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Many people know that the American computer company Apple Inc develops the iPhone and MacBook, but not many know the differences between their operating systems. However, if you have used both OS, you will agree that there are many differences. The macOS, previously MacOS X, is a desktop operating system that runs on Macintosh computers, and iOS is a mobile operating system that runs on apple’s iPhones.

Well, there have been rumors about whether Apple is planning to merge the two operating systems. If it happens, it will be easier to work on your iPhone and continue on the Mac. But, whether Apple will merge the iOS and macOS is unknown. The two operating systems have their similarities and differences. What is the difference between macOS and iOS?

The major difference between the macOS and iOS is the interface and the framework. The macOS is a computer-based and mouse-keyboard operating system, whereas the iOS is a touch screen interfacing operating system. The application framework in iOS is the UIKit, and the macOS uses the AppKit.

macOs vs ios

In this article, you’ll read about the important feature and the difference between macOS and iOS, the Pros and Cons of both operating systems. And a look into the possibility of merging them. Continue reading to learn more about iOS and macOS.


A Brief History of the macOS

macOS or OS X is the branded identity of the software found in the Macintosh line of computers. The operating system was formally named OS X until 2016, when Apple adopted the name macOS.

Apple released the first Mac OS X 10, Cheetah, in 2001 to replace the classic Mac OS. Since then, Apple has released many versions that have come with new and improved features. The latest version is macOS 11 Big Sur.

Here are some of the important release dates of the macOS so far.

Version Codename Processor Release date Most recent version
Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah 32-bit PowerPC March 2001 10.0.4 (June 2001)
Mac OS X 10.1 Puma 32-bit PowerPC September 2001 10.1.5 (June 2002)
Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar 32/64-bit PowerPC August 2002 10.2.8 (October 2003
Mac OS X 10.3 Panther 32/64-bit PowerPC October 2003 10.3.9 (April 2005)
Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger 32/64-bit PowerPC and Intel April 2005 10.4.11 (November 2007)
Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard 32/64-bit PowerPC and Intel October 2007 10.5.8 (August 2009)
Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard 32/64-bit Intel August 2009 10.6.8 (July 2011)
Mac OS X 10.7 Lion 64-bit Intel July 2011 10.7.5 (October 2012)
Mac OS X 10.8 Snow Lion 64-bit Intel July 2012 10.8.5 (August 2015)
Mac OS X 10.9 Maverick 64-bit Intel October 2013 10.9.5 (July 2016)
Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite 64-bit Intel October 2014 10.10.5 (July 2017)
Mac OS X 10.11 El Captain 64-bit Intel September 2015 10.11.6 (July 2018)
macOS 10.12 Sierra 64-bit Intel September 2016 10.12.6 (September 2019)
macOS 10.13 High Sierra 64-bit Intel September 2017 10.13.6 (November 2020)
macOS 10.14 Mojave 64-bit Intel September 2018 10.14.6 (February 2021)
macOS 10.15 Catalina 64-bit Intel October 2019 10.15.7 (February 2021)
macOS 11 Big Sur 64-bit Intel and ARM November 2020 11.3 (April 2021)

Features Of The macOS

The latest macOS 11 has packed some of the powerful features that are not in any macOS version. It has a lighter look with translucent and rounded edges.

The dock, the app, and the redesigned menu give an amazing look. However, the macOS borrowed some features from the iOS design.

Here are the key features and enhancement of macOS 11.

The desktop and the new design

The first feature you’ll notice when you start up your new macOS is the redesigned look of the desktop. The desktop is the main workstation of the Macintosh computer where you can access files and applications.

The Big Sur brings the biggest design ever, but the previous versions also have a nice look.

Apart from the desktop, other elements are also redesigned, such as the app, menu bar, and icons. The redesigned app makes it easy for you to focus on content without being distracted.

The menu bar is taller and more translucent, with desktop pictures expanding from edge to edge.

The redesigned icons look better with color changes and slight design tweak. The icons have a rounded-edge squircle design.

The Control Center

The control center is one of the important features of the macOS line of computers. In Big Sur, its position is at the menu bar, and it provides a quick setting for the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, volume, display brightness, keyboard brightness, now playing, and toggles like Dark Mode, True Tone, Night Shift Not Disturb, and AirPlay.

Just like iOS, you can customize the control center. And you can set the functions you mostly use the most in the control center.

Notification Center

The macOS also comes engineered with a notification center, and this feature is even better in macOS 11. It combines both the notification and widget into a single dedicated column to give information at a glance. Furthermore, the notification is grouped by the app, with the recent being at the top.

There is also an instant reply or take action for notification to get more information about it. For instance, you can reply to an email from the notification without having to open the app.

