History of Mac Operating System – Part Two

Apple is the worldwide leader in the personal computer and notebook industry. In 1984 they started their journey with the launch of Macintosh and the first GUI-based operating system called system 1.

The history of Mac OS is divided into two sections, In the first section, we discussed how mac came across from system 1 to Mac OS 9 in detail. Here is the link.

In this post, we take a look at how apple updated their OS and included wonderful features to it.

The transition of MAC OS:

Although at the beginning it was originally marketed as “version 10” of Mac OS but later they updated it to MAC OS X.


mac OS X public beta

Now in this transition period, Apple revealed Mac OS X for the first time at the Macworld Expo in 2000.

It was a radical change from the previous version, featuring an entirely new user interface called Aqua, which was influenced by the shiny, colorful iMac and iBook.

Jobs said the design goal of Aqua was to make the buttons look so good you’ll want to lick them. And I think they have successfully created an OS that looks so beautiful.

Mac OS X was a feast for the eyes, with its glossy buttons, pinstripes, and flashy animations. But the problem with Aqua UI was it was very slow and consume too many resources at the same time.

Later before the public release of OS X apple fixed some issues but the problem remains the same.


The first version of Mac OS X 10 was called Cheetah, and it began the trend of Apple naming each OS release after a different big cat.

Image: Wikipedia

Despite Apple’s best efforts, the Aqua UI in OS X Cheetah was still pretty slow compared to its competition, kernel panics were quite common and the operating system was missing critical features like a DVD player, disc burning, and printer driver support.

Later on, in 2001, an incremental release called Mac OS 10.1 Puma was shipped to address the majority of concerns users had with Cheetah. It was not only faster, but certain elements were reorganized and streamlined, making the operating system more intuitive.


Puma included features like DVD playback, disc burning, expanded printer support, and Image Capture for importing photos from a digital camera which is still around today.

Now less than a year after that release, Apple was ready to give Mac OS X its first full-featured update, called Mac OS 10.2 Jaguar. It was built especially for pro users who want to use their system at an extreme level.

Image: Wikipedia

Along with many performance optimizations, Jaguar also included over 150 new user features. Including MP4 support
in Quicktime, junk mail flagging in the Mail app, and better compatibility with Windows.

In 2003 Apple launched OS 10.3 Panther with a redesigned Finder, Exposé for a one-click view of all active windows, and iChat AV, a video conferencing app.

Panther also came with a bunch of updated or brand new applications, like Font Book for installing and browsing installed typefaces, Xcode for app development, and for the first time, Apple’s own web browser called Safari.

The next big release was OS 10.4 Tiger powered the first Apple TV and served as the framework for the first iPhone operating system in 2007.



It included over 200 new features like Spotlight search, Dashboard widgets, RSS support in Safari, a dictionary, and Photo Booth.

Tiger was also the first release to support two types of processors, the legacy PowerPC architecture, and the modern Intel architecture used in newer Macs.

The Aqua user interface was updated, with the pinstripes being replaced by more subtle glass and brushed stainless steel elements.

Tiger was the longest-running version of Mac OS X, with 11 updates released over 3 years beginning in 2005 and ending in 2007.

Then after the tiger apple was busy with their iPhone development and delayed the release of their next version of Mac OS. At last, in 2007 apple released OS 10.5 Leopard and in the same year, they also launched their famous iPhone.

Image: Wikipedia

Leopard has tons of new features like Time Machine, an improved Mail app, iChat AV with Photo Booth filters, Spaces that organized your windows into different desktops.

It has support for 64-bit applications, a redesigned desktop and dock with more 3D elements and file stacks, Boot Camp for switching between Mac OS and Windows, and Quick Look which allowed users to press the space bar to preview something in Finder.

Mac OS X 10.5  Snow Leopard was the next update, and it’s regarded by many to this day as the single best Mac OS X release ever.

snow leopard
Image: osstory

the main appeal of Snow Leopard is a more responsive Finder rewritten in Cocoa and sandboxed apps for more security.

Snow Leopard also has over 7GB of recovered disc space when you upgraded from Leopard, and a redesigned QuickTime X, and the Mac App Store.

Snow Leopard was the final version of Mac OS X to be exclusively released on physical disks because starting with Lion (10.7) in 2011, the operating system could only be updated via the Mac App Store.

Initially, Lion was available on $70 USB drives for a short time.

Mac OS 10.7 Lion, was actually a really pivotal release since it began the trend of borrowing features and apps from iOS.

Image: Wikipedia

Things like AirDrop, FaceTime, push notifications, Mail, and Address Book were really reminiscent of the iPad’s interface, most system apps gained autosave, full screen, and auto-resume, there was the system-wide implementation of autocorrect
and emoji pickers and multitouch gestures were implemented across the entire operating system.

Later in 2012 with the release of OS 10.8 Mountain Lion apple continue the trend to integrate the app from iOS.

mountain lion

Mountain Lion introduced  Notification Center, iMessage as a replacement for iChat, Game Center, Reminders, and Notes. Apps like Address Book and iCal were renamed Contacts and Calendar to match their iOS counterparts.

And Mac OS 10.9 Mavericks was released a year later, with a brand new code name the reason was they run out of cat names.

maverricks om macbook
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Now this release was fairly incremental, featuring improved performance and battery life for MacBooks, iCloud Keychain to generate, store, and sync passwords and credit card numbers.

