Apple’s Macintosh computers uses the operating system called macOS. This was earlier known as Mac OS X or OS X. The operating system has a name, version and a build number. Since Apple frequently releases updates, it is necessary for the users to keep the Mac up to date. If you are wondering what macOS version you are using, then here are some ways to check that.
Why to Check macOS Version?
When Apple releases new features, they will be available only for those using the certain macOS version. The features may not be compatible if you are using the old version without updating your OS. For example, Apple claims the latest Safari version 15 is the world’s fastest browser when tested with macOS Monterey. So, if you want to use Safari 15 then you should have macOS version 12 or later.
Similarly, you can download and install the app available on Mac App Store only if you are using the compatible macOS version. When you are viewing the app, scroll down to “Information” section where you can find the compatibility detail. Generally, it will show you “Works on this MacBook Pro” or will not work if the developer did not update the app. Click on the small arrow mark to find the exact macOS version required for running the app. In this below example, you can find the Apple’s Swift Playgrounds app shows “Requires macOS 11.5 or later”.
This is the same situation with third-party apps that they will work with the compatible macOS version. Therefore, your macOS version is the first thing you need to know before installing any OS update, App Store and third-party apps.
Format of macOS Version
As mentioned, macOS version has the following details:
- Name – like Monterey
- Version number – like 12 for major version and 12.4 for minor version
- Build number – like 21F79
How to Find macOS Version Number?
You can find the macOS version either from the Apple menu or using the Terminal app. We will explain both the options here and you can use the one convenient for you.
1. Find macOS Version from Apple Menu
- Click on the Apple Menu and select “About This Mac” option.
- It will open a pop-up and go to “Overview” tab.
- Here, you can find macOS version and all the details of your OS / computer.
- By default, the build number is hidden and click on the version number to view the build number.
- In our case, macOS Monterey is the OS name, 12.4 is the version number and 21F79 is the build number.
As you can see, the “Overview” section also shows useful details like processor, memory, graphics card and serial number.
2. Find macOS Version from Terminal App
There are few Terminal commands available to find the macOS version and other details. First one is to simply enter sw_vers and press enter in the Terminal app. It will show macOS product name, product version and build number as shown below.
Next command is system_profiler which will show the system details including complete details of installed apps, networks, firewall, etc. It will be difficult to read and find the OS version with the huge result. So, to get the simple results showing software version, you can use additional parameter SPSoftwareDataType with the command like system_profiler SPSoftwareDataType. Now, you can find the OS version, build, user name, time since last boot, etc.
Version History of macOS
At this point when we publish this article, macOS is at version 12.4 with the name as Monterey. Check the below table if you are looking for the complete list of macOS version history.