Apple’s newest version of their flagship operating system, MacOS 10.14 Mojave, released on Monday with many noticeable enhancements to the user interface that will change the way you use your Mac.
As MacOS is improved, older systems are often unable to support newer releases, and Mojave is no exception. The compatible Mac systems are:
MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or newer)
MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or newer)
Mac mini (Late 2012 or newer)
iMac (Late 2012 or newer)
iMac Pro (All)
Mac Pro (Late 2013, plus Mid 2010 or Mid 2012 with Metal-capable GPUs)
Any systems older than these will not be able to run Mojave. This is in keeping with Apple’s general principle of phasing out systems after a roughly 7-year lifespan.
A particular note should be made about Mid-2010 and Mid-2012 Mac Pro systems; Mojave requires support for the Metal graphics API, which means that these models are Mojave compatible only if they are upgraded with a Metal-capable GPU (including models such as the MSI Gaming Radeon RX 560 and Sapphire Radeon PULSE RX 580).
In general, Radeon GPUs will offer the best performance on Mojave, as Apple hasn’t supported NVIDIA cards via standard OS X drivers since 2013. Any card on Apple’s list of supported external GPUs should also work with minimal headache.
Mojave ships with a number of improvements over High Sierra, with both the user experience and system performance receiving some tweaks. Among the most notable are:
APFS Improvements for Fusion Drives: Drives can streamline performance based on the additional speed of being stored on the SSD portion.
Mac systems still using HFS+ will be automatically migrated to APFS file system (including installations on external HFS+ drives).
Dark Mode: A new UI theme that shifts interface elements to a darker color scheme, reducing eye strain (especially when the system is in use in low-light conditions). Some third-party apps will need to be updated to use this feature.
Desktop Stacks Mode: Files on the Desktop can be grouped by file type (image, sound file, document, etc) into a folder-like structure called a Stack. This can clean up the Desktop while still allowing you to fold out your files when desired.
Dock Update: The Dock will display the three most recently used apps, allowing you to return to them even if they’re not pinned.
Screenshot Updates: Keyboard shortcuts for taking screenshots remain unchanged, but improvements have been made to saving or opening them rather than simply dumping them to the Desktop.
Migrated iOS apps: While iOS and macOS remain separate universes, a small handful of iOS apps have made the migration to Mojave. These include Home, News, Stocks, and Voice Memo.
Redesigned App Store: The UI of the App Store has been changed to focus more on readability rather than density. Apple’s curated lists will be front and center, though familiar categories for apps will still be found.
End of 32-bit App Support: Mojave is the last version of macOS that will run 32-bit applications.
This list is far from complete but gives a good look into the variety of improvements (many of them cosmetic or UI-specific) that Mojave brings to the table.
Compatibility with common pro software is a major concern for Nodal’s clients and the main reason why we generally recommend caution before upgrading to a new macOS version. Any major release like this opens the door to productivity loss due to software errors and compatibility issues that have yet to be addressed by developers.
The biggest impact to creative industry software is that Mojave will be deprecating OpenGL and OpenCL and moving toward exclusive Metal support. This could significantly impact tools that rely on OpenGL support moving forward.
As of this writing, Adobe claims that current versions of Creative Cloud apps will work with Mojave, though there are still some outstanding bugs in Photoshop and Acrobat they are working to address.
Autodesk products currently have not been tested for Mojave compatibility. Nodal recommends users of Maya, Flame, and other Autodesk products refrain from updating their systems until it becomes clear these products will function properly.
It’s unclear whether the newest Cinema 4D release is compatible with Mojave, though MAXON suggests it cannot be responsible for compatibility with Metal GPUs. Whether this will create an issue with the new MacOS release remains to be seen. MAXON also states that while it tests its products on OS versions available at the time new Cinema 4D releases are announced, it cannot always guarantee compatibility with software released after that point.
The Foundry suggests that their Nuke software should still work on Mojave even with the deprecations of OpenGL and OpenCL, though it remains unclear whether these APIs will be supported in MacOS 10.15 and onward. They suggest keeping to supported OS versions until the impact of these changes becomes more clear.
Otoy states that it does not expect compatibility issues with its Octane Render plugins with the change to Mojave, though Nodal would still suggest testing Octane on 10.14 before committing all your systems to the new version.
So far Mojave support appears to be a mixed bag; Nodal recommends caution when it comes to updating your systems until compatibility issues can be addressed.
It appears that Mojave’s updates are largely cosmetic, quality-of-life improvements, rather than transformative changes. While UI enhancements are nice and can improve the usability and comfort of the experience, these features are not enough to justify updating to Mojave at this time.
Furthermore, the potential for compatibility issues (both from deprecation of OpenGL/OpenCL and those that come with any major macOS update) means that updating to Mojave at this point could result in additional headaches and overall loss of productivity. We would want developers to sign off on the new version and perform thorough testing before committing our clients to this release.