With every new major version of macOS comes a new codename. Since 2013, versions of macOS have been named after beautiful places in California. So far, we’ve had: Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, and Big Sur. It’s fun to speculate what upcoming versions might be called, but Apple has quietly and consistently left a trail of breadcrumbs that make it easier to decipher what a release could be named. Over the past year, Apple has renewed and abandoned a few trademarks that might hint at what macOS 12 will be called.

First and foremost, Apple trademarked several names around 2013 and 2014 using shell corporations when it first started using places in California for macOS. Yosemite, Sierra, El Cap, and Big Sur were all included in that same batch of trademarks. Names like ‘Diablo,’ ‘Condor,’ ‘Tiburon,’ ‘Farallon,’ ‘Miramar,’ ‘Rincon,’ ‘Pacific,’ ‘Redwood,’ ‘Shasta,’ ‘Grizzly,’ ‘Skyline,’ and ‘Redtail‘ were all included as well but have seemingly been abandoned. Skyline was most recently abandoned on April 26.

That leaves two possible names. Both of which have been recently renewed by Apple for use in computer operating systems categories. Those two names are ‘Monterey’ and ‘Mammoth.’ Let’s start with Mammoth.

Mammoth was actually just renewed by Apple on April 29 of this year. It’s the most up-to-date name in Apple’s portfolio. Mammoth would more than likely be used to represent Mammoth Lakes, California. Mammoth Lakes is a ski resort town situated near a beautiful lake in the Sierra mountains, not far from Yosemite. It would make a great name for a massive release of macOS.

Monterey was renewed on December 29, 2020 with an extension granted for the trademark. Back in February, I speculated that Monterey could be the name for the next version of macOS for a few reasons. The first being that Big Sur exists within Monterey. Apple likes to theme refinement releases together, like with Sierra and High Sierra or Yosemite and El Capitan. Monterey would be a perfect name for a successor to Big Sur that focuses on refining the major changes made last year.

Apple has also hinted at the Monterey name in previous WWDC presentations as it’s done for other locations. While watching WWDC 2015, I noticed that Craig Federighi plans a trip to Monterey and Big Sur during a demo of iPad multitasking. Big Sur, of course, ended up being the name of last year’s major macOS release. The connection that Monterey has with Big Sur is unquestionable.

Ultimately, if it really came down to these two names internally, they likely chose one or the other based on the size of the release. If it’s a small, refinements-focused update, I would expect it to be called Monterey. If it’s a major update to keep up the momentum from Big Sur, the Mammoth name would fit pretty perfectly.

What do you think about these names? What do you think Apple will name the next version of macOS? Let us know in the comments below.

Credit: Mammoth image (Mick Haupt) + Monterey image (Craig Melville)

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