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Ver. Code Name Avail. Date PHP
Python Ruby Features introduced
Monterey Fall 2021 ? 3 ? ? Share screen on FaceTime, SharePlay TV shows, Spatial audio, Focus notifications, Quick Note, work across devices
Big Sur Fall 2020 ? 3 ? ? Run iPhone & iPad apps, Control Center. Safari language translation.
Catalina Fall 2019 ? 3 ? ? XCode 11 Voice Control, Jira, Apple TV, podcasts, Sidecar iPad with pencil
Mojave Sep 24, 2018 7.1.23 2.7.10 2.6.1p33 Dark Mode, Shift-Command-5 to capture screen with video, Dynamic Desktop, Group FaceTime, New Mac App Store, News, Stocks, Voice Memos, HomeKit
High Sierra Sep. 25, 2017 5.6.28 2.7.10 2.4.2p198 ADFS, H.265 video, Metal 2
Sierra Sep. 20, 2016 5.6.28 2.7.10 - Auto unlock, universal clipboard, Siri, Watch login
El Capitan (Gala) Sep. 30, 2015 5.5.14? 2.7.10 - Disable System Integrity Production
10.10 Yosemite (Syrah) Oct. 16, 2014 5.5.14 2.7.6 - Swift, non-skeuomorphic UI, connect Apple
10.9 Mavericks (Caberet) Oct. 22, 2013 5.3.26 - 2.0.0p247 -
10.8 Mountain Lion July 25, 2012 - - 1.8.7 -
10.7 Lion July 20, 2011 5.3 - - -
10.6 Snow Leopard Aug. 28, 2008 5.3 - - Apple Store
10.5 Leopard Oct. 26, 2007 5.2 2.5.1 - -
10.4 Tiger April 29, 2005 - - - Intel chip; from tsch to bash shell
10.3 Panther ? ? - - -

Based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OS_X#Versions

Version Terminal Commands

There are several ways to get the version of MacOS:

  1. In a Terminal window on any folder:


    Sample response:

    ProductName:	Mac OS X
    ProductVersion:	10.14.6
    BuildVersion:	18G9323

    PROTIP: Provide this about your computer whenever you talk about your situation to StackOverflow or other technical support form.

    The x.x.x pattern in ProductName is called Semantic Versioning.

    The “10” (in 10.12.5) is associated with “Darwin”, an open-source Unix operating system released by Apple Inc. in 2000. It is composed of code developed by Apple as well as code derived from NeXTSTEP, BSD, Mach, and other free software projects. –Wikipedia.

  2. For just the productVersion:

    sw_vers -productVersion

    This is a different command than used in Linux lsb_release command.

  3. Invoke the Unix name” utility command also used in Linux:

    uname -a

    The -a requests all parameters, for a response such as:

    Darwin macs-MacBook-Pro-4.local 
    16.6.0 Darwin Kernel Version 16.6.0: Fri Apr 14 16:21:16 PDT 2017; 
    root:xnu-3789.60.24~6/RELEASE_X86_64 x86_64
    • Darwin is the kernel name (-k).
    • macs-MacBook-Pro-4.local is the node name (-n), where the characters before the first dash is your user name.
    • 16.6.0 is the Linux kernel-release (-r).
    • x86_64 is the machine name (-m).
    • i386 is the processor name (-p).
    • Not applicable on Macs (Linux only) are the hardware platform (-i) and operating system (-o) flag.

    NOTE: The architecture of i386 is also output by this Linux command:

  4. To locate that full path to the OS Platforms SDK:

    xcrun --show-sdk-path

    Sample response:





The App Store app nags you every day to upgrade.

PROTIP: Do a full backup before upgrading.

  1. To find out more about why a macOS Sierra installation failed, view the log:

    textedit /var/log/install.log

Each user starts with a login keychain saved at


and a Local Items/iCloud keychain saved in folder:


Administrative users can manage macOS authentication assets with the /Library/Keychain/System.keychain.

Apple maintains several items for macOS use in:


Create a bootable installer for macOS

  1. Identify:


    Beta installers should be placed in a bootable USB drive.

    To manually download the complete installer:

  2. Go to the installer page for your current MacOS version at, for example:


  3. Click “Download in iTunes” to open up iTunes app.
  4. Click “Get”.
  5. Close iTunes after download is finished into your user Applications folder.
  6. In Finder, press shift+command+A or click the Go menu to select Applications.

    The file “Install macOS Sierra.app” for 10.12.5 is 4.97 GB.
    The “Install macOS High Sierra.app” is ???

    Notice there are spaces within the file name of the download
    “Install macOS Sierra.app”. This means back slash (\) escape characters are needed to “escape” spaces in typed commands referencing the file. Example:

    ls "/Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/"

    PROTIP: The forward slash is used as an escape character before each space character.

  7. Run the installer:

    "sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/startosinstall --converttoapfs NO"

    PROTIP: Use the GUI utility described below instead of the createinstallmedia command described in Apple’s https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201372

    Boot USB stick

  8. Get a 16 or 32 GB flash drive.
  9. Insert the drive into your Mac.
  10. View the contents in Folder.
  11. If you have any other data on that flash drive, back it up, because the installer will delete everything on it.

    Optionally, a secondary internal partition can be used if it has at least 12 GB of available disk space for installation files.

  12. Open the Terminal app (in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder).

    PROTIP: Drag Terminal.app to drop it at the bottom edge of the screen so it’s available anytime.

    Install Disk Create GUI

  13. Download InstallDiskCreate.zip from:


    It is from the talented @BenedictSlaney in New Zealand.

  14. Click the Download icon on the website.
  15. Unzip the file by clicking on it in the browser or in Finder.
  16. Scroll to the “Install Disk Creator” application file (dated March 15, 2017) and click to invoke it.
  17. Click Open if you see a pop-up about downloading from the internet.
  18. Open a new Finder Window and Go Applications.
  19. Drag and drop the app file into the Applications folder.
  20. Delete the zip file downloaded to free up space.
  21. Within the Applications folder, double-click to invoke “Install Disk Creator”.

    Create Installer Disk

  22. Select the volume. It’s usually “Untitled”.
  23. Click the “Choose a macOS installer” button.
  24. Find the Sierra installer file. This is should be located in your root Applications folder under Macintosh HD (not your user Applications folder).
  25. Select your flash drive from the drop-down menu.
  26. Click “Create Installer”.
  27. Click “Erase disk”.
  28. Provide your password.
  29. There is no indicator of progress. Wait for it to be done.
  30. Remove the installer media and label it.

    Use installer disk

  31. Insert the USB drive into the Mac being installed.

    CAUTION: Again, this wipes out the hard disk on the Mac.

  32. Launch the installer by holding down the Option key when you boot up your computer.
  33. Wait a while for its completion.

Update downloads

Download combined updates which include all components from prior point releases, even if they are not installed on the target Mac, from:

Desktop Wallpaper Pictures

The default desktop image on High Sierra is of Maroon Bells, Colorado. It’s one of the most photographed destinations in America, located just outside Aspen in the Rocky Mountains.

Wallpaper images that come with OS X are of Retina resolution: 5120x2880. Really big.

Get to the Desktop quickly by spreading thumb and 4 fingers on the touchpad.

To choose a different picture from Preferences:

desktops/screensaver select your desktop (highlight) press Command and C at he same time. BTW, notice where your picture/photo folders.

Want to add the Windows 10 wallpaper to your desktop?

  1. Get to folder where system wallpapers are held from the Finder > Go |> Go to Folder > /Library/Desktop Pictures.
  2. Sort by File Size.

Use Touchbar to auth Terminal

Within Terminal app:

  1. Edit the file using sudo or another text editor:

    sudo nano /etc/pam.d/sudo
  2. Add the following line to the top:

    auth sufficient pam_tid.so
  3. Save the change within Nano using Control+O and then exit nano with Control+X.
  4. Reboot.

Versioned Professional Certifications

Apple Certified Support Professional certifications are for specific versions:


The two-hour exams are $65 each at Apple Certification Records System (ACRS) at https://training.apple.com/acrs (Pearson Vue).

Apple Training Series books ($100) from Peachpit Press help you prepare for the exam are expensive.

macOS Support Essentials 10.13 Troubleshooting is praised by everyone.

To become a certified Apple Certified Mac Technician (ACMT) 2017, first pass the Mac Service Certification Exam (MAC-17A), then the Apple Service Fundamentals Exam (SVC-17A). For MAC-17A, correctly answer 80% of 70 questions in 2 hours. But you can refer to Apple references and courses in ATLAS.

Apple Certified Mac Technician 2017 is a four-day $2,800 course that enables participants to pass the Apple Service Fundamentals exam (SVC-17A) and become certified to troubleshoot and repair Mac computers.

More on OSX

This is one of a series on Mac OSX: