Apple's CEO Tim Cook heralded macOS Mojave, the newest version of the Mac operating system, as "chock-full of new features inspired by Pro users, but designed for everyone" and "a huge leap forward".
After Mojave launched on 24 September 2018, users were able to enjoy new features such as Dark Mode, Dynamic Desktop, Desktop Stacks, new ways to take screenshots, a new News app and a redesigned Mac App Store. We cover all the new features you can get with Mojave below, along with Mojave's system requirements so you can find out if your Mac can get Mojave.
We'll also cover updates to Mojave - such as macOS 10.14.3 that arrived on 22 January and bought various security fixes that address vulnerabilities that could allow a hacker to gain control of your Mac. More information here: How to stop your iPhone, iPad or Mac getting hacked.
You'll also find details of any problems people are encountering with Mojave, including vulnerabilities and incompatible software, and the crashes we have been experiencing.
So read on to find out everything you need to know about Mojave. Alternatively, you can read about what new features will arrive with macOS 10.15 here.
Mojave release date
Mojave was released for download on Monday 24 September. If you have yet to install it, read our guide to installing macOS Mojave here.
The first major update, macOS 10.14.1 arrived on 30 October.
Latest macOS version & updates
Apple doesn't rest on its laurels once a new version of macOS is on Macs, it continues to develop features and fix bugs and any vulnerabilites. Usually Apple will first release updates to those who are signed up to Apple's beta program. Apple runs a beta program for its new operating systems and released numerous developer and public versions of the Mojave beta throughout the summer before the final version was launched. Apple will continue to issue updates that address flaws and add new features, running the changes by its beta testers first.
If you want to be a part of the macOS beta program, either as a developer, or as a public beta tester: find out how to get the macOS beta here.
To update a Mac with subsequent version updates users will have to go to System Preferences > Software Update, rather than going to the Apple Menu > Software Updates.
On 22 January Apple issued an update to the Mac operating system to improve security, stability and compatibility. The update addresses a number of security issues which Apple outlines here.
This update bought a few stability and security fixes.
The first major update to Mojave arrived on 30 October.
It includes Group FaceTime - a feature that was removed from the earlier betas but Apple promised would be ready at some point this autumn.
This feature will allow you to conference call 32 participlants on Macs or devices running iOS 12.
There are also 70 new emoji.
Apple has also included a number of bug fixes, and we assume a fix for a vulnerability in the initial release (discussed below).
Inevitably there are issues with the early version of the software - although this should really not be the case given the extensive Beta testing Apple follows.
We’re not exactly sure what is causing this. But our Mac (27-inch, Late 2013, iMac) keeps crashing since we installed Mojave on it.
Our best guess was that it’s related to a large spreadsheet in Google Docs - although our Mac has since crashed even without that open.
Another possibility is that it is related to Sleep - we’ve seen reports that Mojave is causing some Macs to crash on Sleep with people having to force a restart after the Mac goes to sleep.
We’ll be looking into this issue and will report back when we learn more.
The release of Mojave was tainted by the discovery of a zero-day vulnerability relating to privacy permissions.
The faulty implementation of security protections can expose user data, according to security researcher Patrick Wardle of Digita Security (via BleepingComputer).
Wardle claims that the flaw could allow an app to bypass permissions and obtain user data from certain apps.
Wardle demonstrates a bypass in a video that he uploaded to Twitter. In the video Wardel is able to access a Mac's Address Book via an unprivileged app.
Mojave's 'dark mode' is gorgeous ?— patrick wardle (@patrickwardle) September 24, 2018
...but its promises about improved privacy protections? kinda #FakeNews ?
btw if anybody has a link to ?'s macOS bug bounty program I'd ? to report this & other 0days -donating any payouts to charity ?
It’s only possible to access the data when a user is logged into a Mac, so it shouldn’t be a problem unless you leave your Mac unguarded.
What's new in Mojave
There are a number of new features coming to the next version of macOS. In particular, Apple appears to have focused on enhancing the Finder and Quick Look. But other new features are welcome, in particular, Dark Mode, which we will look at first.
A Dark Mode is nothing new - there has been a sort of dark mode available since El Capitan, but it only changed the appearance of menu bar and Dock. There was also the Night Shift mode that toned down the colours and removed the blue light that keeps you awake. However, the new Dark Mode in Mojave is what everyone had been calling for.
