When will Apple release its next version of macOS for 2017 - macOS 10.13, the follow-up update to macOS Sierra? And what new features will macOS 10.13 add to the Mac?
macOS Sierra was launched on 20 September 2016; nearly five months later, we're eagerly looking forward to the next major update to macOS. In this article, we round up and analyse all the clues, hints and speculation about macOS 10.13, 2017's update to the Mac operating system: macOS 10.13's release date in the UK, its codename, and the new features we expect it to bring to the Mac. We also include our wishlist of new features that we hope to see in the new macOS update later this year.
New macOS 10.13 update 2017 release date rumours: Launch date
Current public version: 10.12.3. macOS 10.12.3 includes bug fixes and improves various graphics issues. Read more about the macOS 10.12.3 update
Current beta version: 10.12.4 beta 2. macOS 10.12.4 brings iOS 9.3's Night Shift mode to Mac
Apple is fairly predictable when it comes to macOS updates. Each year it unveils the new version of macOS (or, before 2016, Mac OS X) at WWDC in June. So you can safely put your money on macOS 10.13 making its first public appearance at WWDC 2017 this June.
Here's our expected release schedule for macOS 10.13:
- 5 June 2017: macOS 10.13 unveiled at WWDC 2017. Apple demonstrates new features and announces name of new OS. First developer beta released to devs.
- July 2017: First public beta released. Developer beta continues to receive updates.
- September 2017: Final version of macOS 10.13 is released to the public.
New macOS 10.13 update 2017 release date rumours: Name
Apple long ago stopped naming its desktop operating systems after big cats. macOS 10.13, like Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan and Sierra, will be named after a place in California. (Although iDrop News, for reasons we're not aware of, call it macOS Mammoth in their conceptualisation feature.) We lightheartedly discuss a few places that would make good macOS names in this article: 14 possible names for the next version of macOS.
At this stage Apple probably hasn't settled on an official name for next year's update. It'll get a codename before then.
(Interestingly, the first two versions of Mac OS X were just called 10.0 and 10.1 in public, with Cheetah and Puma kept as internal codenames. It was only with the launch of Jaguar in 2002 that Apple made the cat name part of the public branding, but it maintained a separate codename for internal use. From then up to 2014, the codenames were based on wines; from 2015 onwards Apple used types of, well, apple - the fruit, that is. macOS Sierra was codenamed Fuji.)
By the way, we've largely assumed throughout this article that Apple will carry on its version numbering conventions and call the next operating system macOS 10.13 (even though these days the company uses macOS version numbers quite rarely, and focuses on the more memorable Californian branding). But one columnist has argued that Apple is finally preparing to bite the bullet and release macOS 11.
Apple has rolled out a new file system, APFS, which is currently at the 'experimental' stage; the final release is expected in 2017. The theory goes that at this point, or after a period of testing (meaning we'll get macOS 10.13, followed by macOS 11 in 2018), Apple will finally feel able to make a break with the past and start a new chapter.
Forum users on MacRumors have discussed this idea recently, but there doesn't seem to be a huge amount of enthusiasm for the idea; as one user puts it, "I hope we don't get 11 until Mac gets a massive improvement from where we are today." Mac users care more about features than branding. Talking of features...
New macOS 10.13 update 2017 release date rumours: New features wishlist
While Apple's macOS Sierra update adds a wide range of handy and interesting new features, there are some things we'd been hoping for that didn't happen. Here are some new features we'd like to see in macOS 10.13.
'Conference calls' in FaceTime
At the moment FaceTime is limited to two callers, which is a bit rubbish. (Skype allows up to 10 callers, although quality is better if you keep numbers to five or fewer.) Multi-caller FaceTime was the top choice of new macOS feature when iDrop News polled its readers in November 2016.
Ahead of WWDC 2016, rumours suggested that iTunes would get a complete redesign alongside the Apple Music app for iOS, making it easier to use, according to people familiar with the matter.
Apple Music did get a makeover, but iTunes was left alone at WWDC 2016. It's a real shame because we think iTunes is in dire need of an overhaul. One idea would be to separate the iTunes app and the Apple Music app, giving subscribers a simpler, more attractive interface.
Everybody loves the macOS dock, allowing for quick access to your most used apps and folders - but there's still room for improvement, especially for those of us that use multiple displays. The dock is available across all connected displays, but it's always the same dock with no way to edit it on a per-screen basis. For those that use multiple displays to perform different tasks - from editing videos to coding and more - being able to have a separate dock on each display could speed up the workflow and generally make life a little easier.
Bring back the Save As shortcut
We're still not sure why Apple replaced Save-As (Command-Shift-S) with Duplicate in its iWork apps, but we think Apple should rethink the approach. Whatever new approach to file saving they had planned hasn't gained wider industry traction, and it's just confusing to everybody who knows the Command-Shift-S is Save As.
Read next: Mac keyboard shortcuts
Sort out automation once and for all
Read next: 10 ways to automate your Mac
Health app for macOS
Health is a great app for iOS and Apple Watch, and we think it'd be nice to see it come across to macOS. Being able to keep an eye on your health stats from the desktop would help Health become a much more versatile tool.
Read next: How to use Apple's health app
System-wide Dark Mode
Dark Mode for the Dock and Menu bar is nice, but we'd love to see it integrated System Wide and adjust the whole appearance of macOS. There was a rumour of a Dark Mode reskin called Marble at one point, and we'd love to see a darker, edgier macOS.
Read next: How to switch on Dark Mode on the Mac
There's no getting away from the fact that iTunes is a big, bloated mess of an app. We'd love to see Apple break iTunes up into a series of smaller apps (as it is in iOS). Top of our list would be a dedicated Music app, with deep integration with Apple Music. But we'd also love to see separate Podcasts and iTunes Store apps.
Read next: iTunes 12.2 review
Clock App for macOS
Wouldn't it be great if macOS had a proper Clock app, with all the functionality of the Clock app in iOS? The widget is fine, but a dedicated app with Alarm, Stopwatch and Timer functionality for macOS would come in handy.
Read more: Why we hate the iPhone alarm
iCloud Time Machine
You can backup your iOS devices to the cloud, but what about your Mac? With cloud storage prices falling, we think it's high time Apple brought cloud backup directly into macOS. You might have to pay extra for the solution, but it'd be a much better system than backing up Macs to external drives.
Read more: Complete guide to Time Machine
Merge Siri and Spotlight
This feature is more for convenience, rather than anything else and will provide a greater integration of both local and internet-based searches. This principle is similar to the way Microsoft integrated its own voice-based tool, Cortana into the search function of Windows 10. Of course, if you prefer not to use Siri you can always disable it from the settings.
iPhone auto unlock
macOS Sierra brought us auto unlock using an Apple Watch, but we're sure many would appreciate the option to unlock their Macs with their iPhones - a class of device owned by far more people.
New macOS 10.13 update 2017 release date rumours: Leaked screenshots and concept illustrations
As we get closer to launch, it's likely that leaked screenshots of pre-launch builds and test betas of macOS 10.13 will start to appear on the internet; we'll post the most interesting and plausible ones here.
In the meantime, here are some concept illustrations mocked up by iDrop News to show features most wanted by their readers. Remember: these are only imaginary!
Above: FaceTime with four participants. Sorely needed! You can also see the redesigned Dock.
And here's the iPhone/Apple Watch Activity app, transplanted to the Mac.
To see more of these illustrations, take a look at iDrop News.