Ranking the names of Apple’s operating systems from worst to best

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It’s not often Apple launches an entirely new operating system, but this year (or potentially the next) the company will do just that. Why? Because that’s when it’s long-awaited mixed reality headset to be released. Until recently, the name of this operating system (or OS) was but a rumor. No longer! As reported by 9to5Mac, several developers found reference to something called “realityOS” in App Store logs. Comrades, the cat’s out of the bag: we now know what Apple is (probably) going to call its mixed-reality software. Truly, what a time to be alive. And this new information means one thing and one thing only: it’s time to rank the names of Apple’s operating systems from worst to best.


I’ve needed to get this off my chest for days now: realityOS is a terrible name. At last, I can breathe. I’ve been unable to find anything redemptive about it. The word is clumsy and clunky. Lame, even. Hell, six syllables are far too many for an operating system. The other option floating around is even worse: rOS. Ugh. It looks and sounds vile. Plus, I prefer not to be reminded of Friends every time I download a virtual reality app. Honestly? I see where Apple’s coming from with realityOS, but there must be a better option than this. Maybe something like xrOS?visualOS?virtualOS? They’re not great, but they are better. To make matters even worse, realityOS implies that the company’s headset will be called Apple Reality. I can’t think of many things more dystopian-sounding than that.


There’s nothing inherently wrong with iPadOS, but there’s nothing right with it either. For a company as generally suave and slick as Apple, iPadOS is unsophisticated. It feels like turning up to an important meeting in a fourth-hand, Profanity stained tracksuit. Possibly, it’s because the “i” naming system seems obsolete. Maybe it’s because no one calls tablets “pads.”

Or maybe it’s because iPadOS is the only Apple operating system with a capital letter outside “OS.” That fact makes the order loving part of my brain agitated. Apple should just suck it up and call this tabletOS.


Ahh, at last. We’re finally into the good names of operating systems. This was a tough one to put forth. Genuinely, watchOS is a decent name. It’s satisfying to say aloud and has decent aesthetics. The reason it’s in this position is all about clarity. What, in this instance, does “watch” actually mean? Is it a TV? Another display? Or, as it is, a watch. I can’t be too critical, though. The other options I can think of (clockOS, wristOS, strapOS) aren’t exactly world-beaters. So, watchOS? You’re a-okay with me.


Just solid. Solid as all hell. I put it above watchOS because it sounds more official when I say it out loud. The reason it’s not rated higher is that it’s an operating system for a box that plugs into your TV, rather than a TV itself. But if Apple ever gets around to releasing an actual television, tvOS will be rocketing up this list. 


I said earlier that I’m not a fan of the “i” naming system, but here’s iOS? In the number two spot?? On Apple’s best named operating systems??? Here’s my official response: whatever. That’s your problem, not mine. There’s a glorious simplicity to iOS that’s impossible not to respect. No, it doesn’t have the descriptive element of the other operating systems, but — and listen closely — it doesn’t need to. To put it plainly, iOS is iconic. You can’t vote against that.


Gorgeous. Resplendent. Did it just look right, you know? It’s even more impressive that Apple shifted from OS X to macOS without it ever feeling unnatural. That’s a testament to the strength of the name right there. There’s nothing else macOS could be. It is Apple. And it’s glorious. Without a shadow of a doubt, it’s the best-named Apple operating system.

Friends! There we have it. The only ranking you’ll ever need on what Apple’s best-named operating systems are.

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