Apple announced macOS Mojave on June 4, 2018 at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). Some of macOS Mojave’s features include Dark Mode, iOS app support, and Group FaceTime. Data security and privacy are also key; end users will have more power over how the new system and the software that runs on it will use and access personal data stored on their devices and keep their privacy safeguarded.
This cheat sheet will be updated regularly to reflect news and tips about macOS Mojave.
SEE: Software usage policy (Tech Pro Research)
What is macOS Mojave?
macOS Mojave (officially deemed version 10.14) is the 15th major release of macOS (formerly known as OS X), Apple’s desktop operating system for its lineup of computer devices. Apple continues to derive its core OS from Unix, while adding many new features to augment the existing framework of services that users have come to know and love.
- OS X 10.8 or later
- 2 GB of memory
- 15 GB of available storage to perform upgrade
- Some features require an Apple ID
- Some features require internet access
What are the key features in macOS Mojave?
With each major release of macOS, Apple includes new features and applications and updates of existing ones, and macOS Mojave is no different. These are some of the standout features in macOS Mojave.
- Privacy controls: macOS Mojave includes privacy controls whereby the OS will require apps to get user approval before granting access to system components, such as the webcam or microphone, or location data is shared with any application. Safari now includes Intelligent Tracking Prevention, which prevents social media companies, websites, and advertisers from tracking your online activity without your explicit consent.
- Strong passwords: The creation, use, and storing of strong passwords can occur automatically; this protects users from using weak passwords and checks to verify that passwords are not reused, which prevents multiple compromises stemming from a shared password being leaked. The user-friendly feature allows passwords to be easily updated, simplifying the management of strong passwords.
- iOS app support: This game-changing feature lets developers port their iOS applications to macOS, allowing them to run on your computer as if you were using an iPhone or iPad. This new element will not be available until 2019.
- Group FaceTime: Group FaceTime lets up to 32 users chat at the same time, using video or audio from any of Apple’s supported devices: iPhone and iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch. This enhancement is especially great for mobile professionals.
- Desktop Stacks: The Finder has received a new feature called Desktop Stacks. It aids in organizing files on the Desktop or in any folder by grouping the files based on type with the click of a button. Users can customize the feature and sort by file attributes, such as timestamps or metadata tags.
- Dark Mode: One of the lauded aesthetic changes in macOS Mojave is Dark Mode. This is essentially a color scheme change that opts for darker colors in lieu of lighter ones, affording the user to better focus on the work being performed while the menus and toolbar seemingly melt into the background. According to Apple, «Dark Mode works with built-in apps that come with your Mac, and third-party apps can adopt it, too.» It’s a System Preference that creates a «distraction-free working environment that’s easy on the eyes.»
- New applications: Several new applications have found their way from iOS to macOS: News, Stocks, Home, and Voice Memos.
— News allows users to curate a listing of channels, topics, and articles they wish to read all in one place.
— Stocks monitors the stock market and tracks financial data in a customizable watch list with details and interactive charts only a click away.
— Home, which serves as the hub that controls and manages your smart home devices and accessories, is now available to macOS and provides integration with Siri for voice control options.
— Voice Memos makes its debut on the desktop to capture ideas or important notes on the fly and sync them using iCloud to your iPhone.
Which devices will support macOS Mojave?
macOS Mojave will work well with not only the latest hardware versions in Apple’s desktop and mobile computing line, but it will also perform admirably on older hardware with little to no loss of functionality between the two. These are the hardware requirements by model that will officially support Apple’s latest operating system.
- MacBook: Early-2015 or newer
- MacBook Pro: Mid-2012 or newer
- MacBook Air: Mid-2012 or newer
- Mac Mini: Late-2012 or newer
- iMac: Late-2012 or newer
- iMac Pro: Late-2017 or newer
- Mac Pro: Late-2013 or newer, mid-2010 and mid-2012 models with recommended Metal-capable GPU
What are the alternatives to macOS Mojave?
