MacOS is the operating system that powers every Mac. It lets you do things you simply can’t with other computers. That’s because it’s designed specifically for the hardware it runs on — and vice versa.
- The operating system on a PC or Mac is a fundamental part of the user experience. How we interact with our computers can result in harmonious atmospheres around our households and workplaces,.
- Linux, FreeBSD, and More. RELATED: What Is a Linux Distro, and How Are They Different from One.
The Mac operating system — earlier called OS X and now renamed macOS — has traditionally been viewed as more stable than Windows. The main reason for this was that Apple produces both the hardware (Mac computer) and the software (Mac operating system); so they have better control over the integration of the entire system. Apple is also known to use only the best parts for its computers.
Since the Windows operating system can run on hundreds of different types of computers, variations in hardware configurations within those computers can cause stability problems. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of PC manufacturers and so there is a wide variety in hardware quality of PCs.
Another reason for Macs being traditionally more stable is that since PCs are the more popular choice in the desktop market, most hackers and computer virus makers target PCs. As the popularity for Mac computers increase, it can be expected that the incidence of hacker and virus attacks will increase.
It should be noted that you can run Windows on a Mac but cannot run macOS on a PC. Apple has also released a software kit called Bootcamp for running Windows on the Mac. Other software virtualization applications used to run Windows on Macs include Virtualbox and Parallels.
Another factor contributing to a better user experience on the Mac is that there is no software cruft i.e., there are no third-party applications that are pre-installed on your Mac. PCs usually come with several 3rd-party apps pre-installed. For example, antivirus software from McAfee or Symantec, or DVD reading/writing software. Some of this software can be downright dangerous for the security and privacy of the user; case in point: Lenovo's Superfish scandal. Interestingly, this feature of Apple devices also applies to the iOS vs Android debate; Android devices ship with 'crapware' (3rd party applications that many people don't ever use) while iPhones and iPads ship only with Apple software.
The most noticeable difference between Macs and PCs is in the user interfaces. While many computer users will proclaim one or the other “superior” or “best,” this is ultimately a matter of personal preference. Highlights of the UI in Mac OS X include Launchpad (a screen full of app icons for easily launching your favorite apps), hot corners that can be customized for various types of views, a 'dock' that has icons for your favorite apps, full screen mode for apps, and 'spaces' that create as many desktops as you like so you can minimize clutter. With Windows 8 UI highlights include a touch-friendly 'metro' interface that contains 'live tiles', rectangular boxes of varying sizes on the screen that represent an app and get refreshed with the latest content from the app. Several apps utilizing the 'metro' interface are full screen apps like in tablet computers.
Macs have a reputation of being more secure than Windows PCs. In the 90s and early to mid-2000s, Windows was plagued with adware, malware and viruses that were mostly a result of users downloading compromised software, opening malicious email attachments or other malicious files downloaded from the Internet. Macs had a lower market share so malware-makers and distributors focused on the Windows platform.
Today the situation is not so lopsided. Windows security and Microsoft's Defender anti-virus program have made great strides and made Windows a safe platform. Macs have had security problems of their own, like the admin login vulnerability discovered in November 2017. And because of the growing popularity of the Mac platform — especially among high-value targets like computer programmers — malware-makers are increasingly homing in on Macs as targets.
Irrespective of whether you're on a Mac or PC, it is not advisable to open files from unknown sources or any files downloaded via email or on the Internet that seem suspicious. If you're on Windows, it is further recommended to not use anti-virus programs other than Microsoft's Defender because they introduce security vulnerabilities of their own.
Mac computers are most widely used in the creative professional market, including in journalism and desktop publishing, video editing and audio editing, but have also made inroads into the educative and scientific research sectors. Macs are also popular with computer programmers — a majority of web and app developers tend to use Macs.
PCs are also used with some of the video and audio editing and research purposes but are found largely as the Home or Office Computer. PCs are also widely used in gaming due to a wider variety of games available for the Windows platform.
Apple's share of the U.S. personal-computer market nearly tripled from 2004 to 2008 but hasn't gone up significantly since then, and stands at around 8.5 percent in August 2009, according to IDC. (Source: Associated Press)
In Q1 2008, worldwide PC shipments were around 70 million (up from 61 million in Q1 2007) whereas worldwide Mac shipments were around 2.3 million (up from 1.5 million in Q1 2007). Historical charts for PC vs. Mac shipments are available at http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/microsoft/archives/137350.asp
The market share of Mac for the July-Sept 2007 quarter was estimated at 3.2% for worldwide sales. While of PCs ( including major companies like HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer and Toshiba) was a total of around 56%.(Refer: http://www.systemshootouts.org/mac_sales.html)
PCs and Macs can usually share peripherals if they connect via USB, FireWire, or Bluetooth, three industry standards available on every Mac. Most popular applications for Mac and PC use the same file formats, making it simple to exchange documents with friends and coworkers or move existing files from a PC to a Mac.
