List Of All MacOS Versions From 2001 To 2022

Apple’s laptops and desktop computers are known for featuring their own operating system. As the company has grown and strengthened its ecosystem, the macOS operating system itself has evolved.

If you’re curious how Apple’s operating system has changed over time, then this article is for you. In this article, we will guide you through the development of the first MacOS public release in 2001 and the most recent macOS Monterey announced at WWDC in 2021.

Is There Any Difference Between Mac OS X And MacOS?

The terms Mac OS X, OS X, and macOS have been used in different ways to describe Apple’s operating systems. Mac OS X was the official name through version 10.7 in 2001-2011. After 4 years, the names OS X were used.

Now Apple is using “macOS” as the official name for its operating system, like iOS and tvOS before it, it became a standard across all of Apple’s platforms.

List Of MacOS Versions

The history of Mac OS X starts with the first ancestor, Mac OS X Public Beta which was released in 2000. There was another public release of Mac OS X 10.0 in 2001. Lets visit all the main releases up to the current macOS.

Mac OS X 10.0 (Cheetah)

2001 Mac OS X Cheetah

Release Date- March 24, 2001:

Aqua made amazing and powerful advances in the development of graphical interfaces. The updated interface included support for 3D graphics, which was a huge jump forward by Apple. However, not everything was going smoothly.

A new release of Cheetah launched with a desire to “seem gorgeous” but it received criticism from Mac OS X users which had trouble maintaining performance.

Mac OS X 10.1 (Puma)

2001 Mac OS X Puma

Release Date- September 25, 2001

Puma was among the first generation of Apple’s operating systems that were named after animals. It came with a few capabilities, including improved performance and additional features such as simplified CD/DVD burning and new features in Finder.

Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar)

mac os jaguar

Release Date- August 23, 2002

Mac OS X was released for the third time in 2003 and was called Jaguar. The release added search to Finder, supporting MPEG-4 video playback in QuickTime and privacy features. Some older apps continue to live on Mac even today like, Address Book (Contacts).

Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther)

macosx103 panther

Release Date- October 24, 2003:

Safari is one of the most popular web browsers made by Apple. Released on Jaguar, Safari became the default browser in Panther and featured over 150 new features. The release of Panther gave users more enhancements and bought features like Font Book.

Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger)

macos tiger

Release Date- April 29, 2005

Apple TV began its life in 2005 with the launch of Apple’s fifth operating system, Tiger. Tiger was one major and important update as it included some highlights like Spotlight search, VoiceOver, and 200 other improvements.

Also during this time, Apple changed their processors to Intel making it the first Macs to run on Intel’s chips

Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard)

Mac OS X Leopard

Release Date- October 26, 2007

Leopard was the most Mac-changing system. The new desktop, Dock, and menus in the menu bar saw a big change.

This meta-convergence of features made it difficult for Apple to release it on time. In fact, Leopard was so jam-packed with new features that they had to postpone its initial release date.

Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)

Snow Leopard Desktop

Release Date- August 28, 2009

Many believe that Snow Leopard was the first step towards a full transition to 64-bit architecture. This transition created new applications and the App Store, which is still quite popular today. The App Store also came about around this time.

Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion)

macos lion

Release Date- July 20, 2011

Not everyone was happy about the transition from Mac OS X 10.6 to 10.7. Fortunately, Lion brought a number of useful features in both iOS and Mac OS like Launchpad and multi-touch gestures.

Apple also added features like “natural scrolling,” which had many people criticizing it at first but appears to be working out well now.

OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion)

osx mountain lion

Release Date- July 25, 2012

With the arrival of a few major apps from iOS, Mac has become a more comfortable place to manage daily routines. You could see things like app reminders, weather updates, and stock market trends without even opening Messages with the help os notification center.

OS X 10.9 (Mavericks)

OS X Mavericks

Release Date- October 22, 2013

Apple loves to make life easier for users by making their product feature-rich and very customizable. And with a focus on security, there were some new features that came out of Apple when the new operating system arrived, including password encryption and storage in iCloud Keychain, plus new features like Maps, iBooks, and Tags for the first time.

OS X 10.10 (Yosemite)

osx yosemite

Release Date- October 16, 2014

Yosemite was the biggest design change in years. From small things like font changes and color schemes, to big shifts towards flat graphics.

What’s more, Yosemite also introduced features such as Handoff and Continuity. Which once again illustrated Apple’s intention to craft an app that better fits people’s needs across devices.

