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A useless analysis of OS X release dates

Updated and republished for the OS X 10.10.1 release; skip it unless you really really care about all the OS X releases. Originally published on November 14th, 2005.

Below the break is a table showing all major releases of OS X from the public beta through the latest public version, which is OS X 10.10.1 as of November 17th, 2014. Note that this release marks the 84th release of OS X (counting major, minor, and released-then-yanked updates). Wow.

Note: Click the ⓘ symbol to read Apple’s release notes for a given update.

The following was culled from Apple’s support downloads page, and as such, some of the dates may be off just a bit. If you know for certain that something is incorrect, please let me know and I’ll get it fixed. (Scroll to see all entries.)

Year Month
Day
Gap
(days)
Version Size Comments
2014 Nov 17 32 10.10.1 311MB
Oct 16 29 10.10 5.2 GB Yosemite – No surfers here.
Sep 17 79 10.9.5 139 MB
Jun 30 46 10.9.4 283 MB
May 15 79 10.9.3 461 MB
Feb 25 71 10.9.2 460 MB
2013 Dec 16 55 10.9.1 243.4 MB
Oct 22 19 10.9 5.3 GB Mavericks – All out of big cats!
Oct 3 21 10.8.5SU 19.6 MB Supplemental Update
Sep 12 100 10.8.5 273.7 MB
Jun 4 82 10.8.4 152.0 MB
Mar 14 161 10.8.3 249.0 MB
2012 Oct 4 15 10.8.2SU 26.7 MB Supplemental Update
Sep 19 27 10.8.2 665.5 MB
Aug 23 29 10.8.1 24.2 MB
Jul 25 77 10.8 4.1 GB Mountain Lion – App Store only
Oct 4 15 10.7.5SU 2.0 MB Supplemental Update
Sep 19 133 10.7.5 1.1 GB Released w/ 10.8.2
May 9 98 10.7.4 692.7 MB
Feb 1 112 10.7.3 1.3 GB Only combo updater available
2011 Oct 12 56 10.7.2 768.8 MB Now iCloud enabled
Aug 17 29 10.7.1 79.3 MB
Jul 19 26 10.7 4.1 GB Lion – App Store only (USB stick in the fall)
Jun 23 94 10.6.8 453.6 MB App Store readied for Lion
Mar 21 74 10.6.7 475 MB
Jan 6 57 10.6.6 143.6 MB Can you say “App Store?”
2010 Nov 10 148 10.6.5 644.5 MB
Jun 15 78 10.6.4 607.2 MB
Mar 29 140 10.6.3 719.2 MB
2009 Nov 9 60 10.6.2 473 MB
Sep 10 13 10.6.1 71.5 MB
Aug 28 23 10.6 ??? Snow Leopard – First Intel-only release
Aug 5 85 10.5.8 274 MB
May 12 148 10.5.7 442 MB
2008 Dec 15 91 10.5.6 372 MB
Sep 15 77 10.5.5 316 MB
Jun 30 33 10.5.4 88 MB
May 28 107 10.5.3 420 MB
Feb 11 88 10.5.2 343 MB Combo updater only
2007 Nov 15 20 10.5.1 110 MB
Oct 26 128 10.5 ??? Leopard – First universal binary release
Nov 14 147 10.4.11 128 MB This ’10’ goes to ’11’
Jun 20 99 10.4.10 72 MB
Mar 13 165 10.4.9 160 MB
2006 Sep 29 94 10.4.8 206 MB
Jun 27 85 10.4.7 133 MB
Apr 3 48 10.4.6 163 MB
Feb 14 35 10.4.5 16 MB
Jan 10 71 10.4.4 55 MB First Intel-capable release
2005 Oct 31 111 10.4.3 97MB
Jul 12 57 10.4.2 44 MB
May 16 17 10.4.1 37 MB
Apr 29 14 10.4 ??? Tiger
Apr 15 65 10.3.9 51.3 MB
Feb 9 56 10.3.8 26.6 MB
2004 Dec 15 40 10.3.7 97 MB Combo updater only
Nov 5 88 10.3.6 34 MB
Aug 9 75 10.3.5 ???
May 26 72 10.3.4 79 MB Combo updater only
Mar 15 89 10.3.3 70 MB Combo updater only
2003 Dec 17 37 10.3.2 ???
Nov 10 17 10.3.1 1.5 MB
Oct 24 21 10.3 ??? Panther
Oct 3 57 10.2.8 40 MB
Aug 7? 93 10.2.7 ??? For first-gen G5s only
May 6 26 10.2.6 ???
Apr 10 56 10.2.5 81.9 MB
Feb 13 56 10.2.4 76 MB
2002 Dec 19 38 10.2.3 ???
Nov 11 54 10.2.2 ???
Sep 18 26 10.2.1 ??? Update not available?
Aug 23 79 10.2 ??? Jaguar
Jun 5 47 10.1.5 45.1 MB Combo updater only
Apr 19 57 10.1.4 1.7 MB
Feb 21 62 10.1.3 16 MB
2001 Dec 21 37 10.1.2 29.2 MB
Nov 14 50 10.1.1 13.8 MB
Sep 25 95 10.1 ??? Puma
Jun 22 44 10.0.4 12 MB
May 9 1 10.0.3 15 MB
May 8? 22 10.0.2 ??? Released but replaced (see comments)
Apr 16 23 10.0.1 ???
Mar 24 192 10.0 ??? Cheetah
2000 Sep 13 10.0β ??? Public Beta

