Mac OS X User Guides

Welcome to Mac OS X

Aqua makes using your Mac easier than ever. Its color, depth, and motion guide you through your tasks, while the Finder and Dock provide easy access to your computer and network.

— Welcome to Mac OS X 10.0 Guide, page 4

I mainly created this page for archive purposes, as well as sharing for those that are looking for older user guides for Mac OS X, starting with Mac OS X 10.0 Public Beta through Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

Unfortunately, I don’t have access to any PDF versions of user guides starting with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, and searching online provided me with 0 results (minus the online guides found on Apple’s support page). If you have any of those to share, please let me know and I will add them to this page and credit you accordingly.

Credit: Desktop screenshots (except for Mac OS X Public Beta) used on this page came from Stephen Hackett over at 512 Pixels. If you’d like to take a stroll down memory lane, he has an extensive library of screenshots from every release of macOS, from Mac OS X Public Beta through the most recent version of macOS. Definitely worth the look to see how much macOS has changed since late 2000.

 macOS Screenshot Library – 512 Pixels 


Mac OS X Public Beta Screenshot

 Mac OS X 10.0 Public Beta (Release date: September 13, 2000)

The Mac OS X Public Beta was the first publicly available version of Apple Computer’s Mac OS X operating system to feature the Aqua user interface.

It was released to the public on September 13, 2000 for US$29.95. Its release was significant as the first publicly available evidence of Apple’s ability to ship the long-awaited “next-generation Mac operating system” after the Copland failure.

It allowed software developers and early adopters to test a preview of the upcoming operating system and develop software for it before its final release.

 Mac OS X Public Beta Welcome Guide (PDF, 4MB)


Mac OS X 10.0 Screenshot, courtesy 512 Pixels

 Mac OS X 10.0 (Release date: March 24, 2001)

Mac OS X 10.0 (code named Cheetah) is the first major release of macOS, Apple’s desktop and server operating system. Mac OS X 10.0 was released on March 24, 2001, for a price of $129. It was the successor of the Mac OS X Public Beta and the predecessor of Mac OS X 10.1 (code named Puma).

Mac OS X was a radical departure from the classic Mac OS and was Apple’s long-awaited answer for a next generation Macintosh operating system.

It introduced a brand new code base completely separate from Mac OS 9’s as well as all previous Apple operating systems, and had a new Unix-like core, Darwin, which features a new memory management system. Unlike subsequent releases starting with Mac OS X 10.2, Mac OS X was not externally marketed with its codename.

 Mac OS X 10.0 Welcome Guide (PDF, 9.47MB)

 Mac OS X 10.0 Read Before You Install Guide (PDF, 35kb)


Mac OS X 10.1 Screenshot, courtesy 512 Pixels

 Mac OS X 10.1 (Release date: September 25, 2001)

Mac OS X 10.1 (code named Puma) is the second major release of macOS, Apple’s desktop and server operating system. It superseded Mac OS X 10.0 and preceded Mac OS X Jaguar.

Mac OS X 10.1 was released on September 25, 2001 as a free update for Mac OS X 10.0 users. The operating system was handed out for no charge by Apple employees after Steve Jobs’ keynote speech at the Seybold publishing conference in San Francisco.

It was subsequently distributed to Mac users on October 25, 2001 at Apple Stores and other retail stores that carried Apple products.

 Mac OS X 10.1 Welcome Guide (PDF, 24.6MB)

 Mac OS X 10.1 Read Before You Install Guide (PDF, 35kb)


Mac OS X 10.2 Screenshot, courtesy 512 Pixels

 Mac OS X 10.2 “Jaguar” (Release date: August 23, 2002)

Mac OS X Jaguar (version 10.2) is the third major release of macOS, Apple’s desktop and server operating system. It superseded Mac OS X 10.1 and preceded Mac OS X Panther.

The operating system was released on August 23, 2002 either for single-computer installations, and in a “family pack,” which allowed five installations on separate computers in one household. Jaguar was the first Mac OS X release to publicly use its code name in marketing and advertisements.

