Following the WWDC keynote on June 5, we now know that the next version of macOS will be called Sonoma, named after the Californian wine region. Among the new features coming to Macs are changes to Widgets, a new Game Mode, the ability to easily turn web pages into web apps, and fun additions to video conferencing apps. Read on for the lowdown on all the new features and improvements coming later in 2023.
macOS Sonoma: Release date
The final version of macOS 14 will be released to the general public in the fall. In the recent past, the release has come several weeks after the new version of iOS ships. Here are the release dates for the previous five versions of macOS:
- macOS 13 Ventura: October 24, 2022
- macOS 12 Monterey: October 25, 2021
- macOS 11 Big Sur: November 12, 2020
- macOS 10.15 Catalina: October 7, 2019
- macOS 10.14 Mojave: September 24, 2018
On that basis, we predict that macOS Sonoma will arrive on October 23, 2023.
macOS Sonoma: Beta release date
This is what the beta release timeline could look like:
- June 5: macOS 14 is revealed and the developer beta is released.
- July 12: Apple releases the first public beta.
- June to September/October: This is the beta period. Apple will release several beta updates during this time.
- September/October: macOS 14 is released to the general public.
macOS Sonoma: How to install the beta and official version
Apple changed the beta process in macOS 13.4, so the way to install the macOS 14 beta is different from what it was previously. Instead of downloading the Beta Access Utility for every device, you’ll only need to register your Apple ID for the beta program to install betas on every Apple device that is signed into that account.
Then when you go to Software Update, you’ll see a new tab for Beta Updates, which will list the version of the beta you’re running. If you want to install the beta, select macOS 14 Public Beta. If you want to return to Ventura, select Off. To install the official version, you need to wait for Apple to start shipping it in the fall. Then, you’ll be able to use Software Update in System Settings, or you can download it from the App Store.
Just remember: betas are not as stable as the official version–features may be implemented and then withdrawn, or they may not work properly, UI can change, and third-party app compatibility isn’t guaranteed.
If you want to install the beta, follow our macOS beta installation guide. For more on joining the beta program read: How to join Apple’s beta program and try out new software.
macOS Sonoma compatibility: Which Macs will be able to run macOS 14?
Apple has dropped support for some 2017 Macs, according to the Sonoma’s compatibility list.
These are the Macs that are able to run macOS Sonoma.
- iMac from 2019 and later
- Mac Pro from 2019 and later
- iMac Pro from 2017
- Mac Studio from 2022 and later
- MacBook Air from 2018 and later
- Mac mini from 2018 and later
- MacBook Pro from 2018 and later
When Apple released macOS Ventura, the following Macs could run it:
- MacBook models from 2017 or later
- MacBook Air models from 2018 or later
- MacBook Pro models from 2017 or later
- Mac mini models from 2018 or later
- iMac models from 2017 or later
- iMac Pro (all models)
- Mac Pro models from 2019 or later
- Mac Studio (all models)
There is always the possibility that a Mac may be compatible with macOS 14, but some of the new features won’t run on older Macs on the list. Some new features may also require Apple chips and not run on Intel-based Macs.
To find out which version of macOS older Macs can run take a look at our compatibility list.
macOS Sonoma new features: What coming to the Mac this fall?
Apple has revealed some of the new features coming in macOS 14. Here’s what to expect.
Read the Macworld comparison of macOS Sonoma and macOS Ventura for more details about what’s changing.
You’ll be able to add more Widgets from the Widget Gallery and place them anywhere on the screen. Apple has gone to lengths to make sure they aren’t distracting–they should be “glanceable without feeling intrusive” according to the company. You will also be able to add Widgets from an iPhone using Continuity.; the iPhone just needs to be nearby, on or same Wi-Fi network. Read: How Apple’s upcoming widget revolution will change our screens forever.
This new mode will ensure the game gets the highest priority on GPU and CPU, which should help with playability. It will, Apple says, make gaming on Mac “more immersive.” There are also changes that should reduce latency with controllers and improve in-game responsiveness. These sound like improvements that could help improve gaming on the Mac, but it may just be too little too late.
Apple announced that there are more Mac games coming, and demonstrated “Death Stranding: Directors Cut” (which is unfortunately not a new game). Apple also explained how it will help game developers bring their games to the Mac with a new Game Porting kit that includes tools that devs can use to quickly port their games to the Mac, significantly reducing the game development time. Read: Apple’s Game Porting Toolkit is the first real step to fixing Mac gaming.
Video Conferencing features
Apple described how when you share your screen during a presentation your presence can get lost. To fix this issue Apple has devised a new video effect called Presenter Overlay which will overlay your face over the presentation, separating you from the background.
Other new features include the ability to add a reaction to your video to show how you feel about something. For example, if you show two thumbs up a fireworks animation will play. These features can also be used as video effects with other video conferencing apps, so it’s not tied to FaceTime.
More updates are coming to WebKit, including new typography. Private browsing will get a new feature that will block private browsing windows when you aren’t using them. It will be possible to share Passkeys and Passwords with family members, This will be end-to-end encrypted via iCloud Keychain. You will be able to create Safari Profiles so you can separate accounts between work and home/school profiles
It will be easy to make a website you use a lot into a Web App. Just add a webpage to the Dock as an icon and open it to get an app-like appearance for that web page.