Faster Updates

One of the features that most macOS and iOS users enjoy is a free and quick update for their devices. This feature is even better in the latest macOS version. Updates are done in the background and completed faster when you install the macOS.


You can pin up to nine favorite messages to the top of your window. And you can search for photos, links, and phrases in past messages. The messages also work with a keyboard command; all you need to do is press Command-F to open.


The map is another amazing feature of the macOS. With the map guide, you can discover the best place to shop in the cities around you.

The guide also updates automatically, and you get recommendations about new places when you save it. Other amazing things you get with the map include a 3D city look around, cycling routes, and an indoor map.

Optimize battery charging

The macOS optimized your battery by improving its charging and lifespan and reducing its wear and tear. It also has a battery usage history, tracking your battery usage for the past 24 hours or ten days.

Expanded Video and Photo Editing Capabilities

With the macOS, you can edit videos and photos with the in-built applications. You can add filters, adjustments, and crop images or videos with easy and fluid navigation.


Siri is the voice assistant on Apple devices which is equivalent to Google’s google assistant. Siri will help you find answers online with information available on the internet.

The latest macOS is packed with diverse voices from which you can choose.

There are other features of macOS not covered in this section. You can visit the Apple page to know more about the macOS 11 Big Sur features.

desktop mac os

Uses Of The macOS

macOS is the operating system created by Apple Inc that comes preloaded with Macintosh computers. The main function of macOS is that it controls all operations of the MacBook.

For instance, it allows you to use the mouse, keyboard, play music, edit photos, browse the internet, reply to an email.

Unless you install the macOS on the Macintosh computer, you won’t be able to operate it.

Pros and Cons of the macOS

The Pros of the macOS

In-built Productive App

The macOS comes with a useful free Apple-developed application that you can also download from the app store. For instance, there are office productivity apps such as Pages, Numbers, Keynotes that come with the macOS, unlike the Microsoft Office suites that sell separately.

In addition, Logic Pro X and Garageband are in-built music production software, and Final pro-cut X is for video editing.

macOS is free

Unlike the Windows Operating System, the macOS is free to install and update on every Macintosh computer.

Simple User Interface

The macOS has a very simple interface that anybody can easily use. The apps generally can be downloaded on the app store, which I located in the center of the launchpad.

Furthermore, the Graphical User Interface (GUI) looks much better compared to the windows computer.

Powerful security

Apple devices are known to be secure, and so is the macOS. Apple is very serious about its privacy policy and will go any length to protect its users.

Practically, the macOS is more secure than the Windows computer because they are more difficult to exploit.

The Cons of macOS

Limited and Restricted application usage

macOS has a restricted and limited application, unlike Windows, which has a wide selection of apps.

Inflexibility for Hardware upgrades.

You can’t upgrade the macOS computer hardware, unlike the Windows Laptop. For instance, the RAM on the Macintosh computer is in-built and cannot be upgraded, unlike the Windows Laptop that you can easily upgrade.

macOS devices are very Expensive

It is very expensive to own a macOS computer. It is worthy to note the macOS itself is exclusive to Mac devices only. Hence, for you to use a macOS, you need to purchase expensive Mac devices.

The iOS

Brief History of the iOS

iOS is the operating software developed by Apple to run on iPhone, iPad, and other Apple mobile devices. Apple released the first iOS in 2007, and the latest version released is the iOS 14.5 and with the 14.6 betas in review.

Here are some of the important release dates of the iOS so far.

iOS version Build Architect Release date
iOS 3.1.3 7E18 32-bit ARM February 2010
iOS 4.2.1 8C148 32-bit ARM November 2010
iOS 5.1.1 9B206 32-bit ARM May 2012
iOS 6.1.6 10B500 32-bit ARM February 2014
iOS 7.1.2 11D257 32/64-bit ARM June 2014
iOS 9.3.5 13G36 32/64-bit ARM August 2016
iOS 9.3.6 13G37 32/64-bit ARM July 2019
iOS 10.3.3 14G60 32/64-bit ARM July 2017
iOS 10.3.4 14G61 32/64-bit ARM July 2019
iOS 12.5.2 16H30 64-bit ARM March 2021
iOS 14.5 18E199 64-bit ARM April 2021
iOS 14.6 18F5055b 64-bit ARM April 2021

Features of the Latest iOS


The iOS user interface is a touch screen interface based on indirect manipulation through swipe, tap, pinch and reverse pinch. It also has an internal accelerometer that responds to shake and device rotation that switches between landscape and portrait mode. The iOS homepage contains app icons and widgets.

The status bar of the iOS positioned at the top of the screen contains the notification and control. The swiping down from the top right corner opens the control center, and the left corner opens the notification center.

The control center allows you to manage the device without having to open the device settings.

