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OS X logo
Company / developerApple Inc.
Programmed inC, C++, Objective-C[1][2]
OS familyMac OS, Unix-like (until Mac OS X 10.5), Unix (From Mac OS X 10.5)[3][4][5][6][7]
Working stateCurrent
Source modelClosed source (with open source components)
Initial releaseMarch 24, 2001 (2001-03-24)
Latest stable release10.15.5 Supplemental Update  (June 1, 2020; 5 months ago (2020-06-01)) [±]
Latest unstable release10.15.6 beta 4  (July 9, 2020; 4 months ago (2020-07-09))
Marketing targetPersonal computing
Available language(s)Multi-lingual
Update methodApple Software Update
Mac App store
Supported platforms
  • PowerPC: versions 10.0 through 10.5.8
  • IA-32: versions 10.4.4 through 10.6.8
  • x86-64: versions 10.4.7 through 10.8
  • Kernel typeHybrid (XNU)
    Default user interfaceGraphical (Aqua)
    LicenseProprietary EULAP
    Preceded byMac OS 9

    OS X, which used to be called Mac OS X,[8] is the name of an operating system, for computers made by Apple Inc. These are called Macintosh computers, or Macs. It is different from other operating systems, because OS X is supposed to run only on Macs and not on other computers. However, people have made the OS run on computers that are not Macs. These are called Hackintosh.

    The "X" in OS X, which is read aloud as "Oh Ess Ten", comes from roman numerals. OS X first came out in 2001, and is completely different than the Mac OS that it replaced. OS X is a UNIX OS that is based on NEXTSTEP, an older OS that Apple bought and turned into OS X. OS X and NEXTSTEP have a background in a kind of UNIX called BSD (more specifically FreeBSD and NetBSD). The core of OS X is an open source OS called Darwin, but Darwin cannot run OS X software.

    OS X releases are named after kinds of big cats and have a version number that starts with 10. The newest version of OS X is called "Mavericks" and is version 10.9.x. The version before that is called "Mountain Lion" and is version 10.8.x. The current version, "Mavericks", which is 10.9.x., is the first version to be named after places in California.


    OS X Version Information
    Version Codename Date Announced Release Date Most Recent Version
    Rhapsody Developer Release Grail1Z4 / Titan1U August 31, 1997 DR2 (May 14, 1998)
    Mac OS X Server 1.0 Hera March 16, 1999 1.2v3 (October 27, 2000)
    Mac OS X Developer Preview March 16, 1999 DP4 (April 5, 2000)
    Public Beta Kodiak September 13, 2000
    Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah March 24, 2001 10.0.4 (June 22, 2001)
    Mac OS X v10.1 Puma July 18, 2001[9] September 25, 2001 10.1.5 (June 6, 2002)
    Mac OS X v10.2 Jaguar May 6, 2002[10] August 24, 2002 10.2.8 (October 3, 2003)
    Mac OS X v10.3 Panther June 23, 2003[11] October 24, 2003 10.3.9 (April 15, 2005)
    Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger May 4, 2004[12] April 29, 2005 10.4.11 (November 14, 2007)
    Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard June 26, 2006[13] October 26, 2007 10.5.8 (August 5, 2009)
    Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard June 9, 2008[14] August 28, 2009 10.6.8 v1.1 (July 25, 2011)
    Mac OS X v10.7 Lion October 20, 2010[15] July 20, 2011 10.7.4 (May 9, 2012)
    OS X v10.8 Mountain Lion February 16, 2012[16] July 25, 2012[17] 10.8.2 (September 19, 2012)
    OS X v10.9 Mavericks June 10, 2013[18] N/A N/A
    Desktop OS market share
    as of November, 2012[19]
    Microsoft Windows - 82%
    Mac OS X and Mac OS - 6%
    iOS - 6%
    Android - 3%
    Java ME - 1%
    Linux - 1%
    Other - 0%

    Public Beta: "Kodiak"

    On September 13, 2000, Apple release a $29.95 preview of Mac OS X to ask users what they think of the new operating system so far. Apple stopped the Public Beta in March 2001 because of the recent release of OS X 10.0.

    Version 10.0: "Cheetah"

    On March 24, 2001 Apple released Mac OS X for the first time aka OS X v10.0 (codenamed Cheetah), but rather than being an excellent and successful operating system version, it was a failure due to its many computer bugs and glitches and its slow performance. Luckily this operating system version only stayed on the market up until September when it was moved up to a "higher level".

    Version 10.1: "Puma"

    Due to many problems and complaints about Cheetah, Apple directly got to work on releasing Puma, the next big cat in Mac OS X. It was released on September 24, 2001. Apple gave 10.0 users a free Mac OS X v10.1 install CD to make up for the terrible operating system before. As of January 7, 2002, Apple said Mac OS 9 and other previous operating systems from Apple were "going in the computer scrapyard" by the end of the month (January 31, 2002) and OS X would be the default and only operating system available on all Macs.

    Version 10.2: "Jaguar"

    Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar was released on August 24, 2002 and was the first to have it's codename in the version branding. The Happy Mac (which formerly appeared when a Mac was starting up) was replaced with a large gray apple logo with the startup sequence of OS X 10.2 Jaguar.