While Apple manufactures its macOS operating system to work hand-in-glove with the Mac lineup of computers and is still the only method for using Apple’s operating system in a legally licensed capacity, there are people who insist on the solid build quality, engineering, and aesthetic of Apple’s designs while preferring to use an OS other than macOS.
This is made possible using similar components to those found in modern PC-based laptops, which allow Apple computers to run macOS, alongside or replaced by virtually any operating system available—including hypervisors for virtualized environments and labs. Below is just a small sample of some of the more common OSes that may be installed on your Macs in lieu of macOS Mojave.
The Windows client OS is often seen as the direct competitor to Apple’s macOS. Besides holding the largest user base market share, Windows is a common fixture in the business world, as it is used to run the computers and lead productivity for most sectors—from administrative to medical to education, and many, many more.
By having the largest market share, it helps that most developers worldwide code their apps to support Windows, providing a rather large swath of available software to choose from, with many notable free-to-use tools and industry-leading commercial options as well.
Windows client OS is also known for its native support of many enterprise-level staples, such as Active Directory services and Group Policy settings for centralizing the management of devices and user accounts on a network, and locking down the security on those devices to simplify the overall management associated with large, enterprise-class networks.
SEE: Windows 10 April 2018 Update: An insider’s guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Formerly known as BackTrack, Kali Linux is a Debian-derived distribution that is aimed at security professionals and designed for digital forensics and pentesting/penetration testing, which seeks to simulate attacks to find and exploit vulnerabilities in computer devices and networks with the end goal being to correct any issues identified to harden the systems to prevent future attacks from threat actors looking to cause harm.
Kali includes many tools and frameworks to aid IT professionals in their task of detection, exploitation, and remediation. And while this distro specializes in security, it is a full-fledged desktop operating system very much in the vein of other Linux distributions and featuring similar package managers, commandline interface, and underlying core system.
ESXi is an enterprise-class type-1 hypervisor that installs on bare-metal hardware, or runs directly off the computer and not through the OS-level like type-2 hypervisors, such as the version of Hyper-V included in Windows Server, for example. Developed by VMware and consisting of a proprietary Linux kernel, ESXi is the underlying host system for managing resources utilized by guests, or virtual machines that run off the host.
While ESXi is a hypervisor and technically classified as an operating system, it in and of itself does not run beyond a largely CLI-based screen once loaded. The idea behind the small footprint is that the ESXi host is monitored and managed remotely through vCenter Server or through the locally installed or web-based VMware console. It is through this interface that VMs are created, resources are configured, and additional settings area managed, as needed.
VMware has made the core hypervisor ESXi free to use through the GPL license; however, this enables 1:1 use and management of VMs and requires many tasks to be manually executed. For enhanced management capabilities, including High Availability (HA) and live migration of VMs to name a few, additional products are commercially available to augment existing hosts and their virtualized guests, as well as pay-for-support options and licensing fees, if necessary.
SEE: VMware vSphere: Cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
Referred to often as the most popular Linux distribution, Ubuntu is open source, fully supported, and best of all free to use in either client or server versions. The developer, Canonical, keeps it updated with security patches released regularly and pledges continued support of each release for a predetermined period of time, typically 3-5 years. Additionally, Ubuntu boasts an extremely talented and loyal support community that provides help for most user requests through its interactive forums free of charge.
While the OS is largely free, Canonical does offer commercial support and services for a fee to organizations that wish to align themselves with a familiar customer support model as other major developers, such as Microsoft, Apple, and VMware.
The underlying goal of the Ubuntu distribution is to run securely and stably on just about any device it’s installed on; this is ensured by the operating system’s default stance on running programs and commands with low privileges to prevent users from performing catastrophic changes to the system. As for stability, the technical requirements for Ubuntu are relatively low compared to that of other modern OSes—this allows Ubuntu to run on desktops, laptops, servers, cellular phones, and IoT devices (new and old).
