Last Updated: January 22, 2018
· kevinelliott

Determine OS X version from the command line

There are a few ways to determine what version of OSX you are on.

In the GUI, you can easily click the Apple menu () at the top left of your screen, and choose About This Mac. The version of OS X will be printed underneath the large bold Mac OS X title. Clicking on the Version XYZ text will reveal the Build number.

If you're writing a script though, you may wish to access this programmatically. There are several ways:

System Profiler

1.9.2 kevin-macbookpro:~ $ system_profiler SPSoftwareDataType

System Software Overview:

  System Version: Mac OS X 10.7.4 (11E53)
  Kernel Version: Darwin 11.4.0
  Boot Volume: San Francisco
  Boot Mode: Normal
  Computer Name: Kevin Elliott’s MacBook Pro
  User Name: Kevin Elliott (kevin)
  Secure Virtual Memory: Enabled
  64-bit Kernel and Extensions: Yes
  Time since boot: 1 day12:47


1.9.2 kevin-macbookpro:~ $ sw_vers
ProductName:    Mac OS X
ProductVersion: 10.7.4
BuildVersion:   11E53

Mac OS X user defaults system

1.9.2 kevin-macbookpro:~ $ defaults read loginwindow SystemVersionStampAsString

There are further options but they are not as optimized and simple to use. These should be sufficient!

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Thank you!

over 1 year ago ·