    Version 10.3: "Panther"

    Mac OS X 10.3 Panther was released on October 24, 2003 and was one of the biggest updates to OS X yet. It featured a new brushed metal interface, an updated Finder, and many more features from Jaguar the year before.

    Version 10.4: "Tiger"

    Tiger was released on April 29, 2005 and as stated by Apple, featured more than 200 new features. Among the new features, Tiger introduced Spotlight, Dashboard, Smart Folders, updated Mail program with Smart Mailboxes, QuickTime 7, Safari 2, Automator, VoiceOver, Core Image and Core Video. Apple released the first Power Intel Macs for Tiger on January 10, 2006. Tiger ran swell on these computers. It was also the last operating system to support the Aqua color scheme.

    Version 10.5: "Leopard"

    Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard was released on October 26, 2007. It was completely redesigned featuring a 3D Dock, a new purple color scheme, and over 200 new features. It had both support for Power PC and Intel Macs too. Leopard was the last release to have support for PowerPC.

    Version 10.6: "Snow Leopard"

    Mac OS X Snow Leopard was released on August 28, 2009, and rather than featuring changes to the appearance, it featured "Under the hood" changes. Snow Leopard dropped support for PowerPC Macs too.

    Version 10.7: "Lion"

    OS X Lion was first shown to the public at the "Back to The Mac" event in 2010, announced more at WWDC 2011, and released on July 20, 2011. It featured iOS like features such as a launchpad, the magic trackpad coming to MacBooks, and a new solar system color scheme. Apple also removed Rosetta making it impossible to use PowerPC apps without jailbreaking.

    Version 10.8: "Mountain Lion"

    OS X Mountain Lion was announced on February 18, 2012, and released on July 25, 2012. It adds more features from iOS 5 and 6 to the Mac such as notifications, messaging, game center, and gaming with people on iPhones, iPods, and iPads.

    Version 10.9: "Mavericks"

    OS X Mavericks was announced on June 10, 2013 at the 2013 Worldwide Developers Conference.[18] It adds the Maps and iBooks applications, as well as new Finder features, better multi-display support, power improvements, and a new version of Safari. It was released on October 22 2013.


    1. "Apple Developer: Cocoa Overview". Apple. Retrieved April 9, 2010. 
    2. "Apple Developer: Mac OS X Technology Overview". Apple. Retrieved April 9, 2010. 
    3. "Mac OS X 10.5 on Intel-based Macintosh computers". The Open Group. Retrieved November 22, 2009. 
    4. "Mac OS X 10.6 on Intel-based Macintosh computers". The Open Group. Retrieved April 7, 2010. 
    5. "Mac OS X 10.8 on Intel-based Macintosh computers". The Open Group. Retrieved July 25, 2012. 
    6. "Apple page on UNIX". Apple. Retrieved November 5, 2008. 
    7. "Apple technology brief on UNIX". Apple. Retrieved November 5, 2008. 
    8. Patel, Nilay (February 16, 2012). "Apple officially renames Mac OS X to OS X, drops the 'Mac'". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved February 21, 2012. 
    9. Apple (July 18, 2001). "Apple Previews Next Version of Mac OS X". Press release. Retrieved March 11, 2010. 
    10. Apple (May 6, 2002). "Apple Previews "Jaguar", the Next Major Release of Mac OS X". Press release. Retrieved March 11, 2010. 
    11. Apple (June 23, 2003). "Apple Preiews Mac OS X "Panther"". Press release. Retrieved March 11, 2010. 
    12. Apple. "Steve Jobs to Kick Off Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference 2004 with Preview of Mac OS X "Tiger"". Press release. Retrieved March 11, 2010. 
    13. Apple. "Apple Executives to Preview Mac OS X "Leopard" at WWDC 2006 Keynote". Press release. Retrieved March 11, 2010. 
    14. Apple (June 9, 2008). "Apple Previews Mac OS X Snow Leopard to Developers". Press release. Retrieved March 11, 2010. 
    15. Apple (October 20, 2010). "Apple Gives Sneak Peek of Mac OS X Lion". Press release. Retrieved October 20, 2010. 
    16. Apple (February 16, 2012). "Apple Releases OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview with Over 100 New Features". Press release. Retrieved February 16, 2012. 
    17. Apple (July 25, 2012). "Mountain Lion Available Today From Mac App Store". Press release. Retrieved July 25, 2012. 
    18. 18.0 18.1 Apple (June 10, 2013). "Apple Releases Developer Preview of OS X Mavericks With More Than 200 New Features". Press release. Retrieved June 11, 2013. 
    19. Operating System Market Share, November 2012, courtesy of Net Applications, a marketing company which obtains its data from the Alexa Toolbar or related products. Because people who install these products on their computers are not always aware that the product reports web browsing habits back to the marketers at Alexa some security software considers the Alexa Toolbar spyware and removes it. Both the automated removal-as-spyware and the self-selecting nature of those who install software that reports on personal web browsing habits raises questions as to whether the resulting data represents a unbiased statistical sample of Internet users.

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