Mac OS X Server
Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server running Server Admin on Desktop
DeveloperApple Inc.
Written inC, C++, Objective-C, and HTML for settings
OS family
Working stateDiscontinued on April 21, 2022
Source modelClosed-source (with open-source components)
Initial releaseMarch 16, 1999; 25 years ago (1999-03-16)
Final release5.12[2] / December 8, 2021 (2021-12-08)
Available inEnglish, Japanese, French, German, Simplified Chinese, Dutch, Italian, Korean, Spanish, Traditional Chinese[3]
Kernel typeHybrid (XNU) (mostly monolithic)
user interface
LicenseCommercial proprietary software
Official websiteMac OS X Server at the Wayback Machine (archived 2020-11-09)

Mac OS X Server is a series of discontinued Unix-like server operating systems developed by Apple Inc. based on macOS. It provided server functionality and system administration tools, and tools to manage both macOS-based computers and iOS-based devices, network services such as a mail transfer agent, AFP and SMB servers, an LDAP server, and a domain name server, as well as server applications including a Web server, database, and calendar server.[4]

Starting with OS X Lion, Apple stopped selling a standalone server operating system, instead releasing an add-on Server app marketed as OS X Server (and later macOS Server), which was sold through the Mac App Store.[3][5] The Server app lacked many features from Mac OS X Server, and later versions of the app only included functionality related to user and group management, Xsan, and mobile device management through profiles. The Server app was discontinued on April 21, 2022, and Apple said that later versions of macOS would drop support for it.[2]


See also: macOS version history

Box artwork for Mac OS X Server versions 10.1–10.6

Mac OS X Server is based on an open source foundation called Darwin and uses open industry standards and protocols. 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.

Mac OS X Server 1.0 (Rhapsody)

Main article: Mac OS X Server 1.0

Mac OS X Server 1.0 was released in March 1999, predating the release of the consumer version of Mac OS X by two years. Mac OS X Server 1.0 was 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. It could not use FireWire devices. The last release is Mac OS X Server 1.2v3.

Mac OS X Server 10.0 (Cheetah)

Mac OS X Server 10.0 (released May 21, 2001) included the new Aqua user interface, Apache, PHP, MySQL, Tomcat, WebDAV support, Macintosh Manager, and NetBoot.

Mac OS X Server 10.1 (Puma)

Mac OS X Server 10.1 (released September 25, 2001) featured improved performance, increased system stability, and decreased file transfer times compared to Mac OS X Server 10.0. Support was added for RAID 0 and RAID 1 storage configurations, and Mac OS 9.2.1 in NetBoot.[6]

Mac OS X Server 10.2 (Jaguar)

Mac OS X Server 10.2 (released August 23, 2002) 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)

Mac OS X Server 10.3 (released October 24, 2003) 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.[citation needed]

Mac OS X Server 10.4 (Tiger)

The 10.4 release (April 29, 2005) 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,[7] Boot Camp Assistant, Dashboard, and Weblog Server based on the open-source Blojsom project (Java).[8]

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)

Screenshot of OS X Leopard 10.5 Server.

Leopard Server (released October 26, 2007) sold for $999 for an unlimited-client license.[9] Mac OS X Server version 10.5.x ‘Leopard’ was the last major version of Mac OS X Server to support PowerPC-based servers and workstations such as the Apple Xserve G5 and Power Mac G5.


Mac OS X Server 10.6 (Snow Leopard)

Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server (released August 28, 2009) sold for $499 and included unlimited client licenses.[9]

New Features:

Server app

The Server app running on OS X Yosemite

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.[13] 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).[14] The combined cost of an upgrade to Lion and the purchase of the OS X Server add-on, which costs approximately US$50,[9] 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. Lion Server includes new versions of iCal Server, Wiki Server, and Mail Server.[15] More significantly, Lion Server can be used for iOS mobile device management. Starting with Apple Mac OS X Server Version 10.7 “Lion,” PostgreSQL replaces MySQL as the database provided with Mac OS X Server, coinciding with Oracle Corporation’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems and Oracle’s subsequent attempts to tighten MySQL’s licensing restrictions and to exert influence on MySQL’s previously open and independent development model.[16]

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.[17][18] Mountain Lion Server, like Lion Server, was provided with unlimited client licenses, and once purchased could be run on an unlimited number of systems.

Server 5.7 (released September 28, 2018) stopped bundling open source services such as Calendar Server, Contacts Server, the Mail Server, DNS, DHCP, VPN Server, and Websites.[2] Included services are now limited to Profile Manager, Open Directory and Xsan.[2]

Server 5.8 (released March 25, 2019) added new restrictions, payloads, and commands to Profile Manager.

The Server app does not support versions of macOS newer than Monterey, marking the end of Mac OS X Server product line.[2]

Bundled applications

Prior to OS X Mountain Lion

One of Mac OS X Server's main administrative tools was the Server Administrator app, which allowed users to configure server services, and turn them on or off.

