Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. Written By: The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. See Article History. This article was most recently revised and updated by Erik Gregersen , Senior Editor. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: Management tasks include scheduling resource use to avoid conflicts and interference between programs.
Apple Inc. It was the first successful personal computer company and the popularizer of the graphical user interface. Headquarters are located in Cupertino, California. Personal computer PC , a digital computer designed for use by only one person at a time.
Graphical user interface GUI , a computer program that enables a person to communicate with a computer through the use of symbols, visual metaphors, and pointing devices. Best known for its implementation in Apple Inc. Alan Kay, American computer scientist and winner of the A. Turing Award, the highest honour in computer science, for his contributions to object-oriented programming languages, including Smalltalk.
Kay received a doctorate in computer science from the University of Utah in In he…. Article History. Help us improve this article! It replaced its big cat naming convention with places in Apple's home state of California; thus Mavericks was named after a popular surfing spot. To match the design overhaul of iOS 7 , OS X Yosemite discarded the skeumorphic interface it had used for over 10 years.
The update included a flat graphic design, blurred translucence effects, a two-dimensional Dock that iterated the one used in Tiger , updated icons, light and dark color schemes, and the first time ever replacement of the default system typeface from Lucida Grande to Helvetica Neue. With Continuity , Macs could now receive and make calls from an iPhone on the same Wifi network. The new Photos app replaced iPhoto and integrated photos from iCloud or an iOS device into one place.
Mail allowed marking up attachments right in the app, and Mail Drop allowed users to send large files up to 5GB without having to worry about an email client's limitations. Finally, iCloud Drive let users store all types of files in one place and access them from any device. It enhanced the design and usability of OS X Yosemite with performance and security improvements. Features included Split View, which placed two full screen apps side by side; a streamlined Mission Control, which made it easier to see all open windows in one place; a smarter Spotlight that delivered results for weather, sports, stock, web, video and transit directions and can deliver information using natural language; a refreshed Maps app that included public transit information for some U.
Sierra brought a variety of changes, most notably the arrival of Siri on the Mac desktop. Users could access Siri in the upper right-hand corner of the menu bar between the Notification Center and Spotlight menu icons, a Dock icon, the menu bar icon or a hot key. The voice-activated assistant could help users find files, get quick access to information like the weather or perform searches, with search results that could be saved and pinned to the Notifications area.
Other changes in Sierra included a Universal Clipboard, which allowed text to be copied from one Apple device to another; iCloud Desktop and Documents, for syncing data across Macs using the cloud; Auto Unlock, which allowed the Apple Watch to unlock a macOS account; and Apple Pay on the web. Photos received a new Memories feature that automatically created curated collections of users' favorite photos and videos.
Sierra also delivered more than 60 security fixes. Metal 2 furthers graphics capabilities and natural language processing, and developers will be able to create interactive virtual reality experiences on a Mac for the first time. A refreshed Photos app makes searching for and organizing photos easier and contains advanced editing tools.
Safari becomes faster and contains new features like Intelligent Tracking Prevention to remove cross-site tracking data from advertisers. Safari also automatically disables those annoying autoplaying videos with audio for a quieter browsing experience. Other features include improved Siri and Spotlight and instant iCloud syncing for Messages. It will be available as a free download on Sept. Its main feature is a new Dark Mode that turns the overall UI dark gray. Mac OS applications could be rewritten to run natively via the Carbon API ; many could also be run directly through the Classic Environment with a reduction in performance.
Reviews were variable, with extensive praise for its sophisticated, glossy Aqua interface but criticizing it for sluggish performance. Apple rapidly developed several new releases of Mac OS X. As the operating system evolved, it moved away from the classic Mac OS , with applications being added and removed. With increasing popularity of the internet, Apple offered additional online services, including the. Mac, MobileMe and most recently iCloud products. It later began selling third-party applications through the Mac App Store.
Newer versions of Mac OS X also included modifications to the general interface, moving away from the striped gloss and transparency of the initial versions. Some applications began to use a brushed metal appearance, or non-pinstriped titlebar appearance in version A key development for the system was the announcement and release of the iPhone from onwards. The simultaneous release of two operating systems based on the same frameworks placed tension on Apple, which cited the iPhone as forcing it to delay Mac OS X In , Mac OS X In two succeeding versions, Lion and Mountain Lion , Apple moved some applications to a highly skeuomorphic style of design inspired by contemporary versions of iOS, at the same time simplifying some elements by making controls such as scroll bars fade out when not in use.
A review described the trend in the server products as becoming "cheaper and simpler In , with the release of OS X That year, Apple removed the head of OS X development, Scott Forstall , and design was changed towards a more minimal direction. From onwards, the system has shifted to an annual release schedule similar to that of iOS. It also steadily cut the cost of updates from Snow Leopard onwards, before removing upgrade fees altogether from onwards. In , with the release of macOS Apple previewed macOS Apple has released this family of software as a free and open source operating system named Darwin.
