Since a hackintosh is based on the operating system macOS from Apple, but explicitly uses different hardware, we ask ourselves in this article of our project coverage what makes macOS as an operating system so attractive or interesting.
What makes macOS attractive as an OS?
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In the following, with the support of the community, we have compiled a few aspects that we particularly like about macOS.
It is not our intension to write an advertising text or to play different operating systems off against each other. We write simply here from our point of view as users, who know macOS as well as Windows from years of our own experience.
This text was translated with the help of DeepL.
macOS – or Mac OS X as it was called until 2016 – has a very long history. At its core, macOS is based on a Unix derivative, more precisely on BSD. Unix, in turn, is an operating system developed in the 1970s based on a system for mainframes called "Multics". The history of macOS is also closely linked to the return of founder Steve Jobs to Apple in 1997, who had developed a Unix-based operating system with NeXT in previous years. This company was taken over by Apple in 1996, Steve Jobs became CEO of Apple again and the software NeXTSTEP became the basis for Apple’s next operating system, which then became known as Mac OS X.
But what advantages does the fact that macOS is based on Unix have for the user? It is already multi-user capable by default and is based on a very good security concept. With the terminal console Unix brings a powerful tool to macOS. Many things can be done quickly and easily with it. In addition, macOS is scriptable thanks to its Unix base.
The Unix base also comes into play when dealing with topics such as web development or server administration. Many administration tools can also be easily reloaded.
Apple – and we have to include the hardware here – offers a very attractive user experience. This is based on the fact that hardware and software are offered from a single source. All in all, hardware, operating system, applications, services as well as support and customer care form a coordinated unit.
It starts with the concept of a Mac computer – turn it on and it’s up and running. This also includes that it is fully equipped in terms of hardware. Bluetooth has been included for years, and a camera is also integrated in the AIO-systems and notebooks. The concept of the operating system macOS itself is consistently designed from the user’s perspective.
As a user, you can organise your work very well with tools like multiple desktops, mission control or full screen mode. Combined with an Apple trackpad or the Magic Mouse, this concept allows you to work very smoothly, because you can use the same gestures as on the iOS devices. The numerous keyboard shortcuts also play an important role, with combinations like CMD-N, CMD-W or CMD-Q you are often faster than using the trackpad to access the corresponding menu. Colloquially, the CMD- or Command-key is known as the Apple Key. Also visually, everything looks fluid and smooth, all program windows move or enlarge without stuttering – the appearance fits the workflow.
macOS also shows a uniform style throughout all areas of the operating system and the most important user applications. This is also true for scaling texts, icons and menus when using monitors with a high resolution (High DPI). Here, all parts of the operating system and the applications are always displayed correctly.
But the user experience also includes the fact that you can do a lot with the onboard resources on a Mac. Other operating systems often require additional tools to be installed.
But it’s not always about the strengths of the operating system. Apple offers a flexible hardware platform like no other manufacturer: In addition to the pre-installed macOS, Windows can also be installed directly on all macOS devices via Bootcamp.
Support and Customer Care
The compelling user experience goes beyond software and devices. In case of difficulties, there is a contact person that can be contacted on various channels. This can be the telephone support or the Genius Bar at an Apple Retail Store. Additional guaranty is provided by the so-called protection plans, with which benefits can be obtained that go beyond what is required by law.
Apple also takes care of its customers – after purchasing equipment, you can register for introductory courses and other training courses in the stores. In general, Apple does not see its stores purely as sales or service stations. If you are interested in a Mac or another solution from Apple’s entire product range, you can literally "touch" the devices here and get information and advice without any further obligation.
Individual Functions and Features
As an operating system, macOS is of course packed with tools and services that simply belong to an operating system. Here, we have put together a few functions that can make everyday life extremely easy.
For example, there is the Spotlight search, which searches – and finds – everything from bookmarks to your own documents, contacts, e-mails and information from the web.
You don’t have to decide what you’re looking for: When entering influ, Spotlight quickly complements Influencer Marketing and – as you can see in the left screenshot below – finds matching documents. But the search function goes far beyond your own computer... for example, if you no longer know where the nearest Apple Store is, it provides the address and route (middle screenshot). The exact arrival and departure times can also be determined using a flight number (right screenshot).
Time Machine is a backup solution integrated in macOS. It helps prevent data loss – you can retrieve individual deleted files or use the Time Machine Backup as a basis for a new installation or migration. The system creates a complete backup of all data during the first activation and then logs the subsequent changes in everyday use. Time Machine is very easy for the user to set up and use.
The Automator may be less known, but it is also very useful when it comes to relieving the user of repetitive tasks. It can be used to automate workflows that span several applications.
Quick Look is a simple and very ingenious tool. You can view the contents of a file without having to open it explicitly with a application. For Quick Look it is enough to tap the space bar when the file is marked in the Finder. Many common file types are supported. As you can see in the example below, you can even scroll in a multi-page document.
The preview goes one step further, it is an application that actually opens files. It also supports many different file types. The preview is a very versatile tool.
With it you have a very practical PDF editor on board, which covers many basic functions. You can create PDF’s, fill in forms, merge several PDF files into one document or change the order of the pages within a document.
You can also edit images with the preview. They can be cut, rotated and reduced in size.
This topic also goes far beyond the macOS operating system. Together with the various hardware products, the other software platforms (iOS, watchOS, tvOS) and services such as Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud, it is part of Apple’s ecosystem. The interaction of the different devices in this ecosystem make macOS an attractive operating system.
Above all, there are many small things that make themselves pleasantly noticeable in everyday life. Here are just a few examples: Receive iPhone calls on your Mac, unlock with Apple Watch, or sync documents via iCloud when you’re working on them with an iPad and a Mac at the same time. The Air Drop and Air Play features are also incredibly convenient for sharing information between Apple devices or streaming music to the desired receiver.
The ecosystem also includes Apple’s own applications, which are either pre-installed or can be downloaded from the App Store. We don’t want to list all programs here, but starting with Mail, Contacts and Calendar up to Photos, Garage Band or iMovie and the package with Pages, Keynote and Numbers, Apple provides an impressive software package.
Low Support Requirements
Classic tasks such as setting up printers or WLAN connections are kept very simple under macOS.
The App Store plays a central role for updates. Not only the updates for the operating system and security patches can be downloaded from it, but also all updates for applications that were purchased there. These include not only Apple’s own applications already mentioned, but also a wide range of third party applications such as Ulysses, Magnet, Affinity Photo / Designer or Gemini 2.
But macOS is also a platform for many attractive user applications outside the App Store. The "big players" such as Microsoft’s Office 365 and Adobe’s Creative Cloud are just as much a part of this as innovative solutions from smaller developers.
In the next article we get down to business – we focus on the installation. However, our aim is not to give a step-by-step guide, but to impart background knowledge and our experience.