Not much is known about the next version of macOS - we can’t even be sure of the name - but we can be confident that Apple will update macOS in 2019. Here’s what to expect from macOS 10.15 - including Apple's plans to make it easier for developers to port apps from iPhone and iPad to the Mac - and when we expect to see the new version of macOS.
What will Apple call the next version of macOS?
Continuity would suggest that Apple will call the next version of the Mac operating system macOS 10.15. However, there are a couple more options. It may feasibly decide that it’s time to move on from macOS TEN (or Mac OS X for the die-hards) altogether and graduate to macOS 11. In fact, with the iPhone 11 potentially arriving in the autumn (iPhone XI if you are using Roman Numerals) it might be the right time to bring Apple’s devices into numerical alignment.
Of course, if it was to do that macOS 11 would be out in conjunction with iOS 13, so maybe not.
One thing we do know is that the next version of macOS should bring with it even more unification between iOS and macOS, with Apple already having confirmed that as of the 2019 macOS or iOS 13 it will be easier to port apps from one OS to the other. More on that below.
Perhaps, instead it’s time to ditch numbers all-together. Apple has for many years chosen a name to represent the Mac operating system. Initial generations of Mac OS X took names of big cats, Leopard, Jaguar, Lion. In recent years the names of choice were based on popular sites in California. We have this article that lists some potential California locations that the next macOS might be named for.
Some possibilities based on a March 2018 trademark filing include Sequoia, Sonoma and Ventura.
- Sequoia, after the national park that’s home to the largest trees in the world.
- Sonoma, in the heart of California’s winemaking region.
- Ventura, a coastal city famous for surfing and windsurfing.
When will Apple launch macOS 10.15?
We expect to see Apple’s first demo of the new Mac operating system at WWDC in June 2019. Apple recently confirmed the dates for this year's event; 3 - 7 June 2019, with a macOS reveal likely taking place on the first day of the conference.
Then it is likely that the new software will be available to download in September or October 2019.
New features coming in macOS 10.15
We already know something about what’s coming in macOS 10.15 because Apple revealed details during WWDC 2018.
During Apple’s WWDC 2018 keynote the company announced plans to make it easier to port iOS apps to the Mac. The company gave developers a "sneak peek" of its strategy to give Mac developers a chance to "tap into" iOS.
While iOS and MacOS share common foundations, it's not easy to port an iOS app to the Mac because the two user interfaces are somewhat different. "Porting an app from one to the other involves some work," said Craig Federighi.
Apple has said it is looking at ways to adopt specific behaviours, for example, drag and drop, so that they can be translated to the other OS. In 2018 Apple ported across some of its own apps from iOS to Mac, and revealed that it was working on ways to make the transition between the two OSes smoother.
The plans to make it easier to port an app from iOS to the Mac was no big surprise. Back in January 2018 a report on Axios (by Ina Fried previously of Re/code and All Things Digital) claimed that you will be able to run iPad apps on macOS 10.14 when it launched in the autumn, as part of a secret Apple project.
However, around the same time, Apple software chief Craig Federighi told employees at a company meeting that Apple would be focusing on security and performance improvements in macOS and iOS in 2018. As a result, there were to be fewer major changes to the macOS than there have been in previous years, and hence it seems that the majority of work involved in getting iOS apps to run on the Mac was pushed to 2019.
Apple clearly decided that it would be a mistake to try and prepare to launch such a feature in 2018, but the rumoured project to combine iPhone, iPad and Mac apps was real.
Bloomberg also wrote that Apple planned to combine iPhone, iPad and Mac apps as part of a secret project called ‘Marzipan’. According to Bloomberg's sources in a January 2018 report: "Developers will be able to design a single application that works with a touchscreen or mouse and trackpad depending on whether it's running on the iPhone and iPad operating system or on Mac."
Picture shows some of the iOS apps Apple bought to macOS in Mojave
By unifying the app development it was hoped that third-party Mac apps would be updated more frequently. Currently, most development funding goes to iOS apps.
According to Bloomberg: “Apple plans to change that by giving people a way to use a single set of apps that work equally well across its family of devices: iPhones, iPads and Macs.”
A March 2019 Bloomberg report offered even more details about Apple's plans to combine apps across the iOS and macOS App Stores.
That report suggests that Project Marzipan will eventually allow developers to create one app that works across iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices, but that ability won't arrive until 2021.
In 2019, according to Bloomberg sources, Apple will release an SDK that could allow developers to port iPad apps to Mac computers. There will be two separate apps, but developers will only have to write the underlying code once.
Then, in 2020 an enhancement to the SDK will allow the porting of iPhone apps to the Mac.
