Apple OS X Mavericks: Release date, features, iWork and iLife updates

Get the low down on Apple's latest OS, with feature info, beta news and more

Apple OS X Mavericks marks a new naming tradition, but what it lacks in big cats, it makes up for with some important new features and power-saving functions...

With the unveiling of a new OS X update, Apple started big, and bold. Apple's new naming convention centres around special parts of California, and Mavericks - an iconic surf beach in northern California, infamous for huge waves - is an appropriate starting point.

So, does OS X Mavericks deliver wave after wave of features crashing onto the shore? Read on, and find out.

Release Date

Apple announced that for the first time, Mavericks will be absoluetely free to download, to anyone who has a Mac running the Snow Leopard OS or newer. If you can't wait to get your grubby mits on the new update then you're in luck, it's available to download right now from the Mac App Store.

Finder Tabs & Tagging

Browsing your Mac is being made as easy as browsing the internet, by borrowing some old school internet browser technology. You no longer have to have multiple finder windows open if you're dealing with lots of folders and files - now you can have tabs in your find windows. Simple, but definitely a big improvement. You can also add custom tags to files, making them easier to group and easier to find via the search bar.

Multiple displays support

Johnny Two-Screens' rejoice! Mavericks is the first Apple OS to have full support for multiple displays. That means users can access the dock and menu bar on each of their separate displays, run separate full-size applications on separate displays and even drag said applications across between screens, without having to put up with wonky resizing issues.


Safari gets a pretty decent size overhaul, including a brand new home screen and quick, easy access to bookmarks, reading lists and the like.

The main improvements are in speed, and efficiency. The new Safari is - according to Apple - over 3 times as powerful as FireFox, and twice as powerful as Chrome. And it does it whilst using less memory and energy. Pretty neat.

Power saving

Brand new 'Timer Coalescing' allows Mavericks to detect when the CPU needs to be active, and effectively lets you save up to 72% of your power in certain situations. Similar work with memory allows the latest OS X to detect your needs, and then rapidly compress inactive memory, freeing up space 'almost instantaneously' according to Apple's Head of OS X Development, Craig Federighi.

Also, the new AppNow feature automatically allows Mavericks to reduce the processing power and memory being used for applications that are hidden, providing extra resources for whatever app is at the front of your screen.

iCloud Keychain

So, everyone knows they should use loads of different passwords for different websites, with upper and lower case, numbers and all that stuff. But who can remember all that? iCloud Keychain remembers your passwords, and stores them all, encrypted, in the cloud so you'll never have to remember a password again.

If you can't think of a password, Safari will suggest something particularly secure and attach it to your cloud 'keychain'. Credit cards can also be saved with iCloud Keychain, but you'll have to remember the security code yourself.


The major change to notifications is the ability to access them from the lock screen. That means you can reply to a Twitter message instantly right from the notification (finally). You can delete emails instantly. You can also auto-reply to FaceTime calls. You can also get your iOS push notifications to appear on your Mac - not just on your iPhone - so when you wake up your machine, all your missed notifications will be waiting for you.


Apple has completely revamped the iWork suite of productivity tools for both iOS and Mavericks, with a new user interface for Pages, Numbers and Keynote, along with a number of key features. iCloud has been further optimised to work with the new online versions of the software, while Keynote has a number of new animations. Most importantly of all though is that iWork is now completely free for new devices, on both Mac and iOS.


If iWork is Apple's producitvity suite, then iLife is most definitly its liftestyle one. iMovie, iPhoto and Garageband are OSX stalwarts and they've all been give a visual refresh. On iOS, Garageband now takes advantage of the 64 bit archtitecture on the iPad Air. iPhone 5s and Retina iPad Mini to give you control over 32 tracks, while in iMovie there's now a gallery option.


Mavericks gives you access to iBooks' 1.8 million book library from your Mac and gives you a nice, clean reading interface to browse the library, find the books you want and even take notes in.

Double click on a book, and you send it straight to your iPhone, so you can carry on reading on the road.


Maps promises to be much improved in OS X Mavericks. If you're at home looking up a location, you can send all the information and directions to your iPhone instantly - so when you unlock your phone, iOS will jump straight into Apple Maps and start navigating you.


Calendar has been streamlined, with emphasis put on ease of use and simplicity. 'Event Inspector' lets you look at and edit events, and suggests relevant addresses and points of interest as you're editing.

When your event comes up, Calendar will co-ordinate with Maps to show you where you're going, how long it'll take you to get there, and even gives you a weather forecast so you can adjust your wardrobe accordingly.