For the sixth time since 2013, Apple today used its Worldwide Developers Conference to reveal the latest version of its operating system for Mac computers: macOS Mojave. Apparently dropping the 10.x version number that’s been used for Mac operating systems for over a decade, the new name is a reference to the California-Nevada desert that’s the driest in North America.
While many of the Mojave features are small improvements to the macOS experience, including a “dark mode,” Apple also previewed a long-awaited development — iOS apps will be coming to the Mac, a process that will begin for developers in 2019.
As was accidentally leaked in an Apple video days before the event, the new version of macOS now includes a system-wide “dark mode” that makes user interface elements black or dark gray for a sleeker look, a feature that has been rumored for years — and was said to have been inspired by the Mojave desert at night.
A new Mojave feature called Dynamic Desktop can subtly change the desktop throughout the day, morning, afternoon, and evening. There’s also Desktop Stacks, which can automatically clean up a messy desktop by arranging desktop contents into stacks based on content, date, or tag. Gallery View in the Finder lets you see content in a Photos-like display, including full metadata from cameras that can appear in an optional second sidebar; you can rotate photos and do basic automation of Actions within the Finder.
The macOS screenshot creation tool has been expanded, as well, to enable instant creation of screengrabbed videos from current screen content. Continuity has been expanded with Continuity Camera, leveraging your phone’s camera to instantly add photos and scans to programs that request them.
It also includes a Mac version of the Apple News aggregation app that debuted on iOS two years ago, including the new sidebar that was shown off for the updated iPad version of News earlier in the keynote. Voice Memos is also being brought to the Mac, as are Home, the HomeKit app from iOS, and the new iOS version of the stock tracking app Stocks.
Apple also announced a collection of heightened security features for macOS, including protection by default of camera access, microphone access, your mail database, message history, and other private data. Safari is being updated to surreptitiously shut down cross-site tracking of users using various data boxes on web pages, as well as abstract “fingerprinting” achieved by looking at your configuration, fonts, and plug-ins. Mojave will make it harder to do this by stripping down the system configuration information provided to data companies. The Safari improvements are coming to iOS 12, as well.
Mojave also includes an updated version of the Mac App Store featuring updated design elements taken from the App Store on iOS. Until now, the Mac App Store has continued to use Featured, Top Charts, and Categories tabs for app discovery, but the new update features an editorially generated Discover tab, moving charts into separate Create, Work, Play, and Develop tabs. Video previews for apps are also included.
Apple also showed external GPU and Metal software improvements powered by Mojave, and said that although Apple is not merging macOS and iOS as operating systems, it is offering a sneak peek at a multi-year project to bring iOS apps to the Mac. For phase one, Apple is taking some iOS apps to the Mac, including the new Apple News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home apps. Developers will be able to bring iOS apps to the Mac in 2019.
The list of Mac models supported by macOS Mojave is notably shorter than its predecessor, High Sierra, and includes the following computers:
- MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
- MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or newer)
- Mac mini (Late 2012 or newer)
- iMac (Late 2012 or newer)
- iMac Pro (2017)
- Mac Pro (Late 2013)
- Mac Pro (Mid 2010 and Mid 2012) will be supported if they include a Metal-capable GPU
Registered developers should expect to get their hands on the macOS 10.14 beta later today, using Apple’s Developer Center. An initial public beta of the new OS typically will follow between one day and two weeks later, depending on the stability level of the first developer beta. The final version will ship in fall 2018.