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Apple macOS (formerly Mac OS X) is the operating system for Apple Macintosh computers,[1] first released to the public on March 24, 2001. It is the successor to Mac OS 9, hence the X signifying both its Unix roots and the major release version number 10. As mentioned by Apple, Wikipedia, and others, it is said as Mac OS 10. It shares none of the "Classic" Mac OS design, and is completely rewritten and uses Next frameworks, a hybrid XNU/Mach kernel, and a BSD subsystem dubbed "Darwin". While underlying components of OS X are free/open source software, the top layers, such as the Aqua UI, are proprietary; Darwin packages can be downloaded and compiled from the Apple Open Source website to make a bootable OS.

Mac OS X has been built for three different architectures and four platforms during its release cycle to date. The first six releases (10.0.0-10.5.8) were designed for the PowerPC architecture, adding 64-bit PowerPC support as an additional platform for the G5 in 10.3 Panther. Intel (x86) support started with 10.4.4 Tiger, and was built as a universal release for both PowerPC/x86 with 10.5 Leopard, which finally dropped all G3 support. Since 10.6, PowerPC support is non-existent/dropped, and Mac OS X is currently designed for Mac computers with Intel 32-bit (x86) and Intel 64-bit (x86_64) architectures. AMD is not currently officially supported. Starting with 10.7 "Lion", Mac OS X is now referred to simply as "OS X".[2]

The "iPhone OS" or iOS, which powers the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad[3] is a direct descendant of OS X, and shares its design and many internal frameworks. The previous version of OS X is "Yosemite" (10.10), released on October 16, 2014.[4] macOS Sierra (10.12 internally) is currently in development, scheduled for this Fall.[5] Developer previews and Public Betas are available.[6]

As (Mac) OS X: 2001-2015


Release Version Internal name Architecture Additional information
Mac OS X Server 1.0-1.2.3 Rhapsody5.3 G3 Beige - early G4 (ppc) Early developer releases of Mac OS X based on the Rhapsody OS.
Mac OS X Developer Preview DP1-4 Rhapsody G3 Beige - some G4s (ppc) Introduced YellowBox, BlueBox, and Aqua (DP3+); the series that led to Beta.
Mac OS X Public Beta 10.0.1H39 Kodiak G3 Beige - G4 (ppc32) Official beta for participating users; famously had no Apple menu.
Mac OS X Cheetah 10.0 Cheetah G3 Beige - G4 (ppc32) The gold release of Mac OS X. While revolutionary, Cheetah was slow and lacked labels, burn support, and other features.
Mac OS X Puma 10.1 Puma G3 Beige - G4 (ppc32) Incremental update to 10.0, which fixed bugs, optimized the system, and added Burn support. Offered free to affected 10.0 users at the time.
Mac OS X Jaguar 10.2 Jaguar G3 Beige - G4 (ppc32) First major upgrade for Mac OS X, with a marketed 150 new features. It is also the first to sport a feline theme and its codename on the box.
Mac OS X Panther 10.3 Panther G3/G4 (ppc32), G5 (ppc64) Second major upgrade for Mac OS X. Introduced Expose, FileVault, rapid search APIs, G5 support, and a new Finder.
Mac OS X Tiger 10.4 Tiger G3/G4 (ppc32), G5 (ppc64), x86/x64 Introduced Spotlight, Dashboard, H.264 support, and was the first to run on x86 (10.4.7+). It is the longest running release ever with 11 updates.
Mac OS X Leopard 10.5 Leopard G4 (ppc32), G5 (ppc64), x86/x64 Introduced Cocoa Finder with QuickLook, Spaces, Time Machine, and visual overhaul. Last version to support G4/G5, and only unified x86/x64/ppc(64) release on one disc.
Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 Snow Leopard Intel x86/x64 Optimized $29 successor to 10.5. It is the last version for 32-bit x86 (Core Solo/Duo).
Mac OS X Lion 10.7 Lion Intel x64 First release to require x64, and the first digital (non-optical) release. Introduced Autosave, fullscreen app support, Mission Control, the Mac App Store, Launchpad, and many other features for $19.99. It is the last release to not require efi64 (late 2008 and later).
OS X Mountain Lion 10.8 Mountain Lion Intel x64 $19.99 upgrade to Lion, with Gatekeeper, better memory protection, improved scrolling and Autosave control, tweaked applications, and new iOS inspired applications (Notes, Reminders). Dropped 'Mac' in the OS X title, and requires an x64 EFI, which obsoleted several 64-bit Macs.
OS X Mavericks 10.9 Mavericks Intel x64 First release to drop the feline theme, named after California landmarks. First release of OS X since 10.1 to be free to Mac users. Introduced major core system improvements since Snow Leopard, including timed coalescing, memory compression, and energy tweaks.
OS X Yosemite 10.10 Yosemite Intel x64 Features a redesign of the UI to match iOS 7, Swift, an all-new Spotlight, Handoff support, Continuity, widgets, and more. Adds Extensions (ode to classic), and a dark mode for the Dock and Menubar.
OS X El Capitan 10.11 El Capitan Intel x64 Introduces filters for Spotlight, SIP, and overall improvements to the system like 10.6 and 10.9.

As macOS: 2016-present


Release Version Internal name Architecture Additional information
macOS Sierra 10.12 Sierra Intel x64 Visually changes the name for the first time since 2001. It has added Siri to the Mac, Optimized Storage, watchOS paired unlocking, improved Swift, universal Clipboard and Tabs, and APFS support. It is the first release since 10.8 to shift requirements.


  1. OS X running on Macs OS X page on
  2. Mac OS X is now called OS X OS X page on
  3. iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad are powered by iOS iOS page on
  4. The latest version is 10.11.5 OS X page on
  5. Development of macOS Sierra macOS Sierra preview page on
  6. Developer Previews Public Betas are available Apple Beta Software Program on Developer preview on developer website of Apple