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A visual history of Apple splash screens
Apple computers are blazing fast these days. But not too long ago, it’d take forever for these powerful desktops to get started, leaving you to anxiously sit through a deluge of startup screens and loading bars.
Here at TechRepublic, we thought it’d be a fun to reminisce about the loading screens of Mac days gone by. Whether you were an iMac faithful, or simply used a IIGS to play Oregon Trail in elementary school, these simple splash screens will fill you with a warm sense of digital nostalgia.
And if you’re a PC loyalist? That’s cool — we have a companion Windows splash screen gallery just for you.
Apple Pascal (1979)
Apple Pascal was first released to the public in August 1979.
Apple III SOS 1.3 (1982)
The Sophisticated Operating System (SOS) was developed for the Apple III computer. It was first released in October 1980 (and updated through November 1982).
Apple Lisa OS 1.0 (1983)
The Apple Lisa, released on January 19, 1983, was one of the first personal computers with a graphical user interface.
Mac OS System 1.0 (1984)
Mac OS System 1.0, the operating system for the original Macintosh, was released on January 24, 1984.
The desktop-based OS was the first to introduce the popular “Happy Mac” icon.
Apple II ProDOS 16 (1986)
ProDOS 16, first released in September 1986, was the first operating system for the Apple IIGS computer.
Mac OS System 3.0 (1986)
Mac OS System 3.0 was introduced with the Mac Plus computer in January 1986.
GS/OS 5.0.4 (1991)
The Apple IIGS computer showed this loading screen following the release of Apple IIGS System Software 4.0 (GS/OS) in September 1988.
This screenshot was taken of GS/OS System 5.0.4, which was released in February 1991.
GS/OS 6.0.1 (1993)
The final GS/OS System update, 6.0.1, arrived in March 1993.
Mac OS System 7.5.3 (1996)
The System 7 operating system took on the new name “Mac OS” during the release of version 7.5.1.
Mac OS 7.5.3, shown here, was released for the Power Mac 6200 on January 1, 1996.
Mac OS 8.0 (1997)
Mac OS 8, the first operating system of the new Steve Jobs era at Apple, was released on July 26, 1997.
Apple Rhapsody Developer Release 2 (1998)
Rhapsody was an unreleased-to-the-general-public OS developed by Apple between 1997 and May 1998.
The operating system would become Mac OS X Server 1.0 in 1999.
Mac OS 9.0 (1999)
Mac OS 9 was released on October 23, 1999.
Mac OS 9.2 (2001)
Mac OS 9.2, built into Power Mac G4 computers, was released on January 9, 2001.
Mac OS X 10.1, first screen (2001)
Mac OS X 10.1, better known as Puma, was released on September 25, 2001 as a free update.
Happy Mac just got colorful!
Mac OS X 10.1, second screen (2001)
Mac OS X 10.1 also featured this updated loading screen.
Apple OS X Jaguar (2002)
OS X Jaguar (10.2) is the first Apple OS to use the iconic “grey Apple” splash.
The operating system was released to manufacturing on August 24, 2002.
Mac OS X Panther (2003)
Mac OS X Panther (10.3) was released on October 24, 2003.
Thanks for looking!
And … that’s it! With computer processor speeds ever increasing, Apple eliminated its traditional loading screen with Mac OS X 10.5.5.
A special thanks to Steven Weyhrich, owner of Apple II History and author of Sophistication & Simplicity, The Life and Times of the Apple II Computer, for graciously sharing his older Apple screenshots with us. Thanks, too, to GUIdebookgallery.org‘s Marcin Wichary for graciously sharing from his excellent GUI screenshot archive with us.
For more computing nostalgia here at TechRepublic, be sure to check out our Visual History: Windows splash screens from 1.01 to 10 gallery.