Preinstalled Applications

iOS comes with preinstalled applications such as Music, Mail, TV, Maps, FaceTime, Wallet, Health, and more. You can download iOS applications on the app store. However, you can install apps from IPA files that the developer unofficially provides.

The developer uses UIKit, a programming framework to build iOS applications.

Notification Center

The notification center allows the user to view the latest notification history. The iOS gives you the ability to open the corresponding app or clear it.

Furthermore, when an app gets a notification when close, it automatically shows at the app’s top with the notification number. The notification disappears when you open the app.


The iOS has several accessibility features which help users with disabilities. One of these features is the VoiceOver, which provides a voice reading of information from the screen.

One good thing is that every app designed with the UIKit will have this feature on it.


Like on macOS and every other Apple device, Siri is a voice assistant that helps to search for information online. In the latest version, it has many different languages. It can also follow-up questions and translate the languages.

Game Center

Apple added the game center feature for game lovers. It gives you the chance to invite your friends to play multiplayer games through matchmaking.

Uses of iOS

iOS is the operating software of Apple mobile phones. It allows Apple devices to perform their functions. That said, there won’t be an iPhone or iPad without iOS.

Pros and Cons of the IOS

Pros of iOS

Simple interface

The design of the iOS makes its device to be very easy and comfortable to use. When you turn on the devices, the first things you see are the app icons. Also, switching between two applications is easy too.


One major factor that set Apple’s mobile device aside is the high level of security provided by the company. iOS devices are generally considered safe and secure.

There are hardly any security breaches as iOS doesn’t support downloading the application from a third party.

Picture Quality

iPhones’ picture quality is unbeatable. It produces the picture as real as possible, unlike other devices that use saturation.

Furthermore, if you compare the picture quality of the iPhone to some android phones, you will agree with me on this.

Supports Multi-language and Smooth Multitasking

You can select up to 21 different languages on your device. These languages include English (US), English (UK), Spanish, German, French, and more.

Cons of iOS

Very Pricey

The price of the phone is a major disadvantage of iOS. Not everybody can afford the latest version of the iPhone or even the past version of its devices.

Additional Storage

It is practically impossible to extend the memory of iOS devices. If your device comes with limited memory or has exhausted the memory, you cannot boost the memory.

One thing you can do is to free up spaces by deleting or buy another iOS phone.


The battery is one of the major disadvantages of iOS devices. The devices don’t come with gigantic batteries like some android phones.

Thus, the battery is a major concern for most users, considering that the phone doesn’t support a common charger.

difference apple

Differences Between macOS and iOS

The two operating systems are similar in so many ways. However, they are different too.

Here are the differences between them.


One major difference between macOS and iOS is the interface. MacOS’s main control is the keyboard, mouse, and trackpad, which doesn’t support the touch screen.

Unlike the iPad mobile, which supports both touch screen, keyboard, and mouse. So far, Apple has not made any movement to add the screen touch functionality to their line of macOS.

File System

Moving files in iOS can be quite frustrating when compared to macOS. However, this is a little more flexible in iPad than in iPhones because the iPad supports mouse and trackpad function.

But it still can’t be compared to the reliability and flexibility of the Macintosh computer.

Application complexity

You cannot use most applications on macOS on iOS. However, there are still some amazing applications that you can download on the mobile app store. But the functionality of using apps like Logic Pro X, Final cut Pro X on mobile iOS is not flexible because of their complexity.

Some of these apps demand high RAM than the ones currently on most mobile devices .

Application Framework

The AppKit is a software framework for designing most macOS applications. The AppKit provides all the user interface elements for all macOS applications, including the windows, menus, buttons, scrollers, and text fields.

On the other hand, UIKit is the framework that developers use for iOS applications. It defines the core component of an iOS app, including labels, buttons, table views, and navigation controllers.

Here is a table comparison

macOS iOS
Interface Mouse, keyboard, and trackpad controller multi-touch gestures like tapping, swiping, pinching, and reverse pinching
Application Framework The macOS application is based on AppKit The iOS application is based on AppKit
Supported devices The macOS is exclusive to Macintosh computers only The iOS on runs on Apple mobile devices
Customization The macOS is easier to customize Limited customization
Application function Has more complex function in apps Has limited function in the app

Will macOS and iOS Merge?

The features on macOS and iOS are similar, and Apple won’t stop closing the gap between its mobile and computer. Apple announces that its new iPad Pro will have the powerful M1 chip with up to 2TB of memory and 16GB of RAM.

With this upgrade, One may think that Apple is about to add macOS functions to its mobile devices.

The question is will macOS and iOS merge? I think the two operating systems will possibly merge in the next five to ten years.

However, I believe that it will not change the function of each device. The iPhone will remain a mobile phone, and a Mac will not lose its function as a computer.