Note: The Gap column reflects the number of days between update releases. Some entries may appear out of chronological order (i.e. 10.5 is shown on Oct 26, but above Nov 14 for 10.4.11). This is to keep the version numbers in the proper order, even when an older OS received an update after a major new release came out. This has happened a few times over the years.

Some random notes, updated from the original post:

  • Starting with the Public Beta and up through OS X 10.10.1, there have been 84 OS X releases, both major and minor. This figure includes every OS X release. There have been two updates—10.0.2, which as far as I can tell, was never released, and 10.2.7, which I believe was the update with the one-day lifespan—that are somewhat odd, but they were in fact released, so I’ve counted them. If I’m wrong about some of these, please correct me.
  • As of November 17th, 2014 (OS X 10.10.1’s release date), it’s been 5,178 days since the Public Beta was released. So on average, we’ve seen some sort of update every 61.625 days.
  • The shortest time period between any two releases is 13 days, which is how quickly 10.6.1 came out after the 10.6 Snow Leopard release.
  • The longest time period between any two minor releases is 165 days, which was how long we waited for the 10.4.8 » 10.4.9 update.
  • The smallest update was 10.3.1, at only 1.5MB. The largest (non-combo) update was 10.7.2, at 768.8MB (i.e. 512.5 copies of the 10.3.1 update!).
  • The “???” entry for Size on a given release indicates I was unable to find the size. Feel free to contact me if you can help replace any of the “???” entries.

And now, gratuitous graphics…

Releases by version number

Releases by year

I warned you it was useless…perhaps not completely boring, but useless!

Updated: Nov 17 '14 — 12:20 pm

39 Comments

Add a Comment
  1. Nice tables! :)

    The interesting question for me is, how many bug fixes/features did each of these releases contain over the previous ones?

  2. 10.2.7 was available only on certain new models shipping late Summer 2003 – Fall 2003. I don’t believe it was available as a seperate download.

    -DaMacGuy

  3. Ah, that’s right — I think it was for the first-gen G5s. I’ve changed the note on the table to indicate that…

    Thanks;
    -rob.

  4. Your table doesn’t have 10.0.4 in it, which i am almost certain existed. I think it came out in late June 2001.

  5. Sorry, that was an editing oversight — it’s in there now, and yea, it was June 22, 2001. It *was* included in all the other analyses, though (total releases, releases by month, etc.). I just missed it putting the table together.

