Comparison between OS X Versions

Snow Leopard (10.6)

Release Date: 08/28/2009

Improvements (from previous version):

  • More disk space frees up after a clean install 
  • More responsive Finder
  • Faster Time Machine backups
  • More reliable and user friendly disk ejects
  • More powerful version of the Preview application
  • Faster Safari web browser

Minimum Requirement:

  • Intel CPU, 1 GB of RAM, 5 GB of free disk space

Lion (10.7)

Release Date: 07/20/2011


  • iPhone's iOS's feature integrated in OS X
  • Launchpad – An application launcher that displays an iOS-like icon grid of installed applications. It features the ability to make multiple pages and group apps into folders that function the same as folders in iOS
  • Greater use of multi-touch gestures
  • Support for PowerPC applications discontinued
  • Auto-hiding scrollbars - only appear when they are being used
  • Mission Control (unifies Exposé, Spaces, Dashboard, and full-screen applications within a single interface)
  • Resume – Applications resume in the same state when re-opened as already seen in iOS
  • FaceTime comes bundled with Lion
  • Apple Push Notification Service – Send over-the-air alerts, such as news updates or social networking status changes, using Apple's Push Notification service to applications.
  • Auto-correction behaves much like on iOS devices, displaying an iOS-like popup box
  • Auto Save – As in iOS, documents in applications written to use Auto Save are saved automatically so users do not have to worry about manually managing their documents
  • Versions – Time Machine-like saving and browsing of past versions of documents for applications written to use Versions
  • Finder improvements – Finder search allows multiple search criteria to be specified without creating a smart folder, Finder search offers suggestions, files can be grouped by various attributes, and one can merge files under two folders with the same name
  • Full-screen apps – Native, system-wide support for full-screen applications running in their own space
  • iCal has an updated user interface, an annual view, and support for a full-screen view
  • Mac App Store – An application store built in the image of the iOS App Store. Like in iOS, it provides ways for shoppers to discover apps, one-click installation of apps, and one-click updates of all or selected installed applications
  • Mail 5 – Uses an iPad-like user interface, has a fullscreen-optimized view, uses chronological "Conversations" to organize messages, and supports Exchange 2010 (but not through the Exchange ActiveSync protocol, as iOS)
  • Preview gains several features, including full-screen support and the ability to sign a document just by holding a signed piece of paper up to the camera
  • Recovery Partition – Apple has introduced a recovery partition that includes utilities generally found on the OS X discs. This partition permits the user to restore their computer to its original factory state. It also allows for a new copy of OS X Lion to be installed over the internet


  • Intel CPU, 2 GB of RAM, 7 GB of free disk space, Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later

Mountain Lion (10.8)

Release Date: 07/25/2012


  • Incorporates features seen in iOS 5
  • Include Game Center
  • Support for iMessage in the new Messages messaging application
  • Reminders as a to-do list app separate from iCal (renamed as Calendar, like the iOS app)
  • Includes support for storing iWork documents in iCloud
  • Notification Center - desktop version similar to the one in iOS 5.0 and higher
  • Application pop-ups are now concentrated on the corner of the screen
  • Center itself is pulled from the right side of the screen
  • MobileMe was replaced entirely by iCloud
  • RSS support in Mail and Safari was removed (search the Mac App Store for an RSS app)
  • The Software Update service unified into the Mac App Store.The list of updates installed in the past removed
  • The "Web Sharing" option removed from System Preferences
  • The Display Preference Menu replaced by the AirPlay icon, and it is no longer possible to quickly switch resolutions without first opening up preferences
  • The option in Menu Bar to display battery life using "Time" is no longer offered. Instead, the only option is to display battery "Percentage". However, battery time can still be viewed in the dropdown by clicking on the battery icon


  • Intel CPU, 2 GB of RAM, 8 GB of free disk space, Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later

Mavericks (10.9)

Release Date: Q3 — Q4 of 2013


The update places emphasis on battery life, Finder enhancements, other enhancements for power users, and continued iCloud integration, as well as bringing more of Apple's iOS apps to the OS X platform.

Improved multiple display support: The menu bar and the Dock can be accessed on secondary displays

  • Apple TV can be used as an external display
  • Mission Control has been updated to organize and switch between Desktop workspaces independently between multiple displays
  • Finder enhancements, including tabs, fullscreen support and document tags
  • Added new iBooks and Maps applications
  • Calendar enhancements
  • Safari enhancements
  • iCloud Keychain sync
  • Notification Center enhancements
  • Timer Coalescing
  • App Nap, which sleeps apps that are not currently visible
  • Compressed Memory
  • OpenGL 4.1 Core Profile
  • OpenCL 1.2
  • Server Message Block version 2 (SMB2) is now the default protocol for sharing files
  • Linkedin sharing integration