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A useless analysis of macOS (OS X) release dates

Updated and republished for macOS 10.15.1; skip it unless you really really care about all the macOS releases. Originally published on November 14th, 2005.

Below the break is a table showing all major releases of macOS (previously Mac OS X) from the public beta through the latest public version, which is macOS 10.15.1, as of October 29th, 2019—the 129th release in total.

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
  Date
   Days
  Version
    Size
 Comments
2019 Oct 29 14 10.15.1 4.5 GB
Oct 15 8 10.15 SU1 985 MB No info page
Oct 7 11 10.15 4.9 GB Catalina – You need more permission!
Sep 26 31 10.14.6 SU3 1.32 GB
Aug 26 25 10.14.6 SU2 1.25 GB
Aug 1 10 10.14.6 SU1 949 MB
Jul 22 70 10.14.6 2.7 GB
May 13 49 10.14.5 2.5 GB
Mar 25 62 10.14.4 2.8 GB
Jan 22 48 10.14.3 2.0 GB
2018 Dec 5 28 10.14.2 2.5 GB
Nov 7 8 10.14.1 SU1 1.3 GB For 2018 MacBook Air
Oct 30 36 10.14.1 3.3 GB
Sep 24 27 10.14 5.2 GB Mojave – The ‘you need permission’ release
Aug 28 38 10.13.6 SU2 1.32 GB For 2018 Touch Bar MBP…again
Jul 24 15 10.13.6 SU1 1.31 GB For 2018 Touch Bar MBP
Jul 9 38 10.13.6 1.32 GB AirPlay 2
Jun 1 64 10.13.5 2.12 GB Messages in iCloud
Mar 29 37 10.13.4 2.36 GB Sortable Safari bookmarks!!
Feb 20 28 10.13.3 SU 40.4 MB Indian character/Messages crash fix
Jan 23 33 10.13.3 1.97 GB
Jan 8 33 10.13.2 SU 633.6 MB Spectre and Meltdown fixes
2017 Dec 6 36 10.13.2 2.08 GB
Oct 31 26 10.13.1 1.47 GB
Oct 5 10 10.13 SU 915 MB Addresses two security issues
Sep 25 68 10.13 4.8 GB High Sierra – Higher in the mountains?
Jul 19 65 10.12.6 1.98 GB
May 15 49 10.12.5 1.57 GB
Mar 27 63 10.12.4 1.56 GB Night Shift
Jan 23 41 10.12.3 1.05 GB
2016 Dec 13 50 10.12.2 1.94 GB
Oct 24 34 10.12.1 1.36 GB
Sep 20 64 10.12 4.77 GB Sierra – Still in the mountains.
Jul 18 63 10.11.6 759 MB
May 16 57 10.11.5 759 MB
Mar 20 61 10.11.4 1.58 GB
Jan 19 41 10.11.3 662 MB
2015 Dec 9 49 10.11.2 1.4 GB
Oct 21 21 10.11.1 1.19 GB
Sep 30 48 10.11 6.08 GB El Capitan – Go climb something!
Aug 13 44 10.10.5 1.02 GB
Jun 30 75 10.10.4 1.09 GB
Apr 16 8 10.10.3 SU 1.8 MB Supplemental Update
Apr 8 71 10.10.3 1.52 GB Includes Photos app
Jan 27 71 10.10.2 544 MB
2014 Nov 17 32 10.10.1 311 MB
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 10.8.5 SU 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 10.8.2 SU 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 10.7.5 SU 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 later)
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 2.31 GB 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 2.15 GB 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 97 MB
Jul 12 57 10.4.2 44 MB
May 16 17 10.4.1 37 MB
Apr 29 14 10.4 1.78 GB 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 36.9 MB
Nov 10 17 10.3.1 1.5 MB
Oct 24 21 10.3 1.54 GB 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 26 MB
Apr 10 56 10.2.5 81.9 MB
Feb 13 56 10.2.4 76 MB
2002 Dec 19 38 10.2.3 51 MB
Nov 11 54 10.2.2 24.4 MB
Sep 18 26 10.2.1 16.3 MB Update not available?
Aug 23 79 10.2 1.03 GB 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 10.1 989 MB Puma
Jun 22 44 10.0.4 12 MB
May 9 1 10.0.3 15 MB
May 8? 22 10.0.2 15 MB Released but replaced (see comments)
Apr 16 23 10.0.1 4 MB
Mar 24 192 10.0 659 MB Cheetah
2000 Sep 13 10.0β 676 MB Public Beta

Note: The Days column reflects the number of days between 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 macOS 10.15.1, there have been 129 macOS releases, both major and minor. This figure includes every macOS 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 have been publicly discussed, so I’ve counted them. If I’m wrong about either of these, please correct me.
  • As of October 29th, 2019 (macOS 10.15.1’s release date), it’s been 6,985 days since the Public Beta was released. So on average, we’ve seen some sort of update every 54.2 days.
  • The shortest time period between any two releases is 8 days, which is how quickly the 10.10.3 Supplemental Update came out after the 10.10.3 release. (And also the 10.14.1 Supplemental Update, and the 10.15 Supplemental Update.)
  • The longest time period between any two minor releases is 165 days, which was how long we waited for the 10.4.9 update.
  • The smallest update was 10.3.1, at only 1.5MB. The largest (non-combo, non-main OS release) update was 10.15.1 at 5.3GB.
  • 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!

A special “thank you!” goes to Mr. Ziebell (for providing some size values on very-old minor updates), and to Benton Quest (for providing size info on all the major releases up through Snow Leopard). See Benton’s comment below if you want a nicely detailed history of those early releases.

