Apple signals end to Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard support

“Apple has apparently decided to kill support for OS X Snow Leopard, the 2009 operating system that has resisted retirement for more than a year,” Gregg Keizer reports for Computerworld.

“On Monday, Apple did not update Safari 5.1 when it patched the later Safari 6 and 7 for newer editions of OS X, including 2011’s Lion, 2012’s Mountain Lion and this year’s Mavericks. Safari 5.1, which was last updated in September to version 5.1.10, is the most-current Apple browser for Snow Leopard,” Keizer reports. “Historically, Apple has patched Safari longer than the supporting operating system, so when the Cupertino, Calif. company calls its quits for the browser, it’s already decided to retire the pertinent OS.”

“Apple’s support for even newer editions of OS X, including 2011’s Lion and last year’s Mountain Lion, has also come into question: In a very unusual move, the Cupertino, Calif. company declined to update either of those operating systems in October, when it released Mavericks with patches for more than 50 security vulnerabilities,” Keizer reports. “It’s certainly possible that Apple has already pulled the plug on Lion and Mountain Lion, what with the two-month stretch without a sign of fixes for the bugs patched in Mavericks. Because Apple made Mavericks a free upgrade from Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion, Apple could rationalize the dropping of support for the latter two.”

Much more in the full article here.


  1. Bum. Über bum.

    I have Snow Leopard. Why? Because I have used Macs for a long-ass time and created a lot of content in MacWrite and Ashlar Vellum (a 3D wireframe CAD program). And that content was made for business purposes; it is not cremated and tossed to the winds easily.

    So I access these files using Sheepshaver, which gives me a virtual machine running OS 7.5.5. And I also run a few apps using Rosetta.

    Rosetta gets totally abandoned if I migrate OS X upwards. And I have no idea what might happen with Sheepshaver, but—at least at the time I installed it—it was not an endeavor I would like to repeat.


    1. And you don’t want the new (better in virtually every way) versions of these apps?

      Ashlar (original developer of vellum) now has an entire range of products based on the original (vellum). You might also want to look at the viaCAD and shark series of products (written by Tim Olsen, who headed the original development of vellum for ashlar, time is still actively developing ViaCAD)

      I don’t know friend, if I was a suspicious sort i’d think you were just making shit up.

      1. It would be nice, Tessellator, if you knew what in the world you were talking about before banging on the keyboard and revealing to the world that you have fingers and no brain.

        I have the latest version of Ashlar Cobalt running natively in Snow Leopard, which can supposedly open Vellum files. As a matter of fact, I wrote Wikipedia’s article on Cobalt and spoke many times with the owner of the company while writing the article. The fact that you can go to their website and look at their product offerings means little.

        And there is no good file translator that converts complex WriteNow programs, which was abandoned long ago.

        As for your back-handed way of alluding to “not being the suspicious” (which essentially betrays that you thoroughly are), here’s another one for you: I bet you now doubt that I wrote Wikipedia’s article on Cobalt. Well, go click the “History” tab. See that “Greg L” stuff all over the place?

        Notice my avatar name? Coincidence? Not. I forgot more about Vellum and Cobalt than you will ever know in your lifetime.

        So if the fact that I have SheepShaver as a virtual OS 7.5.5 machine within my 10.6 Snow Leopard is hard to fathom and makes me seem like I must be from the big city or somethin’,” or that I actually have some old apps that run under Rosetta and there are no suitable replacements, well… that just demonstrates that you find rather pedestrian stuff to be all big and cosmic and beyond your comprehension.

        Now go vandalize the Wikipedia article. You seem to be the type to do that sort of thing. While you’re there, look up the various 3D solid model ray-tracings I did using Cobalt that were “Featured Picture” of the day on en.Wikipedia’s home page.

    2. Sheepshaver is still running great (within reason anyway) on Mavericks. No fear there!

      But I continue to be flummoxed that the authors of Rosetta (who were not Apple) never bothered to update it for Lion etc. I personally don’t know of any reason it could not continue as a third party emulator. I’ve never read anything one way or the other, apart from verifications that there was no way to port the 10.6 version over to Lion. I even tried it myself with no luck.

  2. Stick with Snow Leopard, it still works better than anything else out there.

    Yes, it’s true. 10.6 is the best version of OS X, bar none. It is the fastest, most stable, lightweight, purest OS X available. For many users, there really isn’t a compelling reason to update. The fluff and “improvements” added since 2009 haven’t improved the core OS, and most of Apple’s well-publicized software features like “tabbed browsing” can be achieved via 3rd party software. … and the holdout Snow Leopard user can avoid the boring grey flatness that is Mavericks.

    1. Absolutely Spot on. Snow Leopard is THE finest version of OS X EVER. I will NEVER upgrade until Apple gives me a REASON to do so. Mavericks is an unmitigated joke of an OS to anyone who is serious about Mac OS X.

      1. I wish all professionals knew this!! For my world of professional recording, any attempt to upgrade away from the complete and perfect snow leopard has left me more frustrated than any other technical difficulty ever!

    2. The Snow Leopard release was the apex of OS X and it has been downhill ever since. It is faster, more stable and is the last to ship with Rosetta for those who have legacy apps they like to use.

      Most of the new features implemented in the later releases are crap easily accomplished with 3rd party software, some compromise security and many make the OS less stable. Older versions of Safari without the aggressive caching of top sites and such are much faster and more stable.

      I am using 10.9.1 on my Mac Pro, but still have a copy of Snow Leopard I can boot at any time. My Living Room Mac Mini still runs Snow Leopard Server. Snow Leopard also has Front Row which Apple withdrew to push the Apple TV.

      The Best Apple TV is a Snow Leopard Mac Mini with an EyeTV HD attached.

  3. Suckage.

    Okay, I’m gonna out myself for the loser I am. I use Snow Leopard SOLELY because my out-of-state buddies and I still play Neverwinter Nights. Yes, it’s over ten years old. No, no one has come up with a multi-player, cross-platform game that comes close to the experience of playing old-school Dungeons and Dragons. So I’m holding out as long as I can, Apple. Nyah!

    1. Yeah, what a bunch of whiny losers. I wonder what these shmucks would be saying if Apple had never upgraded OS X in all this time? Think they’d be singing their praises that they’d never progressed?

      1. Not really. It is just that Snow Leopard is probably the best liked OS of the entire X series. It is also free of all the gimmicky iOS stuff of the newer operating system.

  4. I am a developer. I run a machine with 10.9 for XCode, because I must. But for web development work (which is my main money maker these days), and for personal use, I use 10.6.8. To echo what others have said, I find Snow Leopard to be the best Mac OS. I have been waiting with trepidation for Apple to stop supporting it. Sadly I seems that day has arrived.

  5. Here’s another vote for Snow Leopard. There isn’t one added feature since Snow Leopard that I care about.
    I’m fighting with Mavericks 10.9.1 now. It broke some of my apps.
    Mavericks is dog slow. It boots much more slowly, apps launch much more slowly, dialog boxes open much more slowly and it shuts down much more slowly.
    Did Apple hire some Microsoft programmers or what?

    1. Seems like all Apple cares about is getting a new OS out every year. I wish they take their damn time in making the the current one better. Like 10.8.0 and go all the way to 10.8.9 if they have too. I guess time will only tell.

      1. I agree. The last minor version in a major OS version is supposed to be the stable one, and it should last for quite a while.
        Instead, the last minor (stablest) version of major version gets neglected immediately once the new major version is out (10.x.0 and sometimes 10.x.1 are primarily for early adopters).
        Granted, Apple has made it very easy to upgrade to the next major version.

  6. Apple stopped caring about their customers years ago when they began adding “features” to OSX that nobody cared about and taking away Rosetta that many working pros needed to run their business. There is no technical reason why Apple could not continue to support Rosetta. This is all about planned obsolesence and to hell with the loyal long term Mac user. Mr Cook, listen to me and millions of others when I say, “YOU WILL HAVE TO PRY MY SNOW LEOPARD FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS.”

  7. Apple didn’t officially drop support for 10.6 Snow Leopard yet. They might be moving to a model of less frequent updates for older OS’s. Snow Leopard ain’t broken, so I think a once or twice a year security-only patch is more than sufficient. It makes sense that Apple focuses much more attention on updating newer OS’s, instead of updating all the old OS’s for every new version of Safari. In fact, I think small infrequent updates would actually be more convenient for Snow Leopard users.

  8. Usually it pains me to have to wait to upgrade to the latest OS, but in Snow Leopard’s case, I hated to leave it. I agree best OS ever! L, ML, and Mav do have some things I like better but as a whole SL gets my vote as #1. Between work and home I have 4 Macs for my own use and 3 are upgraded, but my old 2006 MBP is still (and can only ever be) on Snow Leopard. And until it dies, I’ll enjoy it.

  9. I totally agree with everyone here about Snow Leopard’s wonderfulness. My 2 Macs at home still run 10.6.8. I have 10.8.5 on my work Mac mini and hate it.

    I am a sysadmin so I basically live inside most of the day and every version of Apple Mail since 10.6.8’s has sucked ass. They keep changing it and making it worse and making it slower! WTF Apple … just stop it!

  10. I installed mavericks over snow lep on my 2007 imac. didnt work so well. had problems. had to reformat my internal HD and go back to snow lep from my backups. I may try a clean install of mavericks, but I’m reluctant to try that.

  11. I just came across this forum (I am a developer and sysadmin and know a thing or too, but can’t read everything – and obviously am far from the only well-qualified person on here). But such a breath of fresh air to read the truth about OS X. I run Snow Leopard on my late 2009 27″ iMac (bought as soon as they started shipping the ones with the quad-core processors).
    I also run Lion on my early 2012 15″ Macbook Pro – deliberately bought before they dropped the optical drive and the ethernet port!
    It really has been downhill all the way since Snow Leopard. Nothing much to add to those posting above and singing its praises other than my firm agreement. Since then Apple have piled on layers of useless fluff, moving away from the lean mean unix-based serious machine to some kind of nightmare mish-mash of an appliance halfway between iOS and Windoze.

    One question though. Is there anything stopping me from taking a step back and installing Snow Leopard on my laptop? Specifically, is there some hardware incompatibility that can’t be easily got round. I have everything on both machines triply-backed up (with one off-site backup for each) so I’m not afraid to wipe it and try.

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