Macs major applications include Ilife and Time Machine while the PCs most widely used application includes MS Office. Some popular games provided on a Mac are Mac Crack Attack, 3D Klondike while on PC are Solitaire and Virtual Pool.
There is a variety of software available for PCs, which are better than a Mac machine for use as gaming machines since most high-end games are created for the general PC. PCs and Macs can usually share peripherals if they connect via USB, FireWire, or Bluetooth, three industry standards available on every Mac. Most popular applications for Mac and PC use the same file formats, making it simple to exchange documents with friends and coworkers or move existing files from a PC to a Mac.
Traditionally PCs have had the upper hand when it comes to gaming because more publishers developed games for the PC platform. Dollar for dollar, PCs have also provided more powerful processors and speed is an important criterion when it comes to gaming. Some popular games that are available only on PCs are Age of Empires III and Crysis. Games that have both Mac and PC versions include Call of Duty 4: Modern warfare, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, LegoStar Wars II, Starcraft and World of Warcraft.
Computer Operating Systems: OS Families For Computers
Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite & Cloud are available for both Windows and Mac platforms. Other productivity software like OpenOffice and StarOffice is also available for all platforms. Apple's iWork office suite, which includes Pages (word processor), Numbers (spreadsheets) and Keynote (presentation maker) are only available on the Mac and iOS platforms.
Mac vs. PC War
Macs were hugely popular when the Macintosh was introduced in the mid-80s. They pioneered the GUI and the mouse. With Windows 3.1 and the wildly popular Windows 95, Microsoft gained a large market share. In the 1990s, Windows grew by leaps and bounds and Apple went downhill. After Steve Jobs was brought back to Apple, he introduced the iMac and revived Mac sales. Microsoft bought a 5% stake in Apple with a $150mn investment in non-voting shares in 1997.
Apple's Macs have always had a small but passionate fan base. In 2007, Apple released Mac vs PC ads showcasing the “cool” factor of Macs. These have been parodied online, often with a 3rd character (a woman) for Linux.
The Mac vs. PC ads
In September 2008, Microsoft responded to the Apple campaign with a campaign of their own to break the PC stereotype.
A MAC into a PC (and vice versa)
By installing software like Boot Camp, or a virtualization solution, such as Parallels Desktop, a Mac can function like a PC machine. In other words, a MAC can run Windows on it.
Apple does not allow the use of its operating system on non-Apple hardware. So a Windows PC cannot run Mac OS X. However, the Hackintosh project allows users to run Mac OS on any supported Intel-based PC.
The MacBook Air starts at $999, whereas the MacBook Pro costs $1,199 and up, depending on the model. See MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro and MacBook vs MacBook Pro.
Current prices of various models and accessories are available on Apple.com and on Amazon.com.
PCs usually cost significantly less than Macs with comparable hardware. This is mostly because PCs are manufactured by a large number of hardware manufacturers, resulting in increased competition and lower prices. A wide selection of PCs with varying costs is available on Amazon.com.
Is your Mac up to date with the latest version of the Mac operating system (macOS or OS X)? Is it using the version required by some other product that you want to use with your Mac? Which versions are earlier (older) or later (newer, more recent)? To find out, learn which version is installed now.
If your macOS isn't up to date, you may be able to update to a later version.
Which macOS version is installed?
From the Apple menu in the corner of your screen, choose About This Mac. You should see the macOS name, such as macOS Mojave, followed by its version number. If you need to know the build number as well, click the version number to see it.
This example shows macOS Catalina version 10.15 build 19A583.
Which macOS version is the latest?
These are all Mac operating systems, starting with the most recent. When a major new macOS is released, it gets a new name, such as macOS Catalina. As updates that change the macOS version number become available, this article is updated to show the latest version of that macOS.
If your Mac is using an earlier version of any Mac operating system, you should install the latest Apple software updates, which can include important security updates and updates for the apps that are installed by macOS, such as Safari, Books, Messages, Mail, Music, Calendar, and Photos.
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|macOS High Sierra||10.13.6|
|OS X El Capitan||10.11.6|
|OS X Yosemite||10.10.5|
|OS X Mavericks||10.9.5|
|OS X Mountain Lion||10.8.5|
|OS X Lion||10.7.5|
|Mac OS X Snow Leopard||10.6.8|
|Mac OS X Leopard||10.5.8|
|Mac OS X Tiger||10.4.11|
|Mac OS X Panther||10.3.9|
|Mac OS X Jaguar||10.2.8|
|Mac OS X Puma||10.1.5|
|Mac OS X Cheetah||10.0.4|