You may only just be getting your head around all the bells and whistles of the most recent macOS release, but time waits for no man nor any Mac. So as sure as the sun sets and the moon rises, macOS 14 is in the works somewhere in Apple's software labs in Cupertino.
The next macOS update, like new versions of iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and tvOS, will not officially be released until this fall. But we'll hear much more about them earlier, of course, with Apple's annual WWDC conference in the summer your best bet for the first appearance of new macOS goodies.
The next version of macOS, a successor to macOS 13 Ventura, may contain several new and updated features — or end up being a ho-hum update, at best. Regardless, we'll update this post as more details about macOS 14 are discovered between now and the announcement.
Here's everything we know about macOS 14 — and a few predictions and wishlist items of our own.
macOS 14 name: What's in a name? And where?
For many years, macOS (and before it, MacOS X and OS X) versions were named after cats such as Tiger, Snow Leopard, and Puma. Beginning with macOS Mavericks in 2013, versions started including names of California locations such as Big Sur, Yosemite, and El Capitan. Apple will likely continue the current naming conventions when macOS 14 is released later this year. Names mentioned in past years that haven't yet been used in 2023 include Mammoth, Sequoia, Sonoma, and Redwood.
If Cupertino moves in a different direction, how about expanding macOS names beyond the California border? How does macOS Rocky Mountains or macOS Everglades sound? Or go even further with macOS Milky Way or macOS Mars?
macOS 14 is coming this year, and it needs a new name, but is it time for Apple to look beyond California for inspiration?January 5, 2023
Possible new features and the latest rumors
The macOS 14 rumor mill is still very quiet as the year begins. However, that will surely change in the coming weeks. While we wait to hear news about the update, a good starting point for anticipation is to look at the iPhone and iPad and see whether any features on those devices would also work on macOS.
Let's start with widgets. Currently, these are located in the Notification Center on macOS, where they are hidden, making them less valuable. On iPhone and iPad, you can add widgets anywhere on the Home page; on macOS 14, perhaps Apple will allow us to add these to the desktop and make them more useful.
Stage Manager improvements would also be welcomed. The feature, also available through iPadOS on select iPad models, debuted with macOS 13 Ventura. Though genuinely good, there remains a learning curve associated with how best to use Stage Manager on Mac. An excellent place for a reboot would be to add some right-click functionality to the thumbnails associated with the feature; that would add clarity to window groups or the moving between apps.
With macOS 14, we might also see more mobile apps jump to Mac. Last year, Apple brought the Weather and Clock apps to macOS from iOS. This year, the Translation app would be an appropriate candidate. Other mobile apps would also be helpful on Mac, but more on that later...
Assuming Apple sticks to its regular schedule, macOS 14 will likely be released in October or November. In 2022, for example, macOS Ventura was released on October 24. A year earlier, macOS Monterey arrived on October 25. During the Covid year 2020, macOS Big Sur didn't launch until November 12. The last time a macOS version launched in September was in 2018, when macOS Mojave was released on September 24.
Beta testers will first get their hands on the macOS beta release earlier, however, after it's (almost certainly) announced at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which will likely kick off on Monday, June 5.
Whenever new versions of macOS are released, older Macs are left behind in terms of compatibility. Typically (but not officially), Macs tend to support the latest version of macOS for at least seven years from when the model was first released, including the best Macs on the market, including the five-star-rated MacBook Air (2022).
Today, the oldest Macs that support macOS Ventura were released in 2017. This suggests every Mac that supports Ventura will also work with macOS 14. But we'll need official confirmation upon release to be sure.
What we want to see
There are various ways Apple could improve macOS in 2023. We've narrowed our wishlist to five items; this list will likely grow in the coming weeks.
Health and Watch app integration should launch on Mac if only so we can review this information on a larger screen. There's a security element Apple would need to consider to get this done. But as Apple's new Advanced Data Protection for iCloud service provides, the company does have some experience in this area, no?
Apple has done an admirable job of adding new features to the native Mail app in recent years, such as last year's introduction of the undo send and schedule send features. However, a significant Mail app design change is in order this year. It feels stale compared to other apps on Mac, especially those that jumped from mobile in recent years, such as News, Weather, and Stocks.
A more user-friendly password/passcode manager would also be helpful. Better still, move this information from System Settings into a separate app. That way, the new passcode feature could specifically find a bigger audience.
It would also be great to see the Clock app alarms synced across multiple devices, or at least an option to do so. While this hasn't yet happened makes zero sense.
Finally, Apple should find a way to connect and interact the Mac with its upcoming reality/xrOS and Apple VR headset. The form this would take largely depends on what the company's new AR/VR headset can do, but we can easily foresee being able to use Continuity features to interact with Mac applications while using an Apple headset. There's still lots shrouded in secrecy around that launch, and there's enormous potential here.
We'll update this post often. Until then, hit that bookmark, and check back for more macOS 14 news and rumors soon.
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Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.
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