In High Sierra, the unofficial Dark Mode adjusts the colour of the menu bar and dock, but little else. The Dock's translucent background becomes darker, the menu bar's drop-down menus are darker (although still translucent). As shown in the below image.
Not all third-party apps offer support for the dark menu bar, and even some Apple apps, such as Safari, currently feature a bright translucent sidebar.
The Dark Mode in Mojave, shown below in the Calendar app, will be applied to all elements of the interface, in every app, system-wide. Users can choose whether to turn it on. (We have a tutorial on Using Dark Mode on the Mac here).
Showcasing the new system-wide dark appearance, Apple's Craig Federighi explained that the dark shade "extends to the windows and the chrome". Adding that it's "great not just for photography, but also if working in a dark environment."
The developers in the keynote audience got a first look at the redesigned dark mode version of Xcode.
The new darker interface had been leaked prior to the keynote, thanks to some images that appeared on Apple's developer site.
Early evidence that Apple was working on a system-wide dark mode also came via code in WebKit. This particular code would adapt rendering of a website in reaction to Dark Mode settings.
Apple showcased some changes to the Desktop that are coming in macOS Mojave.
One change that will help Mac users keep their desktop clutter-free is Desktop Stacks.
If you tend to save everything to your Desktop (as above, surely we all do that) you probably have a desktop covered in files, images and folders. Is there even room for another document? Apple is seeking to help us keep our Desktop more organised, without having to resort to a Stuff file.
In Mojave, images, for example, will be clumped together in a stack, so you will be able to find what you are looking for. At least we hope that will be the case - if you are like us, frequently dropping something on to your desktop so you can find it to email it, or edit it, you may be wondering if shuffling it away into a stack is the solution you are looking for, but we will wait and see.
With regards to your Desktop, Apple also showcased a feature called Dynamic Desktop, that means the backdrop to your screen will change throughout the day to a scene that's most appropriate (an evening screen in the evening for example).
Finder, Quick Look & Markup
The Finder, Apple's default file manager, is also getting a few updates in Mojave.
Apple is adding a new view in the Finder. Gallery view will show users a preview of an image along with details such as metadata that can be seen in a sidebar.
Currently you can see Finder items as icons, in a list, in columns or as Cover Flow. The new Gallery view looks like a reworking of the Cover Flow view.
The great news is that this new Finder view will give you more than just a preview of the picture, document, or whatever it is you are trying to fine. Apple has refined the Markup tools currently available in Preview and added then to QuickLook.
As a result, you could preview (or Quick Look at) a PDF, and using the Markup tools add your signature without even opening up the Preview app.
Similarly, you will have lots of tools at your disposal when looking at images. During the WWDC keynote Apple demonstrated these quick actions that you can use on the current photo - for example, rotating or cropping an image from inside the finder.
You will even be able to trim video from within QuickLook.
Another change coming in Mojave is going to transform screenshots.
Taking a screenshot will be more reminiscent of taking a screenshot on an iOS device, with a small thumbnail appearing to the right of the screen when you take a screenshot, and easy access to the tools to edit that shot (crop, etc) from within the preview.
Apple will also be adding a tool for screen capturing video. Currently, this is available via the QuickTime app, so we imagine it is going to simplify the process.
APFS on Fusion Drives
High Sierra bought with it a new file system - APFS. APFS made duplicating a file and find the size of a folder instantaneous, offered built-in encryption, and saved space. However, it still doesn't work with Fusion Drives.
The good news is that Fusion Drives - and hard drives - will get APFS in the next version of macOS. Apple confirmed as much during the keynote, and back in May 2018 Apple's Craig Federighi responded to a Mac user who asked whether APFS was ever going to make it to the Fusion Drive, saying "We intend to address this question very soon," via MacRumors.
New apps and app updates
Apple usually makes some changes to existing apps, and sometimes adds entirely new apps when it updates its operating system. And this year is no different.
The News app is also coming to the Mac.
News will have all the stores you can currently read on your iOS device, including Top Stories, Trending Stories, sections that are personalised for you. A sidebar will allow users to jump straight into the channels that they follow.
Apple seems to be doing its utmost to take on Google in terms of the delivery of news.
