macOS Sonoma announced: everything we know so far

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch
Vi kan få se flera nya MacBook-modeller presenteras i början av juni. (Image credit: Apple)

Just as we expected, Apple announced macOS 14 during the WWDC 2023 event on June 5, and it even gave it a proper name in the process. Say hello to macOS Sonoma.

Alongside the new Mac software, Apple also announced iOS 17 for the iPhone and a slew of other software updates. But it's the Mac that we're most interested in here. And now that the next big macOS update has a proper name and is even in the hands of developers via early betas, it's time to look at what people can look forward to later this year.

Apple showed off a few key changes that are coming to the Mac with this release, and we've all the details right here.

Another big year for the Mac

Apple is currently shipping the best Macs ever, and it has Apple silicon to thank for that. New Macs are just so powerful yet so efficient in terms of power usage. Those two things mean that modern Macs are fast, thin, light, and have long-lasting batteries.

With Apple silicon getting ready to move on to the M3 family of chips, Apple's WWDC saw the introduction of the M2 Ultra, a chip that powers the new Mac Studio and the very first non-Intel Mac Pro.

With such great hardware, software is now more important than ever and macOS Sonoma will be what all of our Macs run into 2024.

macOS Sonoma release date

Continuity Camera on macOS Ventura

(Image credit: Apple)

While Apple did announce macOS Sonoma during the WWDC opening keynote on June 5, that isn't when most people will get to use it.

Developers are able to beta test macOS Sonoma during the summer months, with a public release unlikely before October. That allows Apple to iron out any kinks that it introduces with the new software while also allowing app developers time to make sure they can take full advantage of all those lovely new APIs.

macOS Sonoma availability

The reality is that you might need to buy a new Mac if you want to run macOS Sonoma, but this isn't the year when Apple cuts Intel loose for good. That'll come in the future, but for now, some Intel Macs are still good to go.

As for Macs that Apple says will run macOS Sonoma come launch time, here's what you'll need.

  • 2019 or later iMac
  • 2017 iMac Pro
  • 2019 or later Mac Pro
  • 2022 or later Mac Studio
  • 2018 or later MacBook Air
  • 2018 or later Mac mini
  • 2018 or later MacBook Pro

macOS Sonoma features

When it comes to new features, there are a few that stand out above the rest.

Widgets: Widgets are getting an overhaul with macOS Sonoma. They're no longer limited to Notification Center and now live on your desktop instead. What's more, you can even run widgets directly from apps installed on your iPhone which sounds pretty magical to us.

Safari: Safari is getting some notable changes, not least the addition of profile support so you'll no longer have your kids wrecking your search history. You'll also be able to lock private browsing windows, while frequently-used apps can now also be added to the Dock as web apps — just like on the iPhone.

Gaming: Apple is having another try at gaming, this time by giving Macs a new Game Mode. The theory is that Game Mode will turn off background tasks and give all of the CPU and GPU resources over to your games for the very best performance.

Siri: Everyone's least favorite digital assistant is now easier to get a hold of — just say "Siri" and it'll be ready to mishear whatever you ask it to do.

Other tidbits include support for editing PDFs right in the Notes app as well as improvements to iCloud Keychain that allow groups to be created for sharing passwords and passkeys among multiple people.

Fans of the Apple TV's gorgeous screensavers will be pleased to learn that very similar ones are now coming to the Mac with macOS Sonoma, and the Messages app is getting something of an overhaul; a new stickers system, search and filtering, and more are all coming to a Mac near you soon.

One addition that will be a huge win for the security conscious relates to Mail. In much the same way that Messages could provide one-time passcodes to apps and websites when they were received via SMS, the Mail app will now do the same with emails. No more copying and pasting codes!

All of this and more will come to macOS Sonoma this fall. We can likely expect Apple to tweak features and maybe even add some news ones along the beta process, too.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back.