Thursday, Jun 03, 2021, 15:19 Software

macOS 12 – What The Next OS Could Be Called

In just a few days, the Apple world will know the name of the next version of macOS. Although "12" certainly accounts for the version number, the operating system's name (Apple normally has named recent operating systems after places or landscape types) isn't yet known – although the name will be announced this Monday at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference. Although Apple used to name their operating systems after different iterations of big felines (Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion), they decided to change the naming method in 2013 – switching from big cats to places and types of landscapes.

This makes sense, given that there are only so many types of big cats after which you can name an operating system and Apple seemed to be either at or near the end of the list. Since 2013, the names have been Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, and Big Sur. Since macOS 11, there have been more versions of macOS with the new nomenclature than the old cat centered nomenclature.

Potential Names For Version "12"
We've taken a look at Apple's registered trademarks – with a special interest in trademarks that are "geographically-named", in line with Apple's naming trend for recent versions of macOS. In the past, the names of future versions of macOS have been drawn from this same list of registered trademarks. For example, Apple registered the trademark "Big Sur" in 2014, several years prior to the operating system's release. Apple registered a large number of geographically oriented trademarks over 2013 and 2014, just as they had previously done with a large number of "cat-themed" trademarks.

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Discontinued Trademarks
Apple failed to renew several trademarks, including Sonoma, Sequoia, and Ventura. So, the next version of macOS will obviously not take its name from any of those options. Up until now, these trademarks had always been renewed. Skyline, Redwood, and Tiburon have also been released.


macOS 11's name since the operating system's 2020 release.


Held Trademarks – macOS "Monterey"?
Although Apple either released or failed to renew several trademarks, the company did renew trademarks named after the mountain front "Mammoth" and the coastal city "Monterey". The last trademark especially is a likely option for the name of macOS 12 as it connects directly to the north of the "Big Sur" coastal strip in California. Other trademarks still held by Apple include:

  • California
  • Diablo (a mountain east of San Francisco, CA)
  • Miramar (in San Diego, CA)
  • Shasta (a location in central California and also the name of a mountain)
  • Farallon (a group of islands in front of San Francisco)
  • Tahoe (a lake)
  • Napa (a wine area)


Names of animals like redtail, condor, and grizzly – which also fall under Apple's list of registered trademarks, are only theoretical options for the name of macOS 12. There's as of yet no indication that Apple plans to change the naming system from regions to animals.

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