The leaked Dark Mode screenshots mentioned above also showed a News app icon in the Dock so the news that Apple was bringing News to the Mac wasn't a surprise.
A popular app on the iPhone, voice memos is coming to the Mac.
The real benefit here isn't so much that you will be able to record on your Mac, but rather that a recording taken on your phone will be immediately available to listen to (and edit) on your Mac.
The Home app is also coming to the Mac.
Users will be able to monitor their gadgets, including video cameras, thermostats, and the like, as well control the devices using the Siri voice assistant.
Safari had some pretty big updates in terms of privacy, the removal of troublesome ads, and autoplaying videos, in 2017. In 2018, Safari is set to become even more challenging for advertisers as Apple makes it even easier to turn off cookies.
Speaking about cookies tracking you between websites, Apple said it will be "Shutting that down."
The company also spoke about how some organisations are able to recognise your Mac because of "Fingerprinting" - your Mac is recognised because of certain characteristics and that means data companies can track your device from site to site. Apple said that it will make it "harder to track you."
The Fingerprinting technique is used to create a unique identifier for a user based on how their computer and operating system responds to particular browser actions. This can replace the need for Cookies as a means of identifying users and means it's possible to track a user when if they have Cookies turned off.
Apple will attempt to stop third parties from being able to use these techniques to identify your Mac by "a unique set of characteristics," according to Apple's Craig Federighi: "Apple will make it "more difficult for data companies to uniquely identify your device and track you".
How? The company will make your Mac look "more like everyone else Mac."
Apple did release a beta version of Mojave that included an update to FaceTime that would make it possible to have 32 people join a FaceTime call, however, this feature was removed from the seventh version of the Mojave beta and Apple revealed that it wouldn't be ready until "later this fall".
When it does arrive, Group FaceTime should allow as many as 32 participants to join the same call. At least Apple's indication that the new feature will arrive "this fall" (that's autumn) suggests we won't have to wait almost a year, as we did with AirPlay 2.
Mac App Store
The Mac App Store will also be getting a makeover.
According to Apple it's been "Redesigned from the ground up."
There is a new UI, videos showcasing the apps will auto play so potential buyers can see what an app is capable of doing before they download it.
Users will even be able to view tutorials in Mac App Store.
Apple has high hopes: in the keynote the company said: "We think the Mac app store will inspire the next generation of apps."
iOS and the Mac
Apple is introducing some new ways in which we can utilise our iOS device when working on the Mac. It also gave developers a preview of some exciting changes that will make porting iOS apps to the Mac even easier.
Mac users will be able to "Take advantage of having an iPhone as a content capture device," according to Craig Federighi.
Mac users will be able to choose their iPhone as a method of capturing content when they are working on their Mac. In the scenario shown in the keynote, if you wanted to add an image to a document you could choose the iPhone as a capture device, at which point the iPhone camera would light up automatically, and you could take a snap.
The iPhone could be utilised similarly if you needed to scan a document.
The photograph or scan goes immediately to the document on the Mac.
This new feature isn't coming in macOS Mojave, but it is coming...
During the keynote Apple announced its 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 will be looking at ways to adapt specific behaviours, for example, drag and drop, so that they can be translated to the other OS. In 2018 Apple will be looking at some of its own apps, and 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 launches in the autumn, as part of a secret Apple project.
While it looks like Apple has decided that it would be a mistake to try and prepare to launch such a feature in 2018, it is clear that the rumoured project to combine iPhone, iPad and Mac apps was real.
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." This project was codenamed Marzipan.
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.
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.
macOS Mojave system requirements
Prior to the announcement we knew that the next version of macOS won't support 32-bit apps so we predicted that would mean that a few Macs wouldn't be supported either.
Another clue as to which Macs might not be supported was Metal. We expected that Macs that don't have Metal support would get dropped after High Sierra.
We were correct in our predictions, only the following Macs support Mojave:
- iMac models from 2012 or later
- iMac Pro (from 2017)
- MacBook models from 2015 or later
- MacBook Pro models from 2012 or later
- MacBook Air models from 2012 or later
- Mac mini models from 2012 or later
- Mac Pro models from late 2013 (plus mid-2010 and mid-2012 models with recommended Metal-capable GPU)
You'll notice what that last option means - no more cheese grater Mac Pro support. Apple had better hurry up and launch it's Mac Pro successor.