    Thanks;
    -rob.

  6. There was at least one re-release (I forget which). It probably isn’t even listed on the download section as the first release had some major problems (hence the immediate re-release). And I hate to point it out, but you put ” ‘to minor’ ” instead of ” ‘two minor’ ” on the third bullet.

  7. Actually, ‘to minor’ is what I meant to write — as in if you only count updates that went to minor version numbers, instead of to major version numbers…

    -rob.

  8. I had put together a similar table, but I also had a weighted average of all the time in between releases. The idea being that it might give me some indication for an educated guess on how long it will be before the next release. I had a % accuracy of all my numbers and a projected time span for the next minor release. About numbers, statistics and Excel… I thought I was the only one ;) Recently I started focusing all that energy and effort on stocks (something useful, and something that can make me money!). Keep up all the good work on the Robservatory. I enjoy reading what you have to say.

  9. i was just wondering if anyone could help me, this probably isn’t the right place to ask but you all seem pretty smart and i am technologically retarded so, my dilema… i need to upgrade my os x (currrently 10.2.8) but i can’t download anything higher than 10.3 if i don’t already have 10.3, which i have been looking for frantically but havent been able to find anywhere. does it exist for me to download? is it that my system will not be able to take it anyway? i don’t know what to do now but i am quickly slipping into technological redundancy as i need to download things which require a better os. any help would be greatly appreciated. thankyou.

  10. 10.3 is a purchase upgrade from 10.2.8. At this point, your best bet is to just jump to 10.4, also a purchase-only upgrade.

    And for future reference, you’ll get much better help from forums such as those at macosxhints (http://forums.macosxhints.com) and Macworld.

    -rob.

  11. Hmm. I said it had 10, and that’s still what I get to based on the table above. What am I missing … or counting twice, as it may be?

    -rob.

  12. Rob,

    Thanks, just the information I needed!
    Are you going to update this now that 10.4.5 and 10.4.6 have been released? If not, do you know anyone else who does? E.g. Juz10Mac pointed out that he made some prognosis stuff, but didn’t leave a URL (shame on you, Justin!).

  13. You list 10.0.2 as “never released”, but in fact it was. I’m having trouble finding the exact date, but I’m pretty sure it was the 1st of April 2001 (I can find news references to in from April 2nd, backing up that date).

    The reason you’re not finding it in the KBase is that, for some unknown reason, Apple all but erased its existance when 10.0.3 (which only makes minor changes from .0.2) shipped; although Software Update would in fact produce an incrimental updater, the 10.0.3 update completely replaced every trace of the 10.0.2 one on Apple’s site.

    I remember there being some confusion as to why Apple had done this, and here’s an article Google dug up for me that goes into great detail about it:

    http://www.macjournals.com/special/weekly_mystery_update.html

    10.0.2 was real, though, I’m almost certain I remember installing it, and there were products (initial OSX Cro-mag Rally beta, for example) that required it.

  14. #16: Thanks for the clarification; I updated the comments section to refer to the version as released then replaced.

    -rob.

  15. What I’d like to know is the total elapsed time from when Apple starts a Major release such as 10.5 to when they actually release it for Public retail purchase. I suspect its around 2 or 3 years.

  16. The reason you’re seeing more minor releases is the time between the major ones is increasing. If you do the maths the number of minor releases for all versions work out very similar: (ignoring actual release dates) for Puma it worked out to be a minor release every 46 days, for Jaguar 55, for Panther 53, and Tiger 55.

    The release times are: Cheetah to Puma 185 days, to Jaguar 332, to Panther 427, to Tiger 553. As of today, Leopard’s at 684…

  17. I don’t think that’s correct: the iMac was the first Intel Mac, introduced in January of 2006, and it shipped with 10.4.4.

    I don’t think any Intel Macs existed before January 2006, and 10.4.3 came out in the fall of 2005.

    -rob.

  18. Actually, 10.5 is the first universal binary. Previous installs of the OS were either PPC or x86 separately. I would call 10.4.4 (10.4.3?) the first public release of an x86 build of the OS.

  19. bdog: Correct you are; I changed the label on 10.4.4 and gave the Universal sticker to 10.5.

    Of course, 10.4.11 coming out after 10.5 messes up the sorted-on-date view of the table, but I think it makes more sense to keep the OS releases togeter. (Hopefully there’s not a 10.4.12 coming.)

    -rob.

  20. Rob: I noticed that you noted that 10.5.1 removes the “blue screen Windows sharing icon”. I can still find the same icon resource at the same location: /System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources/public.generic-pc.icns .

    Or are you saying the resource might be still there, but the Finder doesn’t use it when displaying Windows shares anymore? If so, what does it use now?

  21. Hmm, my bad, I think. I was looking at GenericPCIcon.icns, which is a gray version of the Windows diamond logo. The public file is still there. I wonder which will get used (I don’t have a PC to connect to).

    For now, I’ve taken the note out.

    -rob.

  22. Windows PC icon for Network environment window is the same in 10.5.1 as it was in 10.5, i.e. it’s a beautifully rendered old-fashioned CRT monitor with BSOD image. It looks especially funny along with great Mac icons, which correspond to real Mac hardware (if it runs Leopard). So, one may judge who’s running Leopard on the LAN by their icons amongst others.

  23. Okay, I have crunched numbers in this thread. I have read the bones. I prognosticate uselessly! Feb 09 will bring a release that could be dubbed OS11.

  24. I run a plastic cards company and we use macs for everything. We have top end mac pros and macbook pros running snow leopard and some older machines (I cant bare to get rid of them) G5 power macs and G4 power books that run leopard.

    I find that with snow leopard, apple mail is much nippier than it was on leopard but in general, a 8 core mac pro – feels sluggish.

    I love using macs and will never go back to using pc’s but they just don’t seem to have any speed about them these days.

    I remember many many years ago when I bought my 1st G4 powerbook, it was great and speed wasn’t an issue but now, installed with the most upto date OSX that will run on it, it is rather sluggish to say the least.

  25. I think 10.4.7 was the first universal binary system that came out. Certainly was the first Retail release that could be installed on both. Perhaps I’m thinking the server version…?

    Some more comments next to each release, as well as a link to the Knowledge Base article would be useful additions.

    To Paul Wilburn — get yourself a Solid State Harddrive. This is where the big bottle neck is on anyone’s system. Get a small one to try it out and stick your toe in the water. You will not regret it at all.

  26. There were separate releases for Intel and PPC (10.4.3, 10.4.4, 10.4.5, 10.4.6 etc) until 10.4.7 when you could get the Universal installer. Updates after this were listed as Universal for those that had started with a 10.4.7.

  27. Charlie:

    I think you’re thinking of Server; Apple’s update site still lists Intel and PowerPC as separate downloads for 10.4.7 through 10.4.11. For Server, though, there’s only one listed (for any Server release), but I don’t see any system requirements, so I can’t tell if it’s universal or not.

    -rob.

  28. I’ve now added a link to Apple’s Support site (the ⓘ symbol) so you can read what Apple had to say about each release. The only two that are missing are the two non-releases in the list (10.0.2 and 10.2.7).

    -rob.

  29. If you going to go all the way back to the Public Beta, you may wish to add the Rhapsody releases (see http://goo.gl/AG8Mh ) as well, as that was the first place that I was able to experience what was to become OS X.

  30. you say there was only 1 public beta

    but there were 2

    US version had build number 1H39

    But there was also an international version with build number 2E14

  31. Rob, very useful information! This is a tremendous help for our Tech Support Dept when trying to quickly communicate with our on-campus users.

  32. Hi guys sat here chuckling , all I was looking for was info on what worked with my early imac 2006 , and here’s you 2 , slugging it out over updates etc , all I wanna do is make the damm thing work ,ha ha

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