute and celebration for their return leader. Originally named “Mac OS 7-7” by its developers in homage to the years spent without Jobs’ leadership at Apple, he quickly renamed it so that third parties could not clone or use licensing agreements. Exploiting this legal loophole meet Jobs’s goal of ending the Macintosh clone market.

Apple’s operating system, Mac OS 8.1, brought many improvements and features to an updated version of their Hierarchical File System named HFS+, which was used up until macOS High Sierra.

Mac OS 9 | The last major revision of the classic Mac OS

Mac OS 9 was released on October 23, 1999. This operating system brought with it increased support for AirPort wireless networking and early implementation of multi-user functionality. It also introduced on-the-fly file encryption software that included code signing and the Keychain technologies that are still used today to store passwords securely in iOS devices such as iPhones or iPads.

OS X 10 beta: Kodiak

The Mac OS X Public Beta was the first publicly available version of Apple Mac OSx, released on September 13, 2020.

The Public Beta came with many of the standard programs we are using today. Such as TextEdit, Preview, Mail, QuickTime Player, and Terminal.

OS X 10.0: Cheetah

Mac OS X is the first major release of Mac OS on March 24, 2001, priced at $129. The Finder looked much different in the new OS. The GUI was called Aqua, and it had many translucent features, soft edges, and anti-aliasing to make it look more “realistic.” There were colorful iMacs that matched this interface and made for a seamless transition into a green world of technology.

OS X 10.1: Puma

Version 10.1 was released on September 25, 2001. Apple employees handed out the operating system for no charge after Steve Jobs‘ keynote speech at the Seybold publishing conference. This release brought DVD playback support, easier CD and DVD burning, improved AppleScript, and 

Mac Operating Systems in Order | An Overview Mac_OS_X_10.1_Puma_screenshot

OS X 10.2: Jaguar

Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) was released on August 23, 2002.

The team at Apple has been hard at work, introducing new features that we all know and love today. They introduced the system-wide Address Book to store all of your contacts in one place. Inkwell handwriting recognition is another helpful feature while QuickTime® 6 comes equipped with MPEG 4 footage for better quality video clips.

Mac Operating Systems in Order | An Overview Jaguar_on_G4

OS X 10.3 Panther

The next major release of the world’s most advanced operating system was Mac OS X version 10.3 “Panther,” and was released on October 24, 2003. OS X panther brought more than 150 breakthrough new features, including a completely new Finder that provides one-click access to your favorite files and folders; Exposé for revolutionary instant viewing of all open windows with just one click; and iChat AV as an easy way to video conference between business clients or students in different countries – it is a complete desktop software solution

Mac Operating Systems in Order | An Overview Panther

OS X 10.4 Tiger

Released in April of 2005, Tiger delivered more than 200 new features and innovations, including Spotlight, a revolutionary desktop search technology that lets users instantly find anything stored on their Mac. They could even find information such as documents, email contacts, or images. The Dashboard was also included with Tiger, allowing quick access to important info like weather forecasts and stock quotes through widgets of all different types. The first “Mac-based” Apple TVs used a modified variant of Tiger as the operating system.

Mac Operating Systems in Order | An Overview TigerDesk

OS X 10.5 Leopard

After Tiger was released, Mac enthusiasts waited for beyond two years for 10.5 Leopard to arrive in October of 2007. Leopard was the much-awaited operating system with over 300 features, including stacks for easy access to files on your dock. It also included redesigned Finder so you could easily browse and share files between multiple Macs across the world! And don’t forget about Quick Look so users who have quick glimpses at their file without opening an application. Spaces was a new feature that created groups of applications with one click. Time Machine was first introduced and was a huge step to back up your Mac automatically.

Mac Operating Systems in Order | An Overview Leopard_Desktop

OS X 10.5 Leopard

After Tiger was released, Mac enthusiasts waited for beyond two years for 10.5 Leopard to arrive in October of 2007. Leopard was the much-awaited operating system with over 300 features, including stacks for easy access to files on your dock. It also included redesigned Finder so you could easily browse and share files between multiple Macs across the world! And don’t forget about Quick Look so users who have quick glimpses at their file without opening an application. Spaces was a new feature that created groups of applications with one click. Time Machine was first introduced and was a huge step to back up your Mac automatically.

OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Apple users yet again had to wait another two-year before Snow Leopard was released in 2009. Snow Lep[ard didn’t change the appearance of the OS as much as it improved the performance and stability.Snow Leopard was an even more powerful and refined version of the world’s most advanced operating system. It built on a decade of OS X innovation with hundreds of refinements, new core technologies, pre-installed Microsoft Exchange support, along accessibility features for those who need them.