SEE: Ubuntu Server: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
Linux Mint is similar to Ubuntu and is a community-driven distro that offers full multimedia support and includes open-source applications for a complete desktop environment out-of-the-box. Depending on the version downloaded, Linux Mint supports multiple different environments to choose from by default with additional support extended by way of its CLI or various package managers.
As an added benefit to Linux users, a Windows compatibility layer called WINE is available to emulate the Windows environment, making it possible to run popular Windows-only apps from within the Linux desktop environment.
While Linux is arguably not as refined as some of the competing OS offerings from Microsoft or Apple, Linux Mint has a surprisingly polished GUI that overlays Linux’s commandline-based underpinnings to provide a modern desktop experience for the casual, beginner, or intermediate user— while still packing enough power under the hood to allow pros to feel at home while working on tasks.
Microsoft Windows Server/Hyper-V Server
Similar to its desktop-focused sibling, Windows Server offers robust scaling and provides services that are used the world over to establish enterprise-class support for user and device management, network services like DHCP and DNS to configure IP addresses automatically and process internet lookups, and serves as the foundation for any number of host-based services, like email, web, and failover clustering.
Modern versions of Windows Server also provide support for the virtualization hypervisor, allowing the sharing of hardware resources to run multiple instances of nodes as virtual machines (VMs) without the need for additional physical devices.
In the last few years, virtualization has really come into its own and has grown popular with many organizations seeking viable ways to limit its carbon footprint, while saving money by leveraging the large-scale resources and operating efficiency of larger, more powerful servers to consolidate existing physical devices into encapsulated VMs that can be spun up at a moment’s notice, moved, copied, and scaled up or down as needed with simply a few clicks of a mouse. Microsoft has capitalized on this with a stripped-down version of its popular Windows Server OS by including only the necessary hypervisor and management functions to limit resource use and provide easy provisioning of VMs.
SEE: Windows Server 2016: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
Citrix XenServer is a popular virtualization hypervisor with a Linux foundation and based on the Xen Project that is free and open-source software. However, the Citrix version of XenServer is released as a commercial distribution with proprietary additions to the core providing additional features and support from a major corporation as opposed to community-based support as is standard with most open-source Linux distros.
XenServer is a popular hypervisor choice due to its rock-solid Linux core, proven stability, and impressive, high-level scalability expanding to over 4,000 physical CPUs, 256 vCPUs per guest VM, 16 TB of RAM per host, and 1 TB of RAM per guest. It also supports both paravirtualization and hardware-assisted virtualization for modified and unmodified guest OSes, respectively, and the ability to live migrate VMs (i.e., move running virtual machines without the need to stop or power them down).
When will macOS Mojave be available?
As of the June 4th announcement, the developer preview of macOS Mojave is available for download by members of the Apple Developer Program. This program is not aimed at the public, but rather the software developers who write applications for use with Mac computers to be able to test their software against the latest version of macOS. In recent years, Apple has made a separate beta program available to the public for users that register with Apple’s Beta testing site; this will become available at the end of June 2018.
Please note: Both the developer preview and the public beta versions of macOS Mojave are far from complete; in the lead-up to the final release window, Apple will release multiple iterations of each in a concerted effort to locate and squash bugs that could otherwise render devices unusable. If you want to wait for Apple to finish working out any kinks and polish the OS, I recommend not looking at these versions and sit tight until the final release is made available sometime in the Fall of 2018.
How can I get macOS Mojave?
As of this writing, those seeking to live on the bleeding edge of this new technology will need to register with the Apple Developer Program and pay the subscription fees for the privilege of downloading macOS Mojave.
Mac enthusiasts that have already registered with the Apple Beta Program will be able to download the macOS Mojave package in late June 2018 and upgrade their supported Mac computer to test out the newest features for free, in exchange for allowing Apple to collect crash logs and bug reports of the still-in-production software to improve it by its release window.
The final, gold certified code release of macOS Mojave is expected to arrive as a free download on the Mac App Store sometime in the Fall of 2018.