There are tabbed windows and file tagging in Finder, the ability to take action on notifications directly inside the banner, and ported versions of iBooks and Maps.

It was also the first version of Mac OS in history to be released for free through the Mac App Store.

In 2014, Mac OS 10.10 Yosemite was introduced and featured a flatter user interface to more closely match the design of iOS 7, although it was pretty light on features.


The handoff was added, which allowed you to seamlessly switch between devices when working on a document, and the Mac could be used to make or answer calls through your iPhone.

In 2015, OS 10.11 El Capitan added the Metal API to make graphically intense apps run smoother, a new system-wide typeface called San Fransisco, and public transit support in the Maps app.

MAC OS X changed to macOS

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But the big update arrived in 2016 with the release of Mac OS 10.12 Sierra. First, the name “Mac OS X” was simplified to “macOS” adopting the same naming scheme as Apple’s other operating systems like iOS, watchOS, and tvOS.

Also, there were a lot of convenience features like Auto Unlock, which used your Apple Watch to quickly unlock your Mac rather than typing in a password every time. And Universal Clipboard, which used wifi and Bluetooth to share clipboard content between all devices using your Apple ID.

There were also features like Picture in Picture mode for videos, Night Shift, Siri support, and the Apple File System.

Now the following update in 2017 was called High Sierra(10.13) with new features like HVEC video support, Metal 2, eGPU support for some Macs with Thunderbolt 3 ports. Rest remains similar to sierra.

One year later in 2018 OS 10.14, macOS Mojave came, with the much anticipated dark mode, along with new dynamic wallpapers that changed depending on the time of day.

Stacks were added to the desktop to reduce clutter, FaceTime supported up to 32 people in a video call.

the App Store was redesigned to match the changes made on iOS, and four iOS apps were ported to the Mac; News, Stocks, Voice Memos and Home.

Now Mac OS X received its final update in 2019 with Catalina OS 10.15. 

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It was the first version to drop support for 32-bit apps, and featured sidecar, which allowed an iPad to be used wirelessly as a second display,

The operating system also supported  Playstation 4 and Xbox controllers.

Mac Catalyst also made its debut, which allowed developers to write apps that run on both macOS and iPadOS, as well as easily port apps from iPadOS to the Mac.

The macOS 11 Big Sur

big sur

From 2001 to 2019 apple stick to the 10 number in terms of version but in 2020 they finally move forward with macOS 11. Apple named it Big Sur and started new innings for Mac.

Not only is it the first macOS 11 release, but it finally brings the Mac into the modern era of technology.

The rounded rectangular icons give a brand new look and the icons are completely transformed to closely match iOS and iPad OS. The control center and notification centers also changed.

But with the launch of Big sure Apple optimized their custom-made ARM processors for the upcoming Mac. this update is laying the groundwork for a future where Macs, iPads, and iPhones are more deeply integrated than ever before.

With ARM processors, Big Sur will run iOS and iPadOS apps natively, with no modifications needed from developers.

Its graphics will be more powerful, the machine will run cooler and quieter, and battery life will be unmatched by any other notebook on the market.


Image: Apple

macOS 12 Monterey,
unveiled in June 2021 at WWDC, is an upcoming version of macOS that’s set to be released in the fall. Compared to macOS Big Sur, macOS Monterey is a smaller update, but there are still many notable new features that improve the Mac experience.

The operating system is named after Monterey Bay, following Apple’s tradition of naming macOS releases after locations in California.

There are several improvements and new features added to mac OS like…

  • Introduction of Shortcuts( Visual scripting app) for the Mac.
  • Universal Control, which allows a single keyboard and mouse to interact across multiple Macs and iPads at once.
  • A Redesigned Safari (Web Browser).
  • Support for playing AirPlay( help devices to streaming between) content received from iOS and iPadOS devices, as well as from other Macs.
  • Enhancements to FaceTime (Video, audio calling app), including the ability to share screen, and the SharePlay feature which provides a way to experience content simultaneously and in sync.
  • Ability to factory reset the device from the System Preferences app.
  • Live Text to copy, paste, translate, and lookup text in Photos, Screenshot, Quick Look, and Safari.
  • Focus to set different modes to filter notifications across iPhone and iPad.
  • Introduces Low Power Mode for Mac.

A beta version of macOS Monterey was released to developers enrolled in the Apple Developer program on June 7, 2021. A public beta version was released at the beginning of July 2021.

If you want to download and install the macOS Monterey Preview, then go there  Apple Developers.

These  Systems are able to run macOS Monterey…

Macbook Air
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  • 12-inch MacBook (early 2016 and later)
  • MacBook Air (early 2015 and later)
  • MacBook Pro (early 2015 and later)
  • Mac mini (late 2014 and later)
  • iMac (late 2015 and later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 and later)
  • Mac Pro (late 2013 and later)

Final thought:

So this was a wonderful journey with lots of ups and downs for mac OS. But the important thing is apple is very innovative and adopts new technologies quickly. They always come up with new products and technologies and surprise you. And with every mac OS, they give the best possible experience to the users.

They never compensate with the quality and security which makes them a leader in the industry. With every new product in their lineup, you probably have the best user experience.

So in this post, we tried to showcase all the history of mac OS and please give your views and feedback and feel free to ask anything.

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