macOS 12 release date, features and everything we know so far


(Cybertech) – Each year Apple launches a new version of macOS, its software for Apple laptop and desktop computers. 

This year will be no exception as Apple gears up to launch even more new Macs during 2021 with updates to the 27-inch iMac and MacBook Air expected alongside an all-new MacBook Pro lineup (14 and 16-inch) all running a new M1X or M2 processor. We’re not sure if we’ll see a new Mac Pro this year or not. 

We’re not expecting macOS 12 to be a major new release of Apple’s venerable operating system but there should still be some reasonable enhancements which we’ll hear about during Apple’s developer conference this week (WWDC). 

macOS 12 release date

  • Will launch alongside Apple’s other 2021 software releases
  • macOS 12 release date probably September

The launch of macOS 12 will take place alongside iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8 later this year. This is usually September, though the macOS date could be October.

The update will be free as Apple software updates usually are. At that time it’ll be available through the Software Update applet in System Preferences, as with any other Mac software update. 

macOS 12 name

  • Probably known as version 12
  • It’ll most likely be named after a Californian landmark again

Last year saw the release of macOS 11, ending 20 years of incremental versions of macOS 10 (or MacOS X as it was formerly known). 

macOS 11 Big Sur was clearly intended to be known as macOS 10.16 because developer builds were labelled as that. However, the Mac’s move to Apple Silicon hardware – its own processors – meant that a fresh new beginning was warranted. 

Like Big Sur, the new software will have a name that will most likely be another Californian landmark. Monterey has been a rumoured option for a little while but hasn’t been used – and it’s close by to Big Sur geographically. So it fits. 

Apple’s early OS X versions were known after Big Cats (Jaguar, Tiger, Leopard and so on) but changed to landmarks with OS X 10.9 Mavericks. 

Which Macs will be able to run macOS 12?

The system requirements for macOS 12 are likely to be similar to the macOS 11 Big Sur system requirements. 

  • MacBook (2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (2013 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Late 2013 or newer)
  • Mac mini (2014 or newer)
  • iMac (2014 or newer)
  • iMac Pro (from 2017)
  • Mac Pro (2013 or newer)

It is entirely possible that Apple will also stop support for some older models from 2013-2015, with perhaps 2015 as the cut-off point. It’s likely software updates will still come to Intel-based Macs for the next few years as Apple is still selling them, especially at the Pro-level. 

macOS 12 new features

  • Features to be announced at WWDC
  • We’ll update this feature as we know more

With Big Sur’s big redesign last year plus the support for Apple Silicon as well as Intel, it’s likely this year will be lighter on new features but bring more refinements.

A lot of the features could be under the hood, too, with support for more graphics options rumoured to be coming to the 16-inch MacBook Pro and Mac Pro when it eventually moves to Apple Silicon. Apple Silicon Macs can only support 16GB of RAM at present. That will change this year but is hardware rather than software limited. 

Writing by Dan Grabham.


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