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March 24, 2001, was a banner day for Mac users. On that day, twenty years ago, Apple introduced the next generation of the Mac operating system – Mac OS X 10.0 “Cheetah.” The introduction was no small matter, as it marked a change in how Macs work that remains up lớn this day with macOS 11 “Big Sur.” Let’s take a look at the history of Mac operating systems from 1984 until now, starting with the “Classic” operating system introduced in 1984 và ending with Big Sur.

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Classic Mac OS: From System 1 to lớn OS 9

At the beginning (1984), there was System 1. For those of us who were around at the time the first Mac was released, System 1 was a revolutionary operating system. It was the first popular consumer OS to lớn use a graphical user interface. Apple had released the Lisa with a GUI in 1983, but it was ridiculously expensive ($9,995, equivalent khổng lồ almost $26,000 in 20đôi mươi dollars), slow, và used unreliable floppy disks coupled with a 5 MB hard disk drive sầu. In the two years that the Lisa was on the market, it sold only 10,000 units.


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In 2011, Apple release 10.7 Lion, adding some features khổng lồ the Mac operating system that had been pioneered in iOS. For example, Launchpad added an easy-to-navigate danh sách of apps, while more multi-touch gestures were included for use on trackpads.

Apple’s Rosetta environment disappeared with Lion, meaning that PowerPC apps were no longer supported in the operating system. Scrollbars became auto-hiding, only appearing when used, & Mission Control unified Exposé, Spaces, Dashboard, and full-screen apps inkhổng lồ a single interface. Auto-save sầu of documents arrived with Lion.

OS X 10.8 “Mountain Lion”

With Mountain Lion’s release in 2012, Apple began the annual operating system releases that are now common. One reason for that: OS updates were now available through the Mac App Store for the first time. Apple started aligning iOS and Mac OS X features a lot more. For example, the Messages ứng dụng brought messaging in line with the iOS platkhung, iCal was renamed Calendar, Reminders became a separate phầm mềm, & Notification Center arrived.

There was also one other minor change starting with Mountain Lion – the operating system name no longer included “Mac” at the beginning.

OS X 10.9 “Mavericks”


No more cats! Mavericks was a nod lớn a famous surfing beach near Half Moon Bay in California frequented by many Apple employees. Mavericks also marked the beginning of không lấy phí operating system upgrades for the Mac. No longer would Apple charge for any OS update on any of its devices.

Mavericks added the Maps & iBooks (now Books) apps lớn the Mac; previously, they were only found on iPhone and máy tính bảng iPad.

OS X 10.10 “Yosemite”

Continuing the march toward our present-day macOS 11, 10.10 Yosemite was released in October of 2014. It redesigned the user interface khổng lồ more closely resemble iOS 7, with a “flat” thiết kế, translucency effects, & more saturated colors. Handoff made it possible for users with iPhones khổng lồ answer phone calls, received và sover SMS messages, và complete iPhone emails on their Macs.

The Photos ứng dụng appeared in the third major release of Yosemite, replacing both iPhoto lớn and Aperture.

OS X 10.11 “El Capitan”

Released in September of 2015, El Capitung primarily added refinements to lớn the user experience & performance improvements. Public transport was added into the Maps phầm mềm, the Notes ứng dụng was changed GUI-wise, San Francisteo became the default system phông for improved readability, and System Integrity Protection was added.

Apple’s Metal API was also added, supporting all Macs released since 2012. Metal allowed system-cấp độ rendering khổng lồ be sped up by up lớn 50 percent, và drastically improved draw Điện thoại tư vấn performance in games and pro apps.

macOS 10.12 “Sierra”


In năm 2016, we saw yet another change khổng lồ the naming convention for the Macintosh operating system, now called macOS. Sierra didn’t seem lớn add much in terms of functionality, with the exception of Siri becoming available on Apple’s desktop & laptop OS.

Apple also updated Photos, Messages, và iTunes.

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macOS 10.13 “High Sierra”

Released in 2017, High Sierra’s main new feature was the introduction of the first new Mac file system in a long time – Apple File System (APFS). APFS is optimized for the solid-state storage found in most new Macs. It’s also the sole file system used by all Apple devices including the Apple Watch, Apple TV, iPad tablet, iPhone, & iPod touch.

APFS is a definite look towards the future. The tệp tin system supports up to lớn 9 quintillion files on a single volume, supports native sầu full-disk encryption, and creates snapshots khổng lồ create a read-only backup of the file system at a point in time.

macOS 10.14 “Mojave”

Mojave introduced Dark Mode khổng lồ the Mac operating system, & also added Apple News lớn the Mac. This was the first version of the operating system to require a GPU that supported Metal. Rethành viên how previous versions of the operating system had used the App Store to update system software? Now they moved khổng lồ a panel in System Preferences.

macOS 10.15 “Catalina”

Catalimãng cầu brought better voice control khổng lồ the Mac, a boon to those with disabilities. iTunes was replaced with the Music, TV, and Podcast apps, allowing more functionality in a less-cluttered user interface than iTunes.

If you had an máy tính bảng iPad, Catalina was the first version khổng lồ bring tư vấn for Sidecar, turning that iPad into an external Mac monitor. Catalimãng cầu also dropped tư vấn for 32-bit applications, solely relying on 64-bit versions of apps.

macOS 11 “Big Sur”


Here we are at the present. Big Sur finally moved the Mac past version 10. macOS 11 marked the change to lớn Apple Silicon, as Apple begins khổng lồ move away from Hãng sản xuất Intel processors.

This latest iteration brought some familiar old names baông chồng lớn the Mac world – Rosetta 2 makes it possible for Intel-based apps khổng lồ run on Apple Silinhỏ, and Universal Binaries will run on both natively on both Intel and Apple Silinhỏ Macs. Their predecessors enabled PowerPC apps lớn run on Hãng sản xuất Intel chips và for apps to lớn run natively on both PowerPC và Hãng Intel Macs.

What’s in our future?

The Mac is here to lớn stay. The Mac operating system is the second-largest consumer operating system behind Microsoft Windows & is still lauded as it was baông xã in 1984 as the easiest computer operating system to use.

Mac OS X was a huge change to the Mac world in 2001, bringing the solidity of the UNIX kernel lớn the core of the OS and providing the framework for all Apple operating systems. We don’t have a crystal ball – perhaps macOS, iOS, và iPadOS may converge into lớn a single OS to lớn run on desktop & Mobile systems. Macs are long overdue for a touch interface (in my opinion, of course).

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Whichever direction macOS goes in the future, it’s not likely lớn change from the UNIX underpinnings that were first introduced in 2001. What features would you like lớn see in a future Mac operating system? Let us know in the comments section.


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