 Mac OS X 10.2 Welcome Guide (PDF, 804kb)

 Mac OS X 10.2 Read Before You Install Guide (PDF, 37kb)


Mac OS X 10.3 Screenshot, courtesy 512 Pixels

 Mac OS X 10.3 “Panther” (Release date: October 24, 2003)

Mac OS X Panther (version 10.3) is the fourth major release of macOS, Apple’s desktop and server operating system. It followed Mac OS X Jaguar and preceded Mac OS X Tiger. It was released on October 24, 2003.

New features include Fast User Switching (you no longer have to log out so another user can log in), Exposé, FileVault (use at your own risk), and iChat AV, which added voice and video conferencing to the Mac’s messaging client. TextEdit was updated to support Microsoft Word documents.

 Mac OS X 10.3 Welcome Guide (PDF, 4.4MB)

 Mac OS X 10.3 Installation and Setup Guide (PDF, 179kb)


Mac OS X 10.4 Screenshot, courtesy 512 Pixels

 Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” (Release date: April 29, 2005)

Mac OS X Tiger (version 10.4) is the fifth major release of macOS, Apple’s desktop and server operating system for Mac computers. Tiger was released to the public on April 29, 2005 for US$129.95 as the successor to Mac OS X 10.3 Panther.

Some of the new features included a fast searching system called Spotlight, a new version of the Safari web browser, Dashboard, a new ‘Unified’ theme, and improved support for 64-bit addressing on Power Mac G5s.

Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger offered a number of features, such as fast file searching and improved graphics processing, that Microsoft had spent several years struggling to add to Windows with acceptable performance.

 Mac OS X 10.4 Welcome Guide (PDF, 4.4MB)

 Mac OS X 10.4 Installation and Setup Guide (PDF, 4.4MB)

 Mac OS X 10.4 Smart Card Setup Guide (PDF, 117kb)


Mac OS X 10.5 Screenshot, courtesy 512 Pixels

 Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” (Release date: October 26, 2007)

According to Apple, Leopard contains over 300 changes and enhancements compared to its predecessor, Mac OS X Tiger, covering core operating system components as well as included applications and developer tools.

Leopard introduces a significantly revised desktop, with a redesigned Dock, Stacks, a semitransparent menu bar, and an updated Finder that incorporates the Cover Flow visual navigation interface first seen in iTunes.

Other notable features include support for writing 64-bit graphical user interface applications, an automated backup utility called Time Machine, support for Spotlight searches across multiple machines, and the inclusion of Front Row and Photo Booth, which were previously included with only some Mac models.

 Mac OS X 10.5 Welcome Guide (PDF, 8.7MB)

 Mac OS X 10.5 Installation and Setup Guide (PDF, 334kb)

 Mac OS X 10.5 Boot Camp Installation and Setup Guide (PDF, 289kb)


Mac OS X 10.6 Screenshot, courtesy 512 Pixels

 Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” (Release date: August 28, 2009)

Unlike previous versions of Mac OS X, the goals of Snow Leopard were improved performance, greater efficiency and the reduction of its overall memory footprint. Apple famously marketed Snow Leopard as having “zero new features”.

Its name signified its goal to be a refinement of the previous OS X version, Leopard. Much of the software in Mac OS X was extensively rewritten for this release in order to take full advantage of modern Macintosh hardware and software technologies (64-bit, Cocoa, etc.).

New programming frameworks, such as OpenCL, were created, allowing software developers to use graphics cards in their applications. It was also the first Mac OS release since System 7.1.1 to not support Macs using PowerPC processors, as Apple dropped support for them and focused on Intel-based products.

As support for Rosetta was dropped in Mac OS X Lion, Snow Leopard is the last version of Mac OS X that is able to run PowerPC-only applications.

 Mac OS X 10.6 Welcome Guide (PDF, 10.5MB)

 Mac OS X 10.6 Installation and Setup Guide (PDF, 105kb)

 Mac OS X 10.6 Boot Camp Installation and Setup Guide (PDF, 289kb)