63 Comments

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  1. Any idea why they’re calling the Mojave 10.14.6 releases “Supplemental Updates”, rather than just upping the version number? I mean, if you’ve released 3 gigs worth of updates, over 2 months after the original… then you might as well just call it 10.14.7 right?

    1. No official idea, but I’d guess it’s related to how much they’re changing, what those things are, and how big the update is—all of the supplemental updates (in 10.14 and before) have been at or below 1.32GB. Of course, confusingly, there have been full updates that size or smaller, too. Some are obvious why they got full versions—one such update added AirPlay 2, for instance. Others, no idea.

      But it does seem to hold true that if the update is around 1.3GB or less, it’s likely to be called supplemental unless part of that 1.3GB is some major new feature or change.

      That’s my guess, at any rate :).

      -rob.

  2. You know what’s missing from your big lists? Build numbers.

    And because you asked nicely, here’s some extra size data for the list:

    Mac OS X 10.0.0 “Kodiak”: There were four different iterations of the Mac OS X Public Beta, but they all fit onto a single CD-ROM. DP1 occupied slightly more of the CD than the final DP4 release did, so you can count either: DP1 is 679.1 MB, DP4 is 676 MB.

    Mac OS X 10.0.4 “Cheetah”: Standard way to get it was to bu the box that was approximately 85% air, 10% printed matter and 5% being a single CD in a sleeve. It was slightly smaller than Kodiak as it didn’t pack as much nerd into it – it is a consumer OS first and foremost – so Cheetah’s disk-usage is 659 MB

    Mac OS X 10.1 “Puma”: The retail Puma package has two CDs; the main OS installer is still a single CD, but there’s a second CD labeled “Tools” that has some extra fonts, utilities and a few dev goodies that are all completely optional. You got a LOT more when you bought a brand-new Mac that shipped with Puma – eleven CDs, which included Puma, Mac OS 9.2.2, a Hardware Test CD, an Applications disc, and a 6-CD set holding a system-restore image. Most folk who bought Puma as a retail/upgrade would install the tools too, so 648MB + 341 MB = 989 MB

    Mac OS X 10.2 “Jaguar”: For the first time, Mac OS X comes in two flavours, regular and Server editions. Jaguar 10.2 Server costs more, and uses a serial-number, but with general-user apps replaced with administrator-level server toys, it is a single CD of 635MB. The regular, or ‘Client’ OS installer now comes on two CDs but most of the second is fonts & printer drivers that you can choose not to install. There’s a third CD in the retail package, “Apple Developer Tools” which has another 338MB of stuff on it. Without the Dev Tools, Jaguar Retail is 648 MB + 341 MB = 989 MB.

    Mac OS X 10.3 “Panther:” The retail boxed version comes with four CDs, three for the Panther installer and one for the rebranded dev tools: Xcode. Macs that shipped with Panther usually got a DVD or two, or a whole wallet of CDs like the Jaguar Macs had. Not counting the 637 MB of stuff on the Xcode disc, the Panther installer adds up to 1.54 GB.

    Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger”: Apple started including DVD installers with Macs that shipped with a DVD drive back in the Jaguar days, but retail and upgrade Mac OS X installers were always CD-only … until Tiger. The boxed edition of 10.4 comes as a single DVD holding 3.03 GB worth of OS-installer, Xcode, and a bevy of extra fonts, language kits & printer drivers, although it could be ordered as a 4-CD set. Even though the big switcharoo from PowerPC to Intel happened during Tiger’s reign, the retail/upgrade editions of Tiger were PowerPC-only. Ignoring the optional extras, the app and all the packages that make up the default Tiger installer add up to 1.78 GB.

    Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard”: When you’re supporting two disparate CPU architectures, everything takes up more than twice the space. Retail OS X Leopard ships on a dual-layer DVD that is absolutely chock-a-block full – 7.553 GB of the 8 GB capacity is taken, but not all of that is OS. The System you run when you boot the DVD is 1.1 GB, there’s another gig’s worth of ‘Optional Installers’ (mostly Xcode), but the main folder of installers amounts to 6 GB worth, which happens to include all the language packs, fonts for same, and over 2 GB worth of printer drivers. There’s also a 460 MB hidden ISO partition that’s got the Boot Camp software on it for Windows. If you add up the size of just the installers used to make up the default OS X – remember, it carries all the baggage needed for both PowerPC and Intel – it adds up to 2.15 GB.

    Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard”: The boxed retail Snow Leopard ships on a dual-layer DVD like Leopard did, and it too is chokka-block. You’d think going Intel-only would free up a lot of space on the disc, but no, they’ve filled the once-free-space with even more extras, including the PowerPC emulator, Rosetta – including the hidden Boot Camp partition, it all adds up to a very full 7.82 GB. There are two releases, 10.6.0 and 10.6.3 (in fact, Apple still sell the 10.6.3 DVD through the Store) with the latter release squeezing in even tighter, but if I cherry-pick the installer packages for a default OS install, it comes to 2.31 GB.

    1. Benton: Wow, thanks much for the sizing info; I’ll add it to the table shortly. As for build numbers, I thought about it once a few years ago, but decided that there’s too much variability for my liking. (For example, Apple will sometimes release hardware that gets a new build number of macOS, even though the version number is unchanged.) This post is mainly a fun diversion, and including all the build number info would turn it into more of a job :).

      -rob

  3. I just realised I got the Jaguar sizes wrong – wasn’t watching my copypasta properly :)

    Jaguar Retail is 661 MB + 374 MB = 1.03 GB.

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