Road to WWDC: What to expect for the Mac and macOS 14

A 2023 14-inch MacBook Pro on a wooden counter, near a retro lamp.
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

WWDC 2023

(Image credit: Apple)

Want more WWDC 2023 coverage? Check out our guides to the big announcements on the way!

- WWDC 2023
- Apple VR and the Reality Pro headset
- iOS 17
- macOS 14
- iPadOS 17
- watchOS 10
- Road to WWDC: What to expect for iPhone and iOS 17
- Road to WWDC: What to expect for Apple Watch and watchOS 10

As we get ever closer to WWDC 2023 there are some things that we can be pretty sure that Apple will announce. And one of those things is macOS 14.

We don't yet know what Apple will call macOS 14 — we got macOS 13 Ventura last year, of course, and the expectation will be that Apple continues its tradition of picking a well-loved Californian location for the mantle — but we won't need to wait too long before we have our answer.

Apple will hold the WWDC 2023 opening keynote on June 5 and that's when the next year's worth of software will be announced, right across its product suite. Expectations are high for some of those updates, with talk of all-new VR devices and leading the conversation. 

But what about macOS 14? What do we expect Apple to bring to the Mac and what would we like to see?

What we know so far

As is typical for macOS, we don't know all that much about what this 2023 software update will have to offer which means that we might just have to wait for Apple to announce it before we get too excited.

Most of the rumors so far have centered around iOS 17 and watchOS 10 for the iPhone and Apple Watch respectively. But the former is said to be getting quality of live improvements rather than huge new features, and it seems likely that macOS 10 will follow suit.

As for why that is, we can probably point the finger at a couple of things. First, the elephant in the room — Reality Pro. Apple's first mixed reality headset is expected to be announced at WWDC ahead of a release to the public later this year and it's likely that Apple's engineers have had their hands full getting that ready. If that means that the rest of the software updates aren't huge, so be it.

The one software update that we've been told to expect a lot from is watchOS 10, an update that Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has already claimed will be the biggest since the Apple Watch's release. If that's the case, again, it would make sense that macOS would be left largely to its own devices.

Still, there are things that Apple could certainly do with tidying up in the macOS space, and not least of all there is Stage Manager. It was announced with great fanfare at last year's WWDC 2022 event, alongside an iPad version of the feature. But it's been plagued with poor performance and questionable usefulness. A rethink of that feature wouldn't go amiss.

There's more to talk about in hardware terms. A long-rumored 15-inch MacBook Air is likely to be revealed, aping the 2022 Air redesign almost entirely, except with an additional couple of inches of screen real-estate to play with. Whether that's accompanied by a brand new M3 chip, or a returning M2 chip, is harder to guess. For our money, there's still life to be squeezed out of the M2 generation.

What may tip the scales in favor of the M3 chip making an appearance is the also-rumored debut of new pro-level Mac machines, in the shape of iMac Pro and Mac Pro desktops. Both are long overdue a revamp with Apple silicon, and WWDC 2023 would be as good a stage as any to reveal them, M3 chip in tow.

The wishlist

Dynamic Dock concept for macOS

(Image credit: Andrew Sereda/Windmill)

macOS details and rumors may be slim, but that doesn't mean that we can't hope for at least a few more improvements, though.

At the very top of our list would be for Apple to fix what it broke in macOS Ventura — the System Preferences / System Settings app. It's now more like an iPad Settings app, which makes sense in terms of consistency. But it can't be resized and some of the options are just in strange and hidden places. That needs a rethink, and soon.

We'd also like to see the Health app come to the Mac, and we've heard one rumor suggesting that the Apple Watch might finally pair with the Mac for the first time. If that's the case, the Health and Fitness apps could follow suit.

Next? How about a proper app for iCloud Keychain? The fact that we don't yet have a proper way to manage passwords stored in iCloud Keychain is farcical at this point and it needs to be fixed. Not just on the Mac, either. This needs to expand to the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 updates as well.

The aforementioned Reality Pro headset is also a bit of a wildcard here because we hope that Apple will integrate it into the Mac in some meaningful way. We're not entirely sure what that would look like, but with the headset thought to be capable of running iPad apps, we could imagine Mac apps running via Stage Manager in VR. How cool would that be? Cooler than Stage Manager outside of VR, that's for sure.

Oh, and while we're being wishful, how about a revamped Dock that borrows from the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island? Dock icons could expand to app shortcuts, for example. Imagine clicking on the Messages app and seeing all of your unread chats. We've already seen concepts along those lines. Let's have it become a reality please, Apple.

The timeline

All of this, if any of it actually happens, will arrive pretty soon. Apple will hold the WWDC 2023 opening keynote on June 5 and that's when we expect it to announce macOS 14 and the rest of its software updates. It's also when Apple will confirm which Macs the update will support, so now might be a good time to consider upgrading your machine if it almost fell off the list of supported hardware when macOS Ventura was announced in 2022. If macOS 14 isn't a huge update however, there's a chance all the same Macs will be good to go this time around.

Then we can expect a months-long beta program that will see developers put the update through its paces and test their apps against the new software. As for when macOS 14 will be released, that's likely to happen in or around September or October depending on how things pan out.

This year's WWDC is already shaping up to be a big one with the Reality Pro headset expected to be joined by a new Mac. The 15-inch MacBook Air has been rumored for a long time at this point, and it's expected to debut at WWDC. That laptop won't launch with macOS 14 obviously, but it'll be supported once the software arrives later this fall.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.