OS X 10.7 Lion

In 2011, Apple release 10.7 Lion, the eighth major release of the world’s most advanced operating system at the time, with more than 250 new features and a sleek interface that made it easier to navigate your computer’s applications. Some fantastic features included Multi-Touch gestures; Mission Control, an innovative view of everything running on your Mac; Launchpad for easy access to all programs installed on a PC or laptop, as well as Mail App for quick communication across multiple devices.

Mac Operating Systems in Order | An Overview Mac_OSX_Lion_screen

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

With Mountain Lion’s release in 2012, beginning the yearly operating system releases. OS X Moutain Lion came with more than 200 innovative new features. Mountain Lion includes:

  • iCloud integration.
  • An all-new Messages app with Facebook integration.
  • Notification Center.
  • AirPlay Mirroring
  • Game Center.
  • System-wide Sharing
  • iMessage replaced iChat

OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Apple released OS X Mavericks in October of 2003. With more than 200 new features. OS X Mavericks brought iBooks( now know as Books) and Maps to the Mac and included a new Safari version. The new OS also enhanced multi-display support and introduced Finder Tabs and Tags.

OS X 10.11: Yosemite

 In 2014, Mac users were treated to 10.10 Yosemite – and it was an immersive experience from start to finish. The fresh design resembled iOS 7’s flat look made more efficient use of space on smaller screens. Handoff enabled seamless transitions between devices by allowing iPhone owners with SMS or emails open in their phone apps to answer them right away on their MacBooks without having to close out all tabs first. The Photos app replaced both iPhoto and Aperture.

OS X 10.11: El Capitan

Released in September of 2015, El Capitan provided users an enhanced Mac experience with faster system performance and improvements in some built-in apps like Spotlight search, Mail app, Safari browser, etc. The highlight of this update is its graphics integration Metal which provides additional speed for game developers and everyday activities on your computer such as launching applications or accessing email more quickly than before!

Mac Operating Systems in Order | macOS Era

macOS 10.12: Sierra

In 2016, we saw the change to the naming convention for the Macintosh operating system, now called macOS. In macOS Sierra, Siri came to Mac, allowing you to use all of the features that are so popular on iOS devices right from your desktop. With Universal Clipboard and iCloud Desktop and Documents, it was more accessible than ever for Apple products to work together seamlessly. The Photos app was updated with the Memories feature, which organized photos into collections based on most trips or family events.

macOS 10.13: High Sierra

High Sierra was released in 2017, with its top new feature was introducing the first new Mac file system in a long time – Apple File System (APFS). 

Mac users get several new features that make their everyday lives easier and more enjoyable with macOS High Sierra. The Core ML developer framework made it easier to create apps with powerful machine learning capabilities which can predict, learn and eventually become smarter than ever before. A revamped Photos app allowed for better organization methods while also providing an improved editing experience when working on projects such as slideshows or movies. Safari has been upgraded in this release, too, allowing you to do things like look up words without leaving the web page by highlighting the words first and pressing the control-command space bar (once).

Mac Operating Systems in Order | An Overview macos-sierra-desktop

macOS 10.14: Mojave

The fifteenth major release of macOS, Mojave, was released on June 4, 2018. macOS Mojave was a game-changing OS from Apple that featured an all-new Dark Mode, Dynamic Desktop, which changed images based on the time of day and Stacks to organize messy desktops. The arrival of familiar iOS apps like News, Home, and Voice Memos made Mac users happy while they’re working in macOS Mojave’s newly redesigned App Store with rich editorial content for finding your next favorite app!

Mojave was the first version of the operating system to need a GPU that supported Metal.

macOS 10.15: Catalina

In 2019 macOS Catalina was released and was an impressive update for Macs. Apple Arcade was introduced, allowing you to play new games from some of the globe’s most innovative developers. Apple introduced new versions of Apple Music, Podcasts, and TV apps. This was the first appearance of Sidecar, which allowed your iPad to act as a second display. Voice Control? Yes, voice control was also introduced to help those with disabilities. This revolutionary accessibility feature lets you control everything on your device by simply talking aloud.

macOS 11: Big Sur

Here we are at present. Big Sur ultimately moved the Mac past version 10. 

Big Sur is packed with new enhancements for the key apps, including Safari, Messages, and Maps, and improved privacy features. It was engineered down to its core to take full advantage of the power of the M1 chip to make macOS even better on the 13-inch MacBook Pro, Airs, and Mac minis. The combination of Big Sur’s performance capabilities alongside a newly optimized operating system makes it easier than ever before for users while maintaining everything they love about their Apple product. macOS 11 marked the change to Apple Silicon, as Apple begins to move away from Intel processors.

Mac Operating Systems in Order | An Overview

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