Apple Desktop

Why Did Apple Name The New macOS “Sierra”?

Apple’s newest OS X (now “macOS”) is called “Sierra”. If you’re anything like me, you’re curious about why it was named so. We discuss that after the jump.

Ever since “Mac OS” was renamed to “Mac OS X” in early 2000s, Apple has been giving each new release a particular name. Starting from Cheetah with OS X 10.0, Apple used Mountain Lion up till OS X 10.8. After OS X 10.9, however, Apple began to name each release after famous landmarks and monuments in Califronia – the company’s home-ground.

So, in recent times we’ve seen OS X 10.9 named after “Mavericks” – a popular surfing location; OS X 10.10 named after Yosemite National Park; OS X 10.11 after a popular vertical rock formation within Yosemite, and now macOS 10.12 “Sierra”.

What is macOS 10.12 Sierra named after?

Well, I did a little research and it has made me believe macOS “Sierra” is named after the beautiful Sierra County in California. Just look at it:

Sierra County California

Breathtaking, isn’t it?

Here’s where Sierra County is located within California state:

Sierra County Map in California

Sierra County is the second smallest county in California, with a population of just over 3,000 people.

It’s a fairly minor point, but I love how I’m able to learn about California by just looking up why Apple named a particular release of OS X. And since “places in California” is a much larger list than “big cats”, one can expect Apple to continue this naming scheme for our entire lives if they want to (and if they last that long, anyway).

So there you have it. macOS Sierra is named after Sierra County. You can learn more about said county in the article on Wikipedia.

What’s next, Apple? macOS Tahoe? macOS Plumas? These are two national parks which have some parts within Sierra. It would make sense if the next macOS were an incremental upgrade.

  • JackThomasAZ

    Actually, Sierra is named for the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The default wallpaper is Lone Pine Peak in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas. A second wallpaper included with macOS Sierra is of Mt. Whitney, the tallest peak in the contiguous United States, also located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

  • Morgan Guest

    The picture you included is also not sierra county. It is Kearsarge pass in the eastern sierra. Inyo County