Mac OS Lifecycle: End Of Life And Support Status

Last updated on April 18, 2024

MacOS is a series of operating systems developed by Apple Inc. to run their Macintosh computers. It is the second most widely used desktop operating system after Microsoft Windows. Each version of MacOS has a lifecycle associated with it, which includes its release date, end of life date, and support details. The lifecycle determines how long the operating system will be supported by Apple. This includes when patches are released, when support ends, and when it no longer receives security updates. This helps users keep their systems up to date and secure.

Unfortunately, unlike Microsoft, Apple does not give any clear information about end of life for its MacOS. The table below shows which Apple currently supports OS versions.

Support status guide

End of life (EOL) is the end of a product’s useful life. When a product reaches the end of its life cycle, the manufacturer no longer supports it. The following table explains the different phases of a product’s lifecycle. Testing status is when the product is initially released and EOL is when product support is no longer offered. The time between these two points is the support timeframe.

Testing

The software is not yet publicly available. It is in testing phase i.e., alpha, beta, release preview etc.

Active

The software is actively supported by the vendor.

Phasing Out

The software will soon reach its end of life. You need to look for upgrade or migration options. The software will automatically go into phasing out status 2 months before end of life.

End Of Life

The software is no longer supported by the vendor. You need to make sure your system and environment are safe.

Version

Released

Active Support

macOS 14 (Sonoma)
7 months and 3 weeks ago
(26 September 2023)
Supported
macOS 13 (Ventura)
1 year and 6 months ago
(24 October 2022)
Supported
macOS 12 (Monterey)
2 years and 6 months ago
(25 October 2021)
Supported
macOS 11 (Big Sur)
3 years and 6 months ago
(12 November 2020)
Ended 7 months and 3 weeks ago
(26 September 2023)
macOS 10.15 (Catalina)
4 years and 7 months ago
(7 October 2019)
Ended 1 year and 8 months ago
(12 September 2022)
macOS 10.14 (Mojave)
5 years and 7 months ago
(24 September 2018)
Ended 2 years and 6 months ago
(25 October 2021)
macOS 10.13 (High Sierra)
6 years and 7 months ago
(25 September 2017)
Ended 3 years and 5 months ago
(1 December 2020)
macOS 10.12 (Sierra)
7 years and 8 months ago
(20 September 2016)
Ended 4 years and 7 months ago
(1 October 2019)
OS X 10.11 (El Capitan)
8 years and 7 months ago
(30 September 2015)
Ended 5 years and 5 months ago
(1 December 2018)
OS X 10.10 (Yosemite)
9 years and 7 months ago
(16 October 2014)
Ended 6 years and 9 months ago
(1 August 2017)
OS X 10.9 (Mavericks)
10 years and 6 months ago
(22 October 2013)
Ended 7 years and 5 months ago
(1 December 2016)

MacOS is the operating system used by Apple computers, and it has undergone several releases since its inception. macOS started with Cheetah in 2001, followed by Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur, Monterey and Ventura. Users of MacOS can expect enhanced features and improvements to the user interface and applications with each new release.

However, full maintenance and support for an operating system release usually lasts about three years before it reaches its end-of-life (EOL) stage. Once an operating system reaches its EOL stage, it will no longer receive security updates or services from Apple. This means users who use outdated operating systems are at risk of cybercrime.

For example, El Capitan and Snow Leopard have already reached EOL stage. This means they no longer receive security updates or services from Apple. Users who still use these operating systems should upgrade to the most recent version as soon as possible.

There has been a significant change in the lifecycle of macOS over the years. In the past few years alone, there have been significant changes in how long each version is supported. For example,

  • Before 2018: Operating systems were typically supported for around three years.

  • 2018 – 2020: Operating systems were supported for around two years.

  • After 2020: Operating systems are now supported for around one year.

This change in support duration is due in part to Apple’s switch from Intel processors to their own M1 chip architecture. This transition has disrupted app development and compatibility between different macOS versions.

You can read the official documentation of MacOS lifecycle on Apple’s site.

To check which version of MacOS you’re running, open the terminal and run the following command:

sw_vers

MacOS Version History

Let us discuss the different macOS versions released over the years:

Upcoming macOS versions: Since Apple now releases a new macOS version each year, macOS 15 is anticipated to be released in the second half of 2024. It is still difficult to predict what features it will introduce.

macOS 14, codenamed “Sonoma,” is another breakthrough for macOS users. It includes widgets on the desktop, video conferencing tools, animated screensavers, and a redesigned lock screen.

macOS 13, codenamed “Ventura,” is considered as Apple’s next-generation operating system. This is probably because of its advanced features like the ability to use your iPhone cameras as webcams on macOS, unsend, edit, and “mark as unread” messages in the Messages app, and some other updates. Additionally, it also included some fixes that were previously unresolved.

macOS 12, codenamed “Monterey” was the last version to support certain MacBook versions. It included the famous iOS Shortcuts app and made some other improvements, such as updates to Facetime with support for Spatial audio, the feature of Universal Control across devices with a single mouse or trackpad, and such.

macOS 11, codenamed “Big Sur,” was the first major release after the macOS 10 versions. It included a complete overhaul of the UI, introduced a Control Center, and a built-in translator for the Safari browser. It also revamped the Time Machine backup app as well as Maps. The highlight of this release was that it was the last macOS version to support Nvidia graphics cards.

macOS 10.15, codenamed “Catalina,” is Apple’s 16th major release of macOS. Since Mojave was the last OS to support 32-bit applications, Catalina was the first to support only 64-bit apps. This release had the option to use an iPad as a second display functionality, which lets sync your iPad as a second monitor. It also introduced cross-platform app compatibility.

macOS 10.14, codenamed “Mojave,” made an impact in the macOS lineup. It was the last Apple operating system to support applications with 32-bit architecture, and the iPhotos app. But alongside this change, it also included support for new iOS apps on macOS, which included Apple News, Voice Memos, and Home. It also included an improved Dark mode that could be applied across the entire system.

macOS 10.13, codenamed “High Sierra,” was released with a focus on reliability and performance, instead of new features and flashy improvements. It included the support for HEVC (H.265) codec and introduced the Apple File System, which is now Apple’s proprietary file system. Additionally, it also focused on security and adopted anti-tracking technology in Apple Safari.

macOS 10.12, codename Sierra, was released in 2016 and was the first of its kind to be called “macOS,” which was formerly known as “OS X”. Not only that, but it also integrated Siri into macOS, which is Apple’s virtual assistant. This release also included some other cool features, like auto-unlocking with Apple Watch, Memories tab in Photos, and such.

OS X 10.11, codenamed “El Capitan,” was the 12th major release of macOS. Although it did include new features and UI improvements, it mainly focused on improving system performance and enhanced stability and security. It also had metal graphics technology and significantly improved the spotlight search.

OS X 10.10, codenamed “Yosemite,” was released to the public in 2014. This release included a major overhaul to the macOS User Interface (UI) and took a turn towards modern designs. It also integrated several of the iOS features, such as the “Today” view in the Notification Center, and further integration with iCloud.

OS X 10.9, which had the codename “Mavericks,” was released in June 2013. At the time, it boasted a significant extension of battery life as this OS was optimized for power consumption. Moreover, it included improvements to the Finder tool, better integration of iCloud, and introduced more iOS apps to macOS.