macOS Sonoma (version 14) is the latest major release of macOS, Apple's operating system for Macintosh computers. The successor to macOS Ventura, it was announced at WWDC 2023 on June 5, 2023, and released on September 26, 2023. It is named after the wine region located in California's Sonoma County.
The first developer beta was released on June 5, 2023, and entered public beta on July 11, 2023.
macOS Sonoma is available for download from App Store and via Software Update.
There are many new features introduced in macOS Sonoma which can be downloaded from Apple in PDF format but here’s a summary:
macOS Sonoma ships a number of new features and improvements, mainly focused on productivity and creativity:
Widgets have been completely revamped. They are no longer constrained to the Notification Center—instead they can be placed anywhere on the screen, and the widget picker has been redesigned to resemble the iPadOS version of it.
The lock screen has been redesigned to include the date and time similar to iOS and iPadOS. The power buttons have become a context menu.
Video-conferencing apps can overlay the presenter’s webcam video on top of screen sharing.
App icons and the spotlight search bar have been made more rounded.
Browsing profiles enable separate sets of bookmarks, extensions, and cookies, which can be used to separate, for example, a personal setup from a work one.
Password sharing lets multiple people have access to the same collection of website passwords, and update them as needed, with changes syncing across all enrolled devices.
“Web apps” lets the user add any website to the Dock and open it in a simplified Safari interface, just like an app. A similar feature is available in Google Chrome. This feature is somewhat different from progressive web apps since it does not require additional work from website developers.
More precise search filters: for example, the contact name can be combined with a search term to look for the term within a specific conversation.
Catch-up lets the user quickly jump to the first unread message in a conversation.
iMessage stickers have a new selection interface.
Apple TV now has a sidebar instead of a top bar.
Game mode, to optimize gaming performance by prioritizing gaming tasks and allocating more GPU and CPU capacity to the game.
New slow-motion screen savers of different locations worldwide. When logged in, they transform into the desktop wallpaper.
Smoother animations for several areas such as the notification panel and the lock screen.
React with your hands. Now animations will pop up with your hand gestures.
AV1 hardware decoding on devices with AV1 hardware decoding support
Alongside macOS Sonoma, Apple announced developer tools for porting Windows games to macOS. The Game Porting Toolkit, derived from Wine and released in beta, translates Windows application programming interface (API) calls to equivalent macOS APIs on the fly, allowing developers to run unmodified versions of their x86 Windows DirectX games on macOS. Mac users have been able to use the Game Porting Toolkit to run a number of DirectX 12 games; tech news outlets have compared the tool to Valve’s Proton compatibility layer for Linux. Apple also released a Metal Shader Converter that converts shaders to Apple’s Metal graphics API.
A DigitalFoundry review of the first beta of Game Porting Toolkit found it “impressive”, with few graphical glitches and full support for console controllers, though they found that frame rates were around half of what they would be on Windows, and that many games were not supported. During the Sonoma beta, updates to the Game Porting Toolkit brought support for 32-bit games and around 20% better performance.
According to reporter Peter Cohen, Game Mode and the Game Porting Toolkit are improvements but do not indicate the kind of “sea change” in Apple’s priorities and culture that are needed to build a true Mac gaming ecosystem. Cohen says that the problem with Mac gaming is not in the ability to port games, but in a lack of a “business case” for game publishers to do so, due to the Mac’s low market share, the cost of supporting a port, and uncertain demand for Mac games when many Mac users also own consoles or gaming PCs.
Support for legacy Mail plug-ins has been removed.
System API support for converting PostScript and Encapsulated PostScript files to PDF format has been removed, following previous changes in macOS Ventura that removed support for viewing and converting PostScript and Encapsulated PostScript files within Preview.
macOS Sonoma supports Macs with Apple silicon and Intel’s Xeon-W and 8th-generation Coffee Lake/Amber Lake chips or later and drops support for various models released in 2017. The 2019 iMac is the only Sonoma-supported Intel Mac that lacks a T2 chip. Sonoma supports the following Mac models: