macOS Server is a product formerly called Mac OS X Server and OS X Server. Mac OS X Server was a stand-alone operating system whereas macOS Server is sold as an operating system add-on (or app) that provides additional server programs along with management and administration tools for iOS and macOS.
An OS X Yosemite server
|Working state||Superseded by macOS plus add-on server package|
|Source model||Closed-source (with open-source components)|
|Initial release||March 16, 1999|
|Latest release||5.9 / October 8, 2019|
|Kernel type||Hybrid (XNU) (mostly monolithic)|
|Default user interface||Aqua|
|License||Commercial proprietary software|
Prior to version 10.7 (Lion), Mac OS X Server was a separate but similar Unix server operating system from Apple Inc. architecturally identical to its desktop counterpart Mac OS X. With the release of version 10.7 (Lion), Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server were combined into one release. A separate "server" operating system is no longer sold; the server-specific server applications and work group management and administration software tools from Mac OS X Server are now offered as macOS Server, an add-on package for macOS sold through the Mac App Store, along with Workgroup Manager 10.8, available from the Apple support web site.
These tools simplify access to key network services, including a mail transfer agent, AFP and SMB servers, an LDAP server, a domain name server, and others. Also included (particularly in later versions) are numerous additional services and the tools to manage them, such as web server, wiki server, chat server, calendar server, and many others.
Mac OS X Server was provided as the operating system for Xserve computers, rack mounted server computers designed by Apple. Also, it was optionally pre-installed on the Mac Mini and Mac Pro and was sold separately for use on any Macintosh computer meeting its minimum requirements.
macOS Server is based on an open source foundation called Darwin and uses open industry standards and protocols. It included services and applications for file sharing, sharing contact information and calendars, schedule events, send secure instant messages, conduct live video conferences, send and receive email, contribute to and comment in wikis, publish a company-wide blog, produce and distribute podcasts, and set up websites.
Mac OS X Server 1.0 (Rhapsody)
The first version of Mac OS X was Mac OS X Server 1.0. Mac OS X Server 1.0 – 1.2v3 were based on Rhapsody, a hybrid of OPENSTEP from NeXT Computer and Mac OS 8.5.1. The GUI looked like a mixture of Mac OS 8's Platinum appearance with OPENSTEP's NeXT-based interface. It included a runtime layer called Blue Box for running legacy Mac OS-based applications within a separate window. There was discussion of implementing a 'transparent blue box' which would intermix Mac OS applications with those written for Rhapsody's Yellow Box environment, but this would not happen until Mac OS X's Classic environment. Apple File Services, Macintosh Manager, QuickTime Streaming Server, WebObjects, and NetBoot were included with Mac OS X Server 1.0 – 1.2v3. It could not use FireWire devices.
Mac OS X Server 10.0 (Cheetah)
Released: May 21, 2001
Mac OS X Server 10.1 (Puma)
Released: September 25, 2001
Mac OS X Server 10.2 (Jaguar)
Released: August 23, 2002
The 10.2 Mac OS X Server release includes updated Open Directory user and file management, which with this release is based on LDAP, beginning the deprecation of the NeXT-originated NetInfo architecture. The new Workgroup Manager interface improved configuration significantly. The release also saw major updates to NetBoot and NetInstall. Many common network services are provided such as NTP, SNMP, web server (Apache), mail server (Postfix and Cyrus), LDAP (OpenLDAP), AFP, and print server. The inclusion of Samba version 3 allows tight integration with Windows clients and servers. MySQL v4.0.16 and PHP v4.3.7 are also included.
Mac OS X Server 10.3 (Panther)
Released: October 24, 2003
The 10.3 Mac OS X Server release includes updated Open Directory user and file management, which with this release is based on LDAP, beginning the deprecation of the NeXT-originated NetInfo architecture. The new Workgroup Manager interface improved configuration significantly. Many common network services are provided such as NTP, SNMP, web server (Apache), mail server (Postfix and Cyrus), LDAP (OpenLDAP), AFP, and print server. The inclusion of Samba version 3 allows tight integration with Windows clients and servers. MySQL v4.0.16 and PHP v4.3.7 are also included.
Mac OS X Server 10.4 (Tiger)
Released: April 29, 2005
The 10.4 release adds 64-bit application support, Access Control Lists, Xgrid, link aggregation, e-mail spam filtering (SpamAssassin), virus detection (ClamAV), Gateway Setup Assistant, and servers for Software Update, iChat Server using XMPP, Boot Camp Assistant, Dashboard, and weblogs.
On August 10, 2006, Apple announced the first Universal Binary release of Mac OS X Server, version 10.4.7, supporting both PowerPC and Intel processors. At the same time Apple announced the release of the Intel-based Mac Pro and Xserve systems.
Mac OS X Server 10.5 (Leopard Server)
- RADIUS Server. Leopard Server includes FreeRADIUS for network authentication. It ships with support for wireless access stations however can be modified into a fully functioning FreeRADIUS server.
Mac OS X Server 10.6 (Snow Leopard Server)
Released: August 28, 2009
- Full 64-bit operating system. On appropriate systems with 4 GB of RAM or more, Snow Leopard Server uses a 64-bit kernel to address up to a theoretical 16 TB of RAM.
- iCal Server 2 with improved CalDAV support, a new web calendaring application, push notifications and the ability to send email invitations to non-iCal users.
- Address Book Server provides a central location for users to store and access personal contacts across multiple Macs and synchronized iPhones. Based on the CardDAV protocol standard.
- Wiki Server 2, with server side Quick Look and the ability to view wiki content on iPhone.
- A new Mail server engine that supports push email so users receive immediate access to new messages. However, Apple's implementation of push email is not supported for Apple's iPhone.
- Podcast Producer 2 with dual-source video support. Also includes a new Podcast Composer application to automate the production process, making it simple to create podcasts with a customized, consistent look and feel. Podcast Composer creates a workflow to add titles, transitions and effects, save to a desired format and share to wikis, blogs, iTunes, iTunes U, Final Cut Server or Podcast Library.
- Mobile Access Server enables iPhone and Mac users to access secured network services, including corporate websites, online business applications, email, calendars and contacts. Without requiring additional software, Mobile Access Server acts as a reverse proxy server and provides SSL encryption and authentication between the user’s iPhone or Mac and a private network.
Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion Server)
Released: July 20, 2011
In releasing the developer preview of Mac OS X Lion in February 2011, Apple indicated that beginning with Lion, Mac OS X Server would be bundled with the operating system and would not be marketed as a separate product. However, a few months later, the company said it would instead sell the server components as a US$49.99 add-on to Lion, distributed through the Mac App Store (as well as Lion itself). The combined cost of an upgrade to Lion and the purchase of the OS X Server add-on, which costs approximately US$50, was nonetheless significantly lower than the retail cost of Snow Leopard Server (US$499).
Lion Server came with unlimited client licenses as did Snow Leopard Server.
|Software||10.7||10.7.1||10.7.2||10.7.3 11D2001||10.7.4 11E53||10.7.5 11G63|
OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion Server)
Released: July 25, 2012.
Like Lion, Mountain Lion had no separate server edition. An OS X Server package was available for Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store for US$19.99, which included a server management application called Server, as well as other additional administrative tools to manage client profiles and Xsan.
Mountain Lion Server, like Lion Server, was provided with unlimited client licenses, and once purchased could be run on an unlimited number of systems.
OS X 10.9 (Mavericks Server)
Released: October 22, 2013.
There is no separate server edition of Mavericks, just as there was no separate server edition of Mountain Lion. There is a package, available from the Mac App Store for $19.99, that includes a server management app called Server, as well as other additional administrative tools to manage client profiles and Xsan, and once purchased can be run on an unlimited number of machines. Those enrolled in the Mac or iOS developer programs are given a code to download OS X Server for free.
|Software||Developer Preview 1||10.9.0||10.9.1||10.9.4||10.9.5|
OS X 10.10 (Yosemite Server 4.0)
Released: October 16, 2014.
There is no separate server edition of Yosemite, just as there was no separate server edition of Mavericks. There is a package, available from the Mac App Store for $19.99, that includes a server management app called Server, as well as other additional administrative tools to manage client profiles and Xsan, and once purchased can be run on an unlimited number of machines. Those enrolled in the Mac or iOS developer programs are given a code to download OS X Server for free.
OS X 10.11 (Server 5.0)
Released: September 16, 2015.
Version 5.0.3 of OS X Server operates with either OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 and OS X El Capitan 10.11.
OS X 10.11 (Server 5.1)
Released: March 21, 2016.
OS X Server 5.1 requires 10.11.4 El Capitan, and previous versions of OS X Server won’t work on 10.11.4 El Capitan.
macOS 10.12 (Server 5.2)
Released: September 20, 2016.
Version 5.2 of macOS Server operates with either OS X El Capitan 10.11 or macOS Sierra 10.12.
macOS 10.12 (Server 5.3)
Released: March 17, 2017.
Version 5.3 of macOS Server only operates on macOS Sierra (10.12.4) and later.
macOS 10.13 (Server 5.4)
Released: September 25, 2017.
Version 5.4 of macOS Server only operates on macOS High Sierra (10.13) and later.
macOS 10.13.3 (Server 5.5)
Released: January 23, 2018.
Version 5.5 of macOS Server only operates on macOS High Sierra (10.13.3) and later.
macOS 10.13.5 (Server 5.6)
Released: April 24, 2018.
Version 5.6 of macOS Server only operates on macOS High Sierra (10.13.5) and later.
macOS 10.14 (Server 5.7)
Released: September 28, 2018.
Version 5.7 of macOS Server only operates on macOS Mojave (10.14) and later.
With this version Apple stopped bundling open source services such as Calendar Server, Contacts Server, the Mail Server, DNS, DHCP, VPN Server, and Websites with macOS Server. Included services are now limited to Profile Manager, Open Directory and Xsan.
macOS 10.14 (Server 5.8)
Released: March 25, 2019.
Version 5.8 of macOS Server only operates on macOS Mojave (10.14.4) and later. Profile Manager supports new restrictions, payloads, and commands.
Server administrator tools
- Beginning with the release of OS X 10.8 – Mountain Lion – there is only one Administrative tool – "Server.app". This application is purchased and downloaded via the Mac App Store. This application is updated independently of macOS, also via the Mac App Store.
- This Server tool is used to configure, maintain and monitor one or more macOS Server installations.
- One purchase allows it to be installed on any licensed macOS installation.
- The following information applies only to versions of Mac OS X Server prior to Mountain Lion (10.8)
- Mac OS X Server comes with a variety of configuration tools that can be installed on non-server Macs as well:
|Operating system version||Processor||Memory||Hard drive|
|Mac OS X Server 10.4||Mac computer with an Intel, PowerPC G5, PowerPC G4, or PowerPC G3 processor||512 MB of physical RAM||10 GB of available disk space|
|Mac OS X Server 10.5||Mac computer with an Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (867 MHz or faster) processor||1 GB of physical RAM||20 GB of available disk space|
|Mac OS X Server 10.6||Mac desktop computer with an Intel processor (MacBook / MacBook Pro not recommended)||2 GB of physical RAM||10 GB of available disk space|
|Mac OS X Server 10.7||x86-64 based Macintosh computer||2 GB of physical RAM||7 GB of available disk space|
File and print services
Directory services and authentication
Networking and VPN
- "Mac OS X Version 10.6 on Intel-based Macintosh computers". The Open Group. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
- "What's new in macOS Server 5.9". Apple Inc. Apple. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
- "Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard - UNIX". Apple. Archived from the original on June 9, 2011. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
- "Apple - macOS Server - Read the technical specifications". Apple Inc. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
- "OS X Server: Admin tools compatibility information". Apple Inc. July 25, 2012. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
- "Apple - Mac OS X Server - Collaboration Services". Archived from the original on August 13, 2006. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
- In depth with Lion OS X Server – Anandtech, August 2, 2011
- Enable full RADIUS support on OS X Server
- "Apple - Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard - 64-bit Computing". Archived from the original on June 8, 2011. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
- "Apple Releases Developer Preview of Mac OS X Lion" (Press release). Apple. February 24, 2011. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
- "Mac OS X Lion With 250 New Features Available in July From Mac App Store" (Press release). Apple. June 6, 2011. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
- Apple Inc. (November 15, 2011). "OS X Lion Server - Technical Specifications". Retrieved November 25, 2012.
- "OS X Server" (PDF). Apple Inc. June 2012. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
- Andrew Cunningham (July 29, 2012). "Server, simplified: A power user's guide to OS X Server". Ars Technica. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
- "OS X Server brings more power to your business". Apple. Retrieved October 22, 2013.
- "Get Apache, PHP and MySQL working on 10.9 Mavericks". Coolestguyontheplanet.com. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
- "Prepare for changes to macOS Server 5.7.1". Apple. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
- "What's new in macOS Server". Apple Support.
- Apple Inc. (June 26, 2009). "Mac OS X 10.5 Server - Technical Specifications". Retrieved October 27, 2012.
- "Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard - Technical Specifications". June 8, 2009. Archived from the original on June 8, 2011. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
- Schellworth, Ph. "osx:ipfailover". Retrieved September 11, 2014.
|Wikibooks has more on the topic of: MacOS Server|
- Apple – macOS Server
- Official feedback page
- Apple Introduces Mac OS X Server – Apple press release
- Major Mac OS X Server v10.1 Update Now Available – Apple press release
- Apple Announces Mac OS X Server “Jaguar”, World’s Easiest-to-Manage UNIX-Based Server Software – Apple press release
- Apple Announces Mac OS X Server “Panther” – Apple press release
- Apple Announces Mac OS X Server “Tiger” – Apple press release
- Apple Announces New Mac OS X Server "Leopard" Features – Apple press release
- Apple Introduces Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard – Apple press release