macOS Sonoma: Features, Supported Devices, Release Date & More!

Apple has unveiled the next version of the Mac’s operating system, macOS Sonoma. Here are the best new features and supported devices.

WWDC23, the event where Apple previews its next-generation operating systems, has now passed. During the keynote, Apple showed off a ton of new software including iOS 17, iPadOS 17, watchOS 10, tvOS 17, and macOS 14.

It’s the last one of those – macOS 14, known by its brand name, macOS Sonoma – that is the operating system that runs on Mac computers, including the company’s MacBook laptops and iMac desktops.

But just what does Apple have in store for macOS Sonoma? Here’s what we know so far…

macOS Sonoma: Name

Unlike iOS and iPadOS, Apple doesn’t brand macOS by its version number. Instead, Apple assigns a version name to macOS in marketing materials. For example, macOS 11 is known as macOS Big Sur, macOS 12 is known as macOS Monterey, and macOS 13 is known as macOS Ventura.

What’s interesting about Apple’s recent macOS naming convention is that all the names are from places in California – the home of Apple.

We now know macOS 14 will be called macOS Sonoma. But if you were interested in what the other potential names could have been, you’re in luck. You see, Apple has trademarked a number of California-related names it has still to use. Vox’s Parker Ortolani has listed these names in a tweet from April (via 9to5Mac). They are:

  • Diablo
  • Condor
  • Tiburon
  • Farallon
  • Miramar
  • Rincon
  • Pacific
  • Redwood
  • Shasta
  • Grizzly
  • Skyline
  • Redtail
  • Sonoma
  • Sequoia
  • Mammoth

We now know that Apple plucked the name Sonoma from the list and that will be what macOS 14 is called. It’s very possible other names from the list will be used for versions of macOS in the future.

macOS Sonoma: Features, Supported Devices, Release Date & More!Pin
Credit: Apple

macOS Sonoma: Features

While Apple is adding some new features to macOS Sonoma, the overall upgrade wont be as significant as in previous years. This is probably actually a good thing as its gives Apple’s developers more time to work on bug fixes and stability improvements.

Here are the best new features coming to macOS Sonoma:

New Screen Savers

Probably the most stunning new feature of macOS Sonoma is its new screen savers. If you’ve seen the screen savers on the Apple TV, you’ve got a good idea of what the news screens avers on macOS Sonoma will look like.

But one cool thing about the new macOS Sonoma screensavers is that when you log into your Mac or wake it from its screensaver state, the slow movtion video screen saver will slowly freeze its image and become your static desktop wallpaper.

Desktop Widgets

Speaking of the desktop, macOS Sonoma is instroducing desktop widgets to the Mac. While you can still access your widgets in the side panel of your macOS desktop, in macOS Sonoma you can now drag a widget to you desktop and place it anywhere you want.

What’s even more cool abotu this is you can set the desktop widgets to automatically become transpaerent when you are wokring in an app window so they do not become a visual deistraction to yout eyes.

And the widgets are interactive, so you can use them to pause music, turn out lights, and more.

Use A Website Like An App

One of the more questionable new feautres is the ability of macOS Sonoma to kind of transform a website into an app. It’s a weird feature and one we’re not sure anyone was asking for.

Here’s how Apple describes it: “Add any website to the Dock as a web app, right from the File menu. Launch a web app to get an app-like experience with a simplified toolbar. Access web apps the way you would any app and receive notifications.”

We’ll have to wait to see how useful a feature this actually is in macOS Sonoma.

Gaming Mode

One new feature that is very welcome is a new gaming mode in macOS Sonoma. When gaming mode is engaged, your Mac gives CPU and GPU priority to the game you are playing, which should help with gaming performance and framerates.

This is a welcome feature because it shows Apple is taking gaming on the platform more seriously. However, do note that Gaming Mode is only available on Apple Silicon Macs running macOS Sonoma and not Intel Macs.

In addition to Gamin Mode, Apple also announced the following games are coming to Macs (all games sold seperately):

  • Fort Solis
  • Stray
  • SnowRunner
  • World of Warcraft: Dragonflight
  • The Medium
  • Resident Evil Village: Winters’ Expansion
  • No Man’s Sky
  • Firmament
  • Disney Dreamlight Valley
  • Dragonheir: Silent Gods
  • Layers of Fear

macOS Sonoma: Supported Devices

Currently macOS Ventura (macOS 13) supports the following devices:

  • iMac: 2017 and later
  • iMac Pro: 2017
  • MacBook Air: 2018 and later
  • MacBook Pro: 2017 and later
  • MacBook: 2017 and later
  • Mac Pro: 2019 and later
  • Mac Studio: 2022
  • Mac mini: 2018 and later

Here’s a quick guide on what the cheapest MacBook is that you can buy right now.

We now know that Apple is DROPPING support for some of those devices from macOS Sonoma. This isn’t a surprise as the models dropped are Macs with older Intel chipsets. However, some Intel Macs will still be able to run macOS Sonoma (just not all of the features).

Here are the Macs that will run macOS Sonoma (macOS 14):

  • iMac: 2019 and later
  • iMac Pro: 2017
  • MacBook Air: 2018 and later
  • MacBook Pro: 2018 and later
  • Mac Pro: 2019 and later
  • Mac Studio: 2022 and later
  • Mac mini: 2018 and later

macOS Sonoma: Release Date

Apple has already released the first developer beta of macOS Sonoma to developers. The company is expected to release the first public beta of macOS Sonoma to interested users in July.

Then all users who have supported devices will be able to download macOS Sonoma when it ships to the public later this fall. Based on past years, we should see macOS Sonoma become available in October 2023.

Michael Grothaus

Michael Grothaus is an American author and journalist with a flair for exploring the intersection of technology, creativity, and digital culture. With a background in film, journalism, and creative writing, he brings a unique perspective to the world of mobile technology. His work has been featured in renowned publications like Fast Company, The Guardian, and Engadget. At KnowYourMobile, Michael leverages his extensive knowledge to guide readers through the complexities of mobile devices, helping them make informed choices in the fast-paced tech landscape.

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