38 years of macOS: Video shows the development of Apple’s operating system


macOS is now 38 years old. A tech YouTube channel took this as an opportunity to produce a journey through time from the very first version of macOS to the current beta of macOS Ventura. The video demonstrates how the Apple operating system has changed in terms of functionality and appearance.

Of the YouTube channel Nobel Tech is known for its focus on operating systems. The channel documents changes to features, icons, skins, and more. A recently published video is about the evolution of macOS. And although the operating system has changed drastically over the 38 years, some features are still based on the functions of that time.

System 0.97: gray, pixelated, iconic

The first version of Apple’s operating system was not called macOS at the time, but was called “System”. System 0.97 was released in 1984 but was only used internally at Apple. Not much could be done with the Apple operating system. There was an alarm clock, a calculator, an on-screen keyboard, the notepad and even a sliding puzzle. With the scrapbook there was even an application that could be used to create multimedia documents consisting of text and images.

Visually, System 0.97 was limited to the essentials. The resolution was low, the colors included only shades of gray. An important feature from back then is still available in macOS today: the “Finder” file manager. And the menu bar, whose entries adapt to the open program, is still an integral part of macOS today.

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macOS X: The operating system version with the most updates

Over the years, “System” has continued to develop. The operating system became more colorful and got many new functions. In 1997, System 7.6 was finally renamed macOS 7.6. A major design change happened with macOS X. The entire operating system became more plastic, more spatial and therefore also much more lively.

There were already some programs in macOS X that are still used today, such as Apple’s own mail client, Preview and iTunes. macOS X is the Apple operating system with the most updates. Before Apple switched from version number 10 to 11, the company released a total of 15 updates for macOS X.

macOS 11 to 13: Small but nice changes

In the later years, macOS hasn’t changed much, at least in terms of design. Since macOS 11, the focus has largely been on optimizing the operating system. With each new version, small optical changes and new functions are added. The macOS 13, which will be released in autumn and is called “Ventura”, will differ only slightly from the current Monterey version. But maybe major design changes are no longer necessary for macOS.