With its original introduction as Mac OS X, the system brought a number of new capabilities to provide a more stable and reliable platform than its predecessor, the classic Mac OS. For example, pre-emptive multitasking and memory protection improved the system's ability to run multiple applications simultaneously without them interrupting or corrupting each other. He criticized the case insensitivity of file names, a design made worse when Apple extended the file system to support Unicode.
As a result, macOS on current Macs must do byte swap when it reads file system data. The Darwin subsystem in macOS is in charge of managing the file system, which includes the Unix permissions layer. In and , two Macworld editors expressed criticism of the permission scheme; Ted Landau called misconfigured permissions "the most common frustration" in macOS, while Rob Griffiths suggested that some users may even have to reset permissions every day, a process which can take up to 15 minutes.
The architecture of macOS incorporates a layered design: For the Apple—Intel transition , it was modified so that developers could build their applications as a universal binary , which provides compatibility with both the Intel-based and PowerPC-based Macintosh lines. Cocoa and Carbon. Since , Apple has promoted its new programming language Swift as the preferred language for software development on Apple platforms. This caused much outcry among existing Mac developers, who threatened to abandon the platform rather than invest in a costly rewrite, and the idea was shelved.
Carbon was not included in the first product sold as Mac OS X: Because macOS is POSIX compliant, many software packages written for the other Unix-like systems including Linux can be recompiled to run on it, including much scientific and technical software. Apple and others have provided versions of the X Window System graphical interface which can allow these applications to run with an approximation of the macOS look-and-feel. Applications can be distributed to Macs and installed by the user from any source and by any method such as downloading with or without code signing , available via an Apple developer account or through the Mac App Store , a marketplace of software maintained by Apple by way of a process requiring the company's approval.
Apps installed through the Mac App Store run within a sandbox , restricting their ability to exchange information with other applications or modify the core operating system and its features. This has been cited as an advantage, by allowing users to install apps with confidence that they should not be able to damage their system, but also as a disadvantage due to blocking the Mac App Store's use for professional applications that require elevated privileges. Apple produces macOS applications, some of which are included and some sold separately.
Numerous other developers also offer software for macOS.
Tools such as XPostFacto and patches applied to the installation media have been developed by third parties to enable installation of newer versions of macOS on systems not officially supported by Apple. Except for features requiring specific hardware such as graphics acceleration or DVD writing, the operating system offers the same functionality on all supported hardware. As most Mac hardware components, or components similar to those, since the Intel transition are available for purchase,  some technology-capable groups have developed software to install macOS on non-Apple computers.
These are referred to as Hackintoshes , a portmanteau of the words "hack" and "Macintosh". On June 6, , Steve Jobs announced in his keynote address at the annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference that Apple would be making the transition from PowerPC to Intel processors over the following two years, and that Mac OS X would support both platforms during the transition. Jobs also confirmed rumors that Apple had versions of Mac OS X running on Intel processors for most of its developmental life.
A new version of Xcode and the underlying command-line compilers supported building universal binaries that would run on either architecture. PowerPC-only software is supported with Apple's official emulation software, Rosetta , though applications eventually had to be rewritten to run properly on the newer versions released for Intel processors.
Apple initially encouraged developers to produce universal binaries with support for both PowerPC and Intel. Plugins for Safari need to be compiled for the same platform as Safari, so when Safari is running on Intel, it requires plug-ins that have been compiled as Intel-only or universal binaries, so PowerPC-only plug-ins will not work.
Support for the PowerPC platform was dropped following the transition. One of the major differences between the classic Mac OS and the current macOS was the addition of Aqua , a graphical user interface with water-like elements, in the first major release of Mac OS X. Every window element, text, graphic, or widget is drawn on-screen using spatial anti-aliasing technology.
macOS version history
New interface elements were integrated, including sheets dialog boxes attached to specific windows and drawers, which would slide out and provide options. The use of soft edges, translucent colors, and pinstripes, similar to the hardware design of the first iMacs , brought more texture and color to the user interface when compared to what Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X Server 1. According to Siracusa, the introduction of Aqua and its departure from the then conventional look "hit like a ton of bricks. To some extent, Apple has used the successful transition to this new design as leverage, at various times threatening legal action against people who make or distribute software with an interface the company says is derived from its copyrighted design.
Apple has continued to change aspects of the macOS appearance and design, particularly with tweaks to the appearance of windows and the menu bar. Since , Apple has sold many of its Mac models with high-resolution Retina displays , and macOS and its APIs have extensive support for resolution-independent development on supporting high-resolution displays.
Reviewers have described Apple's support for the technology as superior to that on Windows. The human interface guidelines published by Apple for macOS are followed by many applications, giving them consistent user interface and keyboard shortcuts. The graphics system OpenGL composites windows onto the screen to allow hardware-accelerated drawing. This technology, introduced in version The Finder is a file browser allowing quick access to all areas of the computer, which has been modified throughout subsequent releases of macOS.
It allows for dynamic previews of files, including videos and multi-page documents without opening any other applications. Spotlight , a file searching technology which has been integrated into the Finder since version Its functions are to instantly display all open windows as thumbnails for easy navigation to different tasks, display all open windows as thumbnails from the current application, and hide all windows to access the desktop. Features introduced in version The operating system then managed conflicting edits and data consistency.