RAID Admin was a utility for administering and controlling RAIDs, usually Xserve RAIDs. It was written in Java,[19] and could run on Windows or Linux.

Other bundled tools include:

After OS X Mountain Lion

Beginning with the release of OS X Mountain Lion (version 10.8), there is only one Administrative tool, an app called "Server", which can be bought and downloaded from the Mac App Store, and is updated independently of OS X. This Server tool is used to configure, maintain and monitor one or more macOS Server installations.

Server services

Apple's Address Book Server, iCal Server, Wiki Server, and Web Server are mostly written in the Python programming language, relying on the Twisted framework.[20] Most[clarification needed] of these services were discontinued and removed in version 5.7.1 of the Server app, released on September 30, 2018.

Address Book Server

Address Book Server is a contacts server, and the first commercial server to have implemented CardDAV, which relies on the WebDAV protocol. It was added in Mac OS X Server 10.6.[20]

iCal Server

iCal Server is the first commercial calendar server to have implemented the CalDAV standard, built on top of WebDAV. iCal Server was added in Mac OS X Server 10.5, and was also released under the open-source Apache License 2.0 as Darwin Calendar Server.[20]

The server, named "caldavd", is a daemon background service. It has been ported to non-Apple computer platforms. It is currently possible to install it on FreeBSD and several flavours of Linux. The server uses an SQL database for storage of calendar data.

iChat Server

iChat Server is an XMPP server that was added in Mac OS X Server 10.4, and was upgraded to version 2 with the release of Mac OS X 10.5 Server in October 2007.[21] iChat Server was originally based on jabberd 1.4.3 and is named after Apple's iChat online chat client software.[22] Version 2 of the software is based on jabberd2 2.0s9 and supports server federation,[23] which allows chat clients to talk directly with other systems that support XMPP. It also supports server-based chat archiving.[24]

Wiki Server

Wiki Server was a set of services which have shipped with all versions of Mac OS X Server since v10.5 until macOS High Sierra. Mac OS X Server includes web-based Wiki, Weblog, Calendaring, and Contact services. Additionally, it includes a Cocoa application called Directory which allows directory viewing as well as enabling of group services.

Server 5.7.1, the version aligned with macOS 10.14 and released on September 30, 2018, removed the Wiki Server functionality from


On April 21, 2022, Apple announced that they have discontinued macOS Server and that the most popular features (Caching Server, File Sharing Server, and Time Machine Server) are already bundled with every copy of macOS High Sierra and later, so customers will still have access to them. Existing macOS Server customers can still download and use the app with macOS Monterey.[2]

Technical specifications


  1. ^ "Mac OS X Version 10.6 on Intel-based Macintosh computers". The Open Group. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "About macOS Server 5.7.1 and later". Apple. Apple. May 12, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Apple - macOS Server - Read the technical specifications". Apple Inc. Archived from the original on November 14, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  4. ^ "Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard - UNIX". Apple. Archived from the original on June 9, 2011. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  5. ^ "OS X Server: Admin tools compatibility information". Apple Inc. July 25, 2012. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  6. ^ "Major Mac OS X Server v10.1 Update Now Available". Apple Newsroom. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  7. ^ "Apple - Mac OS X Server - Collaboration Services". Archived from the original on August 13, 2006. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  8. ^ "Apple Previews Mac OS X Server "Tiger"". Apple Newsroom. June 28, 2004. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  9. ^ a b c In depth with Lion OS X Server – Anandtech, August 2, 2011
  10. ^ "10.5: Enable full RADIUS support on OS X Server". Mac OS X Hints. Archived from the original on September 18, 2009.
  11. ^ David (August 7, 2006), "Ruby on Rails will ship with OS X 10.5 (Leopard)",
  12. ^ "Apple - Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard - 64-bit Computing". Archived from the original on June 8, 2011. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
  13. ^ "Apple Releases Developer Preview of Mac OS X Lion" (Press release). Apple. February 24, 2011. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ Apple Inc. (November 15, 2011). "OS X Lion Server - Technical Specifications". Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  16. ^ Pearce, Rohan (March 28, 2013). "Dead database walking: MySQL's creator on why the future belongs to MariaDB". Computerworld. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  17. ^ "OS X Server" (PDF). Apple Inc. June 2012. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 19, 2012. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  18. ^ Andrew Cunningham (July 29, 2012). "Server, simplified: A power user's guide to OS X Server". Ars Technica. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  19. ^ "Apple Unveils New Xserve RAID Storage System" (Press release). Apple. January 6, 2004.
  20. ^ a b c Dilger, Daniel Eran (November 2009). Snow Leopard Server. Wiley. ISBN 9780470521311.
  21. ^ Leopard features
  22. ^ jabberd14 copyright and version number from source
  23. ^ jabberd2 copyright and version number from source
  24. ^ Inside Apple's Leopard Server OS on InformationWeek, March 27, 2007.
  25. ^ Schellworth, Ph. "osx:ipfailover". Archived from the original on March 11, 2016. Retrieved September 11, 2014.