Apple is on the cusp of releasing macOS 12 for both Macs and MacBooks.
After macOS Big Sur introduced a refreshed user interface and support for its M1 Macs, it’s expected to be a minor update this time, similar to macOS Catalina.
At last year’s WWDC, Apple announced that they would be in a two-year transition period that would move all of the Macs to the ARM chips, currently named M1. So far, we have the MacBook Air (2020), Mac mini and MacBook Pro 13 (2020) running on this chip, and most recently, the iMac (2021) in its many colors.
While it looks to be a quiet year for macOS 12, there’s still rumors as to what it could include, and even hint towards the other Macs that will be housing an M1 chip soon.
Alongside announcements of iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8 expected to be showcased at the keynote, it’s going to be one to watch, just to see how these improvements will benefit the Apple devices you own.
With rumors that this may be a year of refinements for the latest macOS version, it doesn’t mean it won’t be significant, especially if you’re looking to upgrade your existing Mac.
However, if you decide to upgrade to macOS 12 when its announced but decide that it’s not for you, here’s how to downgrade macOS and go back to macOS 11 Big Sur. Be sure to keep this page bookmarked, as we’ll keep it updated with the latest information and features.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? macOS 12, the successor to macOS 11 Big Sur
- When is it out? It will be available towards the end of the year
- How much will it cost? Nothing. Apple software updates are always free
macOS 12 release date
The next version of macOS is expected to be announced at WWDC, but not released. There will most likely be a version for developers once macOS 12 is official, and a public beta version for you to try out will probably be available in July.
As usual, this will be a free update for everyone with a compatible system. If you’re not sure if your Mac or MacBook is compatible, check out the system requirements below.
When will macOS 12 be available to download?
The macOS 12 update should be available for download through your Mac’s System Preferences menu, or you can download it through the Mac App Store application once its released towards the end of the year, most likely mirroring past releases of macOS.
macOS 12 system requirements
While the requirements for macOS 12 have yet to be announced, we’ve listed the compatible Mac systems below that work with macOS 11 Big Sur:
- 12-inch MacBook (2015 and later)
- MacBook Air (2013 and later)
- MacBook Air M1 (Late 2020 and later)
- MacBook Pro (Late 2013 and later)
- MacBook Pro M1 (Late 2020 and later)
- Mac mini (2014 and later)
- Mac mini (Late 2020 and later)
- iMac (2014 and later)
- iMac M1 (2021 and later)
- iMac Pro (all models)
- Mac Pro (2013 and later)
macOS 12 name – Monterey?
This time around, it may be between two names – Monterey and Mammoth. Both have been registered by Apple as recent as April.
While some may be hoping to see the return of cat names return, such as Ocelot, we suspect Monterey will be the latest name, mainly due to it being part of Big Sur by the Californian coast.
macOS 12 features
While there has been next to no rumors of what could be in macOS 12, its likely that this will be a release to fix up bugs and refine the operating system further, especially if a new MacBook with a new Apple Silicon chip is coming.
Think of this release as more the Snow Leopard of macOS releases. Back in 2009, Apple made efforts to push the fact that it was a refined release, and no new features.
With a move to a completely different chip last year, it makes sense for macOS to be refined again to be even faster on the new Apple Silicon chips.
Mac on ARM
After so many rumors, it’s finally happened last year. Apple announced that Macs would be transitioning to Apple-designed silicon, similar to what we’ve seen with every other device in its lineup.
The first of these arrived back in October with the MacBook Air (2020), Mac mini and MacBook Pro 13 (2020), followed by the iMac in May. There are rumors that a 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro may be announced at WWDC as well, with a newer Apple Silicon chip, the M1X or M2.
As the M1 can only work with 16 of RAM, alongside up to four ThunderBolt ports, pro-customers want even more power and ports to use in their new Macs, which is where the upcoming chip comes in.
Rumored to feature the return of a HDMI port and an SD-card slot, alongside a MagSafe power connector similar to the iMac, this M1X/M2 variant could perform even better than what’s out now.
However, with many apps still not running natively on Apple Silicon just yet, Rosetta 2 is still emulating these on the M1 Macs. There could be an improved version to come in macOS 12, especially if a new Mac or MacBooks arrives at WWDC as well.