Apple OS History
In more recent releases, Apple has developed support for emoji characters by including the proprietary Apple Color Emoji font. There are 38 system languages available in macOS for the user at the moment of installation; the system language is used throughout the entire operating system environment. Until OS X In Mountain Lion and later, this was merged into the Mac App Store application, although the underlying update mechanism remains unchanged and is fundamentally different than the download mechanism used when purchasing an App Store application.
In macOS Prior to its release, Mac OS X After the immense buzz surrounding Mac OS X Apple has also registered "Lynx" and "Cougar" as trademarks, though these were allowed to lapse. The "PB", as it was known, marked the first public availability of the Aqua interface and Apple made many changes to the UI based on customer feedback. Following some bug fixes, kernel panics became much less frequent.
It featured increased performance and provided missing features, such as DVD playback. Apple released It was discovered that the upgrade CDs were full install CDs that could be used with Mac OS 9 systems by removing a specific file; Apple later re-released the CDs in an actual stripped-down format that did not facilitate installation on such systems. Mac OS X v In addition to providing much improved performance, it also incorporated the most extensive update yet to the user interface.
Apple stated that Tiger contained more than new features. The initial release of the Apple TV used a modified version of Tiger with a different graphical interface and fewer applications and services. On January 10, , Apple released the first Intel-based Macs along with the This operating system functioned identically on the PowerPC-based Macs and the new Intel-based machines, with the exception of the Intel release lacking support for the Classic environment.
It brought more than new features. The single DVD works for all supported Macs including bit machines. New features include a new look, an updated Finder, Time Machine , Spaces , Boot Camp pre-installed,  full support for bit applications including graphical applications , new features in Mail and iChat , and a number of new security features. Rather than delivering big changes to the appearance and end user functionality like the previous releases of Mac OS X , Snow Leopard focused on "under the hood" changes, increasing the performance, efficiency, and stability of the operating system.
For most users, the most noticeable changes were: The It brought developments made in Apple's iOS, such as an easily navigable display of installed applications called Launchpad and a greater use of multi-touch gestures, to the Mac. This release removed Rosetta , making it incompatible with PowerPC applications. Documents auto-save by default. OS X It incorporates some features seen in iOS 5, which include Game Center , support for iMessage in the new Messages messaging application, and Reminders as a to-do list app separate from iCal which is renamed as Calendar, like the iOS app.
It also includes support for storing iWork documents in iCloud. Application pop-ups are now concentrated on the corner of the screen, and the Center itself is pulled from the right side of the screen. Mountain Lion also includes more Chinese features including support for Baidu as an option for Safari search engine, QQ , It was a free upgrade to all users running Snow Leopard or later with a bit Intel processor.
It features a redesigned user interface similar to that of iOS 7 , intended to feature a more minimal, text-based 'flat' design, with use of translucency effects and intensely saturated colors. Similar to Mac OS X Refinements include public transport built into the Maps application, GUI improvements to the Notes application, adopting San Francisco as the system font for clearer legibility, and the introduction of System Integrity Protection.
Metal also delivers up to 10 times faster draw call performance for more fluid experience in games and pro apps. The major change under the hood is the switch to the Apple File System , which is optimized for solid-state storage used in most new Mac computers. As of July , macOS is the second-most-active general-purpose desktop client operating system in use on the World Wide Web following Microsoft Windows , with a 4.
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- The evolution of macOS (and Mac OS X).
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It is the second most widely used desktop operating system for web browsing , after Windows, and is estimated at approximately five times the usage of Linux which has 1. Usage share generally continues to shift away from the desktop and toward mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android. In its earlier years, Mac OS X enjoyed a near-absence of the types of malware and spyware that have affected Microsoft Windows users.
Worms , as well as potential vulnerabilities, were noted in , which led some industry analysts and anti-virus companies to issue warnings that Apple's Mac OS X is not immune to malware. At first, the malware installer required the user to enter the administrative password, but later versions were able to install without user input. Apple announced an OS X update to fix the problem. An estimated , users were affected. As a devices company, Apple has mostly promoted macOS to sell Macs, with promotion of macOS updates focused on existing users, promotion at Apple Store and other retail partners, or through events for developers.
In larger scale advertising campaigns, Apple specifically promoted macOS as better for handling media and other home-user applications, and comparing Mac OS X especially versions Tiger and Leopard with the heavy criticism Microsoft received for the long-awaited Windows Vista operating system. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the current Apple operating system for Mac computers. For pre versions, see Classic Mac OS.
For other uses, see OSX disambiguation. Screenshot of the macOS Mojave desktop in dark mode. List of languages. System Preferences Rhapsody Developer Release Hera Server 1. Main article: History of macOS. Architecture of macOS. See also: List of Macintosh software. Afterwards, users could either revert to iChat or upgrade to a newer version of OS X Two minor updates, 1.
Otherwise, Mac OS X Apple's transition to Intel processors. Aqua user interface. List of macOS components.
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