It won't be until 2021 that developers will merge iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps, according to Bloomberg. Then developers will be able to create one "single binary” application that works across all Apple devices. At this stage there could be just one store at which customers will be able to buy apps for all Apple devices.
Expect to hear more about these plans at WWDC.
So, what’s this all mean? You won’t be able to run iOS on your Mac, or MacOS on your iPhone or iPad, but you should be able to run most of the apps you use on each device - as long as the developer ports them over. The process of porting apps should be simplified, so developers will hopefully be willing to do so.
But no merger of iOS and macOS...
This doesn't mean we can expect a merger of iOS and MacOS. Back in March 2018. Apple CEO Tim Cook repeated his views that merging the two platforms would be a mistake.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Cook said: "We don't believe in sort of watering down one for the other. Both [The Mac and iPad] are incredible. One of the reasons that both of them are incredible is because we pushed them to do what they do well. And if you begin to merge the two ... you begin to make trade-offs and compromises.
"So maybe the company would be more efficient at the end of the day. But that's not what it's about. You know it's about giving people things that they can then use to help them change the world or express their passion or express their creativity. So this merger thing that some folks are fixated on, I don't think that's what users want."
Despite Apple saying that they won't merge macOS and iOS, we have seen some great examples of how a merger of the operating systems could work, such as here. That report concedes that the new combined OS would simply need to support both x86 and ARM.
Incidentally, there are rumours that Apple will ditch Intel processors next year, moving to ARM. Ming-Chi Kuo of TF Securities predicts that in 2020 or 2021 Apple will start to use its own A-series processors in Macs. There may even be ‘evidence’ that a MacBook with an ARM processor is in the works:
Back in May 2018 there were reports that one of Apple’s manufacturing partners, Pegatron, was working on the company's first ARM-based Mac, which 9to5Mac claimed has a “touchscreen, a sim card slot, GPS, compass, is water resistant and it also runs EFI”. So maybe a Mac that runs iOS isn’t as far off as we might think…
iOS features we could see in macOS 10.15
Over the years popular features of iOS have made their way to the Mac (and sometimes vice versa).
In the next version of macOS we would like to see features like the iOS Control Centre arrive on the Mac, giving access to System Preferences, Sleep, Shut Down from an easy to use and access menu.
An iOS style App Switcher could be a useful feature for macOS. Currently if you press Command and Tab together you will see the Mac App Switcher, which is similar to seeing the apps you have open by swiping up on, or double tapping the Home button on an iOS device. But unlike in iOS you don’t see a view of the actual page, just an icon. Alternatively Expose (F3) allows you to see thumbnails of everything you have open.
In addition, various iOS apps have made the transition to the Mac over the years, and we can expect to see that happen even more following Apple’s moves to make this an easier process for developers.
Mojave bought News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home to the Mac. These apps were the first ones Apple bought over to the Mac using the new processes it will be offering to developers. We’ll discuss some of the iOS apps we are hoping to come to the Mac below.
In the next update, we’d love to see the TV app arrive on the Mac - especially since Apple is said to be soon to launch a new streaming movie and TV service.
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 and it still hasn’t really seen much attention nearly three years later. It's a real shame because we think iTunes is in dire need of an overhaul.
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 app. And as we said above, Apple should bring the TV app to the Mac and house movies and TV shows there.
The name iTunes is confusing because it encompasses more than music. We think that Apple has a lot up its sleeve in regards to iTunes, and we think it may be time for more than just a redesign but a complete rebrand. We think that the new iTunes will offer a music and movie subscription service so that customers will be able to stream content rather than buy or rent is as is the case now. More about Apple's steaming service plans here.
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.
Automation and Siri Shortcuts
Apple has spent a lot of time working on automation over the years. There are various automation tools for Mac, such as AppleScript and Automator. On the iPhone and iPad there is now the Shortcuts app, which isn’t exactly easy to use, but the fact that Siri on iOS can self-generate shortcuts based on common tasks you do is really handy and we’d love to see that on the Mac.
Say you do different tasks depending on the day of the week, you Mac could start up with the relevant apps open, and even suggest things you might want to do.
Health is a great app on 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.
Multitouch is key to how users interact with their iOS devices. It is unlikely to be implemented on Mac screens as Apple doesn’t, and has always indicated that it won’t ever, offer touch-sensitive screens. However, Apple does offer the multi-touch trackpad on some MacBook Pro, and this could enable some more multi-touch style features should Apple bring it to other Macs.
Other new features we’d like to see on macOS
Not everything we’d like to see on the new macOS is inspired by iOS... Read on for some more things we're hoping for.
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.
We're still not sure why Apple replaced Save-As (Command-Shift-S) with Duplicate in its iWork apps (Pages, Numbers and Keynote), 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.
In the meantime, swot up on your knowledge of Mac keyboard shortcuts here.
Time Machine, cloud backups and more
We'd like to see some changes to the way Time Machine works in macOS 10.15. Users have been calling for a way for Time Machine backups to be stored in the cloud. After all, our iPhones are backed up to iCloud so why can't our Macs be?
You may already have your Mac set up to store the contents of your Desktop and Documents folders in iCloud, the Time Machine backup could be the next step in moving our data to a location where we can download it all from should our Macs be stolen or stop working.
In terms of Time Machine, APFS - Apple's new file system introduced in HIgh Sierra - could bring some changes. Time Machine still uses the older HFS+ file system. This is because Time Machine currently relies on directories, and creates hard links to them. APFS doesn't support hard links to directories, it creates symbolic links (or aliases) instead.
So Time Machine has to use HFS+ to work right now, but in the next version of macOS, Apple could update Time Machine to use APFS snapshots for file linking, rather than hard links.
As for backing up to the cloud, 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.
If you're not completely up to date on Time Machine, here's a Complete guide to Time Machine
Merge Siri and Spotlight
This feature is more for convenience, rather than anything else and will provide 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.
Apple came under fire for issues with bugs and vulnerabilities in MacOS High Sierra (and iOS 11). As a result the company placed special emphasis on addressing security and performance issues in macOS Mojave. Hopefully we can expect the same care and attention with the next new update to the Mac operating system.
To find out how to keep your Mac from security vulnerabilities read: How to stop your iPhone, iPad or Mac getting hacked and our Mac security tips.
For a few years now Apple has been warning that support for 32-bit apps on the Mac would be ending. Mojave was the last macOS release to support 32-bit apps. Only applications that are 64-bit will run in the next version of macOS.
This shouldn’t be a huge issue. Developers have been updating their apps following Apple’s warnings and new apps submitted to the Mac App Store have been required to support 64-bit since January 2018, and Mac app updates and existing apps have all been required to support 64-bit since June 2018.” However, people are still likely to be using older versions of apps. If you are then it might be time to take the plunge and update to a newer version of your apps.
The last time there was this much upheaval in terms of non-compatible apps was when Apple stopped shipping Rosetta in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. Rosetta was Apple’s tool for translating apps to run on an Intel processor. When Apple initially moved to Intel, Rosetta served to translate legacy apps, but following the release of Lion those old apps were no longer supported.
Here’s how to check your Mac to find out if you are using any 32-bit applications:
- Go to Apple Menu
- About This Mac
- System Report
- Software > Applications
- Look in the final column to see whether it’s a 64-bit application.
Here are some of the non-64-bit applications that may be a cause for concern:
- Adobe Illustrator CS5
- Illustrator CC (2017)
- Adobe InDesign CS5
- Adobe Photoshop CS4
- Microsoft Excel 2011
- Microsoft PowerPoint 2011
- Microsoft Outlook 2011
- Microsoft Word 2011
Support for Office 2011 for Mac ended on 10 October 2017. Even if you are running Office 2016 for Mac you should update to version 15.35 or later. Update to the latest version of Microsoft Office here.
There are also some Apple apps that no longer work:
Apple used to bundle a number of apps with Final Cut Studio and Logic Studio, both of which are now discontinued and replaced by Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X in 2011. If you are still using these older suites note that none of these bundled apps, which included DVD Studio Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Colour, Cinema Tools, and more, will work.
If you had updated to Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X you aren’t necessarily out of the water. Only the following versions will be compatible, so if you are running an older version than the ones listed below you will need to update. You can update to the latest versions on the Mac App Store, links below.
Final Cut Pro X 10.3.4 - Update to the latest version of Final Cut Pro here
Motion 5.3.2 - Update to the latest version of Motion here
Compressor 4.3.2 - Update to the latest version of Compression here
Logic Pro X 10.3.1 - Update to the latest version of Logic here
MainStage 3.3 - Update to the latest version of MainStage here
System requirements for macOS 10.15
The fact that the next very of macOS won’t support 32-bit apps also hints that there may be a few more Macs that aren’t supported either.
Mojave is supported on the following Macs:
- MacBook models from early 2015 or later
- MacBook Air models from mid-2012 or later
- MacBook Pro models from mid-2012 or later
- Mac mini models from late 2012 or later
- iMac models from late 2012 or later
- iMac Pro (all models)
- Mac Pro models from late 2013 (plus mid-2010 or mid-2012 models with certain Metal-capable graphics processor)
Metal was the key here - Macs that didn’t have Metal support were dropped after High Sierra. It is interesting that eGPU support could extend the lives of many older Macs though.
We don’t expect that the line up will change for the new version of macOS in 2019.