OS X 10.11 (El Capitan)

os x 10 11 el capitan

Release Date- September 30, 2015

When Apple announced the release of El Capitan, they also introduced a major performance improvement. For example, opening apps on the system was now 40% faster than systems released in previous OS. Split View was also emerging as another key feature in this release.

Mac OS 10.12 (Sierra)

macos sierra

Release Date- September 20, 2016

With Sierra, Apple changed the name of their operating system to “MacOS.” In addition to more iOS perks, there’s now a feature that lets users lock and unlock their Mac with Apple Watch.

With the new Storage Optimization feature, you could see a detailed overview of your storage, and a list of ways you could free up space on your computer. Plus, you have Siri!

MacOS 10.13 (High Sierra)

macos high sierra

Release Date- September 25, 2017

macOS High Sierra was a great release! There were some improvements in Safari, Mail, and Photo — but none of the enhancements took this release from amazing to phenomenal.

MacOS 10.14 (Mojave)

macOS Mojave Messages dark mode iMac Pro screen 09242018 big.jpg.large 2x

Release Date- September 24, 2018

With the release of Mojave, Apple released Dark Mode! The Mac’s screens can now quickly change colors depending on the time of day with the use of Dynamic Desktop. More and more iOS apps were coming onto Macs as well, including Stocks and Home.

MacOS 10.15 (Catalina)

macos catalina

Release Date- October 7, 2019

Apple recently announced the launch of its new macOS Catalina operating system with the sad news of the death of iTunes. The update creates three dedicated apps: Podcasts, music and Movies. And Sidecar which lets you connect your iPad to your Mac and lets developers port iOS apps to macOS.

MacOS 11 (Big Sur)

apple macos bigsur availability redesign 11122020 big.jpg.large

Release Date- November 19, 2020

In macOS 10.16 “Big Sur” Apple introduced an update that brought a big design change to the new M1 Macs. The one thing you really need to know about this major macOS update is that it allows running iOS apps natively on your Mac.

MacOS 12 (Monterey)

Apple macos monterey shortcuts gallery 06072021 big carousel.jpg.large

Release Date- October 25, 2021

macOS Monterey has Shortcuts, which is the ability to create quick actions with different apps to automate your flow. There’s also Universal Control and revamped Safari with more tab groups.. They also created some cool new features for FaceTime.

MacOS 13 (Ventura)

Apple WWDC22 macOS Ventura Stage Manager 220606 big.jpg.large 2x

Release Date- Fall 2022

The new macOS Ventura arrives with an interface change called Stage Manager. While it’s optional, many users will choose to turn on Stage Manager because of its ability to organize windows and work spaces. Essentially, Stage Manager organizes active windows into stacks on the left side of the screen.

How To Check The Latest MacOS On Your Mac

Never install a newer operating system without first finding out what your current one is. For example, if you want to upgrade the macOS to Lion, then first install Snow Leopard. Here’s how to check your OS version on Mac:

  • In the apple menu you will find “About This Mac”
  • In the overview section you will be able to see your Current MacOS.
  • You can also choose software updates to check any pending MacOS updates.

How To Update To The Latest Version Of MacOS

The process of updating operating systems is pretty consistent. In older Mac OS X releases, it can be as quick as following these steps:

  • First backup your data, so that it is available on the new MacOS.
  • Also make sure that you have enough space on your mac to install the new MacOS.
  • Once you make sure that you have space on your Mac, you can download and install the new MacOS.

It’s important to back up your Mac before you install macOS or when you encounter any challenges that require data recovery. With Get Backup Pro or ChronoSync Express, we recommend backing up selected files so you don’t have to back up the whole disk with all its complications.

To create a backup, follow Get Backup Pro’s instructions and perform the following steps:

  • To create a new project, click on + button.
  • Select a folder for your backup.
  • To add iles, click on files+
  • Click Start.

To create a backup, follow Chrono Sync instructions and perform the following steps:

  • Click on “Create a new synchronization task” 
  • Write a name for the project.
  • Choose the folders that you want to back up.
  • Now choose where you want to backup.
  • Click on the arrow button to start backing up.

Once done, you can then install CleanMyMac. It’s hard to know where your precious data is, and how secure you are. CleanMyMac can clean up clutter, remove system files, unused apps and app caches, etc. that nibble away at your available storage.

Himangi is passionate about keeping up with the ever-evolving landscape of technology. In her free time, she indulges her interests in neuroscience and art.


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