Mac OS Matrix


As I’ve been collecting Macs and installing different Mac OS versions on them, I’ve found it difficult to remember what versions run on what hardware. So I put together a simple chart along with some interesting feature info.

Mac OS X (1999 – Present)

Version Released Requirements New Features Price Notes
10.8 Mountain Lion July 2012 Intel Core 2 Duo or better, GPU with 64-bit driver support, 2 GB RAM, 8 GB disk space, Mac OS 10.6.8 or later Gatekeeper, Safari 6, iCloud, addition of Notes, Reminders, and Messages apps, Notification Center, search in Launchpad, Game Center, AirPlay mirroring, system-wide dictation, Facebook integration (later point release), updated Dock appearance, icon-level animations in Finder. $19.99 First OS to be released strictly on the Mac App Store (no USB drive created)

First OS to be released on yearly release cycle

This OS did not officially support a number of Macs that were supported by 10.7 due to changes in the graphics architecture that required new drivers to be written.

10.7 Lion July 2011 Intel Core 2 Duo or better, 2 GB RAM, 7 GB disk space, Mac OS 10.6.6 or later Launchpad, expanded gestures, Mission Control, Auto Resume, Auto Save, hidden scrollbars, local Time Machine backups, all apps run in 64-bit mode, Rosetta no longer supported, server available as an App Store component instead of a separate release. $29.99 First OS to be released on the Mac App Store

First OS not to be sold on disc media (a USB drive was available)

First full OS to require an older OS to install since Mac OS 10.1

10.6 Snow Leopard Aug 2009 Intel Processor, 1 GB RAM, 5 GB disk space, DVD drive Cocoa Finder, minor tweaks throughout system, performance improvements, file compression in the file system, Rosetta no longer installed by default, Classic no longer included $29.99 A performance-focused release tuned for Intel Macs and sold for the lowest price since Mac OS 8.
10.5 Leopard Oct 2007 867 MHz or faster PowerPC G4, G5, or Intel Processor, 512 MB RAM, 9 GB disk space, DVD drive 3D Dock, Stacks, Cover Flow, Transparent Menu Bar, Time Machine, Front Row, Photo Booth, 64-bit GUI applications, Carbon development deprecated $129 This was the last release for PowerPC MacsThis release was originally scheduled to ship in late 2006 but a slipped year due to the iPhone
10.4 Tiger April 2005 PowerPC G3 or later, built-in FireWire, 256 MB RAM, 3 GB hard drive space, DVD drive Spotlight, Safari 3.0, Dashboard, “Unified” application theme, support for 64-bit command line utilities, support for Intel machines (starting with 10.4.5 in Feb 2006) $129 First version with support for Intel MacsTrimmed down version ran on first generation Apple TV
10.3 Panther October 2003 PowerPC G3 or later, built-in USB, 128 MB RAM, 3 GB disk space, CD or DVD drive Exposé, new Preview application, Font Book, Fast User Switching, Xcode 1.0 $129 This was the first version of Mac OS X that was widely considered “usable” on a daily basis for Mac users.  It marked the end of the transition from Mac OS 9.
10.2 Jaguar August 2002 PowerPC G3 (except original PowerBook G3 Kanga model), 128 MB RAM, 3 GB disk space, CD or DVD drive Quartz Extreme, Spam filter, Inkewll, iChat, QuickTime 6, Sherlock 3, BlueTooth support, Rendezvous (Bonjour), spring-loaded folders $129 First version officially referred to by its internal code name
10.1(Puma) October 2001 PowerPC G3 (except original PowerBook G3 Kanga model), 128 MB RAM, 1.5 GB disk space, CD drive Performance improvements to windows, menus, and application launches, more drivers, DVD playback $129$20 to Mac OS 10.0 owners Adressed major stability and performance issues with Mac OS 10.0First version to include Server variant
10.0(Cheetah) March 2001 PowerPC G3 (except original PowerBook G3 Kanga model), 128 MB RAM, 1.5 GB disk space, CD drive First official version of Mac OS X $129 The first version of OS X was missing many features from Mac OS 9
Mac OS X Public Beta September 2000 PowerPC G3 (except original PowerBook G3 Kanga model), 128 MB RAM, 1.5 GB disk space, CD drive First glimpse at next generation OS, new Apple menu, Dock, Finder, Apple Menu in middle of menu bar $29.95 The first and only time Apple released a public beta
Mac OS X Server 1.0 March 1999 PowerMac G3 or Mac Server G3, 64 MB RAM, 1.0 GB disk space, CD drive Workspace, Yellow Box, Blue Box, NetBoot $499 Public release of failed Rhapsody projectEssentially a mishmash of OS 9 and NextStep

Foundation for Mac OS X

Classic Mac OS / System Software (1984 – 2001)

Version Year Released Requirements New Features Price Notes
9.2(Moonlight) June 2001 PowerPC G3 (except original PowerBook G3 Kanga model), 32 MB RAM, 320 MB disk space, CD drive or Internet connection Performance improvements, better integration with Classic environment $99Free to Mac OS 9.1 users Last version of Classic Mac OS
9.1(Fortissimo) January 2001 PowerPC processor, 32 MB RAM, 320 MB disk space, CD drive or Internet connection CD burning from the Finder, Window Menu $99Free to Mac OS 9.0 users Last version of Mac OS for non-G3 Macs
9.0(Sonata) October 1999 PowerPC processor, 32 MB RAM, 250 MB disk space, CD drive Sherlock 2, file encryption, Software Update over the internet, iTools support, multiple user support with voice passwords $99 Originally slated to be Mac OS 8.7Last major release of Classic Mac OS
8.6(Veronica) May 1999 PowerPC processor, 24 MB RAM, 250 MB disk space, CD drive Nanokernel for improved multi-tasking, performance and stability improvements, AFP over IP (instead of AppleTalk) $99Free to Mac OS 8.5 users Nanokernel required applications to be rewritten for benefits – other apps ran cooperatively
8.5(Allegr0) October 1998 PowerPC processor, 16 MB RAM, 250 MB disk space, CD drive Sherlock search utility, faster file copying, PowerPC Apple Script, Theming system (unused), 32-bit icons $99 First PowerPC-only releaseIncluded thumbing system for alternate OS looks but only one theme – Platinum
8.1(Bride of Buster) January 1998 68040 or PowerPC processor, 12 MB RAM, 195 MB disk space, CD drive HFS+ file system- larger files, better disk usage $99Free to Mac OS 8.0 owners Last release for 68k machines
8.0(Tempo) July 1997 68040 or PowerPC processor, 12 MB RAM, 195 MB disk space, CD drive Multi-threaded PowerPC Finder, Platinum appearance, improved performance, new help system, spring-loaded folders, tabbed Finder windows $99 First release to exclude 68030 and below machinesMany features of the failed next-gen Copland OS ended up in this release

Originally targeted as Mac OS 7.7 – Steve Jobs re-numbered it in order to end the contract with clone vendors that only covered System 7

Sources

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