Why Apple’s macOS Mojave requires Metal – and deprecates OpenGL

“In order to run the new macOS Mojave, Macs must have graphics hardware capable of supporting Metal, Apple’s modern low-level, low-overhead software that provides access to graphics processing,” Daniel Eran Dilger reports for AppleInsider. “Apple’s list of Mac hardware supporting the new macOS Mojave is identical to its list of Mac computers that support Metal. More specifically, Metal is Apple’s hardware-accelerated 3D graphics and compute framework, standard library and GPU shading language.”

“Lack of support for Metal graphics is why some of the Macs that are supported in today’s macOS High Sierra can’t be upgraded to run Mojave. This includes 2009-2011 (“non slim”) iMacs; 2010-2011 Mac minis; 2009-2010 plastic non-Retina MacBooks; and 2011 or earlier non-Retina MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models,” Dilger reports. “Drawing a line at Metal-capable GPUs allows Apple to optimize graphics performance–particularly for entirely new software features including multi-user FaceTime and other new iOS-familiar UI features. If you’ve owned a Mac for 8-9 years, Mojave offers a good reason to upgrade your hardware and join the modern Metal party.”

“Earlier this month, Apple’s developer documentation advised that active development has ceased for OpenGL and OpenCL on the Mac, and that the APIs will only get ‘minor changes’ going forward. ‘Apps built using OpenGL and OpenCL will continue to run in macOS 10.14, but these legacy technologies are deprecated in macOS 10.14. Games and graphics-intensive apps that use OpenGL should now adopt Metal. Similarly, apps that use OpenCL for computational tasks should now adopt Metal and Metal Performance Shaders,’ the company noted,” Dilger reports. “That means the games you play today — and the new titles you’ll look for in the future — won’t really be impacted by the deprecation of OpenGL. They will, however, be greatly accelerated by Apple’s latest advances in low-level silicon and the nearly as low-level Metal plated on top. Additionally, Metal is also supporting the deployment of advanced new applications including multiuser FaceTime in the macOS Mojave Public Beta.”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Time for serious devs to move to Metal.

Some game developers hint at abandoning the Mac as Apple deprecates OpenGL – June 6, 2018
Apple deprecates OpenGL across all OSes; urges developers to use Metal – June 5, 2018
Apple positions Metal as part of new 3D graphics standard for Web – February 8, 2017
Apple’s Metal and how it can impact Mac gaming – September 30, 2016
Apple’s number one CAD vendor is very excited about Metal for Mac – June 11, 2015
Metal for Mac is so huge, bye-bye Mac Pro – June 9, 2015


    1. Apple has never (yes, never) natively supported the most current versions of OpenGL and OpenCL. Apple is sometimes even a full major revision back. If Metal2 is faster than OpenGL and OpenCL, as they historically have been implemented by Apple, would not surprise me at all.

      However, you need only to go over to BareFeats to see that Metal2 still lags way behind Microsoft’s DirectX — even the prior version of DirectX. Apple used to claim that Mac graphics was slower than DirectX because of OpenGL. Now BareFeats has clearly shown that it never has been because of OpenGL. It’s because of Apple’s implementations of anything graphic oriented.

      Just another case of Apple ignoring those who need performance (PROs!) for many, many years. There really is no excuse for Metal2 to be as slow as half the speed of the latest version of DirectX — on the same hardware.

  1. OpenGL is the Open standard for the universe, and DirectX is the proprietary standard for anyone looking for serious high performance. DirectX typically produces double the frame rates of Metal or Metal 2.

    Metal and Metal 2 are proprietary and relatively slow, and they’re only for iOS and Macs. If everyone in the world who uses a Mac was interested in gaming, it still wouldn’t be a lucrative market for game developers, so if Apple cared, they would pursue making sure that OpenGL and Vulkan were available, in their most current versions for Mac. They might approach MS with a wad of cash to get DirectX ported to Mac, but keeping it up to date would a nightmare for Apple.

    This is not something Apple is worried about. Apple is the iPhone company. Providing the best engineered computer technology is no longer the strategy of the company. They make expensive, low end tech for consumers more interested in fashion than technology. They continue to demonstrate that they can’t even build a high end Mac for years, when everyone else can whip one up in a day if they feel like it. And they see the future of computing as the iPad.

    Well the iPad is nifty, but Qualcom has a few things in store for Apple on that front as well. Apple better not rest on their laurels with iPad and ARM. There are some performance beasts in the tablet world on the way. That run Windows 10 natively.

    Bottom line though, none of it makes any difference because Cook and Company have demonstrated time and time again that no matter how they screw things up, people love them some iPhones and they will keep selling like crazy for the foreseeable future. I can’t wait for my 6.5″ iPhone X plus.

    As far as computers… wake me when Apple keeps up with the rest again.

  2. It’s OK that Apple replaces 20 years old APIs with more efficient ones. But they gave no indications as to how to replace openCL by Metal. Booo! Booohoooo! Seriously, I found no help.

  3. There is also this:


    Vulkan is coming to macOS and iOS, but no thanks to Apple.

    “…Vulkan—the open, cross-platform GPU API from the Khronos Group, the industry body that also develops OpenGL—is available on Windows, Linux, Android, the Nintendo Switch, and cloud systems, but it has one sizeable gap: none of Apple’s platforms support it. macOS has old, and slow, OpenGL drivers, and iOS supports OpenGL ES, the OpenGL subset designed for embedded systems. Apple has thus far shown no interest in offering the modern Vulkan API and instead has pushed its own proprietary API, Metal.

    Today, that gap is being substantially filled, with the open source, royalty-free release of MoltenVK—a runtime for macOS and iOS that offers an almost complete subset of the Vulkan API implemented using Metal. Released under the Apache 2 license, MoltenVK will enable developers to build their Vulkan applications for Apple’s platforms, allowing for a single codebase to span Windows, Linux, Android, macOS, iOS, and more…”

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.