When will macOS only be compatible with Apple Silicon?

At the weekend Lynne and Jens are at... Sir Applerot Podcast Among other things, we talked about the fact that Apple's computer operating system “macOS” is increasingly tailored to Apple Silicon. That's quite logical, because there is now the third generation of this system on chip (SoC) with the M3, the M3 Pro and the M3 Max. In addition, since then Mac Pro from the middle of this year The entire Mac range is equipped with M chips. You can ask yourself the question: When will macOS only be compatible with Apple Silicon? In order to formulate an educated guess, let's take a look at the developments so far.

From which version does macOS become an Apple Silicon-exclusive operating system? Will Apple completely abandon Intel technology from 2025? You can find the forecast with all the background information here.
From which version does macOS become an Apple Silicon-exclusive operating system? Will Apple completely abandon Intel technology from 2025? You can find the forecast with all the background information here.

Which Mac models is macOS 14 Sonoma actually compatible with?

Already in September macOS 14 Sonoma published, the new ones iMac- and MacBook Pro models were then added at the end of October. At the appropriate “Scary Fast” event The comparison to the Intel predecessors was made several times. Apple wants to slowly but surely push users of “old devices” to switch to newer Macs. But before that is completely necessary, there are still a few Intel Macs that can be used. For the current macOS Sonoma is die List as follows:

  • Apple Mac mini from 2018 or newer
  • Apple Mac Pro from 2019 or newer
  • Apple iMac from 2019 or newer
  • Apple iMac Pro from 2017 or newer
  • Apple MacBook Air from 2018 or newer
  • Apple MacBook Pro from 2018 or newer
  • Apple Mac Studio from 2022 or newer

With the exception of the Mac Studio, which was never available as an Intel model, a few Intel Macs can still be used with the current macOS in all areas. But these are all just before the limit of the chip transition, which began in 2020. Due to its age, it is entirely possible that the 2017 iMac Pro, the only model of this Mac to date, will not be on the macOS 15 compatibility list next year.

Compared to macOS 13 Ventura from 2022, the MacBook (without “Air” or “Pro”) has already been eliminated from macOS 14 Sonoma from 2023. What about the other Macs on the list? To do this, let's take a look at the lists from Ventura, Monterey, Big Sur and Catalina at. In this way, the previous model jumps can be recognized and a forecast can be created for the coming years.

The Countdown: Macs Compatible with Ventura, Monterey, Big Sur and Catalina

To derive a trend, we can look at how many models or years there are between the individual compatible Mac types of the previous operating systems. This way you can roughly determine which Macs could still be compatible with macOS 15 and which will no longer be supported in 2024. You can view the following table as a kind of countdown for the Apple Silicon-exclusive operating systems.

Ventura (2022) Monterey (2021) Big Sur (2020) Catherine (2019)
Mac mini 2018 late 2014 2014 2012
Mac Pro 2019 late 2013 2013 2013
iMac 2017 late 2015 2014 2012
iMac Pro 2017 2017 2017 2017
MacBook 2017 early 2016 2015 2015
MacBook Air 2018 early 2015 2013 2012
MacBook Pro 2017 early 2015 late 2013 2012
MacStudio 2022 - - -

The big sorting out will probably take place with macOS 16 in 2025

I see the iMac Pro from 2017 as a strong candidate for macOS 15 in 2024. Especially since Apple could then release a 32-inch iMac or, after seven years, a second iMac Pro model. This could then finally replace the old model. But other Mac variations with an Intel chip could also be removed from the list as early as 2024. As can be seen in the table, jumps of four years have already been made from Monterey to Ventura.

From Ventura to Sonoma it doesn't look quite as bad, but the jump from the iMac (2019) to the iMac (2020) wouldn't be that big with macOS 15. Apple could then do without a five-year-old iMac with an Intel chip and equip a four-year-old one with an M1 with further upgrades (even if the M1 no longer has all the features of new operating systems). Otherwise, I think Intel Macs from 2018 or 2019 will get a grace period next year.

After all, Apple certainly wants to continue to be seen as the company that upgrades its devices for five to six years. But that means that in 2025 perhaps only laptops from 2020 will be on the list - i.e. those with M1 or newer. The Mac Pro from 2019 will also certainly be dropped by 2025 at the latest. I could imagine that the second or third Mac Pro with an M chip would have been introduced by then. Or in short: The chances are good that from 2025 only Apple Silicon Macs will get the upgrade to macOS 16 and no more Intel Macs.

Are you already using an M-chip?

In the blog comments and forum posts I keep reading about different Mac models from different years. While some have bought the latest model, others have perfected their workflow on the same Mac for a decade. Which group do you belong to? Do you use a Mac with Apple Silicon? Or do you have an Intel model that just barely gets upgrades to the new systems? Feel free to leave a comment and let us know when you would buy a new device. Are Apple's comparisons between Intel chips and M3 already effective or are you waiting for the compatibility lists of the upcoming systems?

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4 comments on “When will macOS only be compatible with Apple Silicon?”

  1. I use a mini 2018. I had decided to wait for the 2nd generation of 3 nm chips. If the Inteldingers get another round of updates next year, the chances of that happening aren't bad. If not, I can live with MacOS 14 and wait in peace until a mini with an M4, or whatever they are called, comes along.
    What I miss is the ability to run iOS apps on the mini. But it's just a handful of apps and they're not that important.
    For the programs that are not from the AppStore, I have the first update that no longer runs on an Intel Mac. It's bearable because it doesn't contain any new functions.
    I once configured a mini M2 Pro with 32 GB and 1 TB and came up with a good €2.300.
    Apple dreams of increasing Mac sales in the new fiscal year.
    Maybe the reality is different and Apple has to think about correcting the astronomical prices for RAM and SSD expansion. Then it should be possible to get a mini of the second 3 nm generation with 32 GB + 1 TB under the € 2.000 limit. 2 external 4 (2025 possibly even 8) TB SSDs on it. The new computer is ready for well under €3.000 and can be used for many years.
    But maybe in 2025 none of this will be right/important anymore ;-)

    1. Yes, the RAM and SSD upgrades really hurt. But I don't save money anymore. Bought once when it was low on RAM and then got annoying warning messages for months that the memory was low. Since then I always use 32 GB. :) TSMC has even announced 2025nm chips in 2. Maybe even better/faster/better?! I think Mac sales aren't that good because most people can live with Apple Silicon Macs for a long time. They are so fast that you don't need something new every 2-3 years.

  2. I still have a MacBook Pro mid 2020, I hope it will still be supported a little. I wouldn't plan to buy a new one until 2026 at the earliest.
    What I find interesting is not how long the OS will continue to be supported, but rather how long the apps will continue to be supported.
    What's bothering me about my computer from now on is the terrible battery, which is now at around 84% performance - I've been running CoconutBattery since the beginning. Already a poor performance.
    I hope Apple manages to connect multiple screens by 26, I don't understand why this is such a problem outside of the Max processors.

  3. I don't know if I'll buy a Mac Mini again. With my current Mini late 2018, the cable noise is now bothering me. External DVD burner, hubs, external web cam, external wired hard drives, external monitor.
    The 24 inch iMac would be very useful to me as an “all in one solution”. Then a small, simple NAS on the LAN port of the frit for Time Machine and I would be more than satisfied.

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