Why Was the Mac OS Server Discontinued?

As of April 21, 2022, the Mac OS server was officially discontinued. This transition had been in the works for a few years leading up to 2022 when Mac finally pulled the final plug on the Mac OS server. 

The Mac OS server was a series of Unix-based server operating systems. It was developed by Apple and it shared common code features with other Mac OS products, but it included special server-specific features and code. The Mac OS server was specifically designed to support small-medium-sized networks and offered advanced tools for sharing, web hosting, email hosting, and more. The Mac OS server was originally launched on March 16, 1999, and at its time, it offered users cutting-edge technology. 

However, despite its promise and potential, Apple eventually decided to stop making and selling the Mac OS server. Why? The reasons behind Apple’s decision to discontinue the server are many and include shifting markets, declining demand, new technology, and focusing on new areas.

Market Shift and Declining Demand

One of the main reasons behind Apple’s decision to discontinue the Mac OS server is thought to be shifts in the market and declining demand for the product. Let’s explore. 

Emergence of Cloud Services

The Mac OS server was launched years ago, first coming onto the market in 1999. Since then, technology has advanced in the form of cloud services and cloud computing. 

Originally businesses and individuals would install the Mac OS server software in the form of an app straight onto their physical computers, however, with the advance of cloud computing, many businesses are now favoring cloud-based server solutions. This means that instead of installing an actual app or relying on a physical server, like some businesses, individuals and companies can now simply use virtual servers. 

While virtual servers are becoming popular, plenty of companies still use physical servers. Servers can run on different operating systems like Windows, Linux, and UNIX. In today’s world, servers fill a variety of roles and are used for many different things. The most common types of servers include application servers, backup servers, database servers, mail servers, proxy servers, remote access servers, storage servers, and web servers. 

As technology has advanced over the years, so has cybercrime and both virtual and physical servers are prone to digital attacks which leads most businesses to opt to install antivirus software to protect them. Techopedia author and technology writer Ilijia Miljkovac explains how to maximize server protection by finding and installing a quality antivirus option to protect from ongoing threats from the internet. 

It’s thought that between 2018 and 2022, Apple weighed its options and ultimately decided that maintaining and updating the Mac OS server for a shrinking user base was not worth it. Cloud servers were becoming more attractive to users during this time, and the Mac OS server, although revolutionary for its time, was no longer the most high-tech option on the market.

Changing Needs of Small and Medium Businesses

Another factor that is thought to have led to the discontinuation of the Mac OS server is the changing needs of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The Mac OS server was created with SMBs in mind and these businesses were the primary users of this server at the time. SMBs like e-commerce sites, physical retail stores, online gaming sites, online casinos and anonymous casinos, and even restaurants all use servers and Mac OS was a popular option for many.

As technology advanced between 1999 and 2022, SMBs started to rely more on cloud-based applications and software. Easy-to-use tools like Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, and cloud-based CRM systems made business operations easier and more user-friendly, and eventually reduced the need for dedicated server hardware and software among these businesses.

Luckily, as consumer demand declined, Apple started to focus on other areas of their own businesses. As such, it was natural for the company to discontinue making the Mac OS server and focus on new areas that were in higher demand and offered more profitability for Apple.

Strategic Realignment

While small to medium-sized businesses started using different options for their server needs, Apple was also starting to shift its focus to other areas. Naturally, this led to a time of strategic realignment within the company. 

Focus on Consumer Products

Apple is known all around the world for developing and creating unique and cutting-edge consumer products and experiences. Apple products like the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and new services like Apple Music and Apple TV + showcase what Apple can create when focused on meeting consumer demand. 

In 1999, creating and offering the Mac OS server aligned with Apple’s mission and goals. However, as time went on, the company decided to switch its focus and hone in on delivering mass-market consumer products. Ultimately, this was a wise decision as Apple has made a name for itself on a global scale as a reliable, high-end company offering tech gadgets and communications devices for all. 

Resource Allocation

When Apple shifted its focus to consumer goods, like phones and tablets, the company was also able to allocate resources accordingly. Because developing and maintaining a server operating system takes up a lot of time and energy, Apple decided it was the right move at the time to stop offering the Mac OS server and instead put that time and energy into creating new innovative consumer goods to sell to consumers. 

User Feedback and Experience

Beyond changes in consumer demands, shifting markets, and reallocating resources, Apple also decided to discontinue its Mac OS server due to user feedback and experience. 

Complexity and User Preferences

While the Mac OS server was innovative for its time, Apple received feedback from some users, especially those without tech backgrounds, that the system was complex and challenging to manage. Many SMBs and individual users preferred simpler, more user-friendly solutions. Thus, when easy-to-use cloud services became available, the Mac OS server lost further appeal to users who had trouble navigating and managing its services. 

Support and Updates

While the Mac OS server was offered from 1999 to 2022, over the years, Apple slowly started to reduce the scope of updates and support for the server. For users, this signaled a gradual phase-out. Active users who relied on the software for vital business functions were not certain how to proceed, with many transitioning to other server options to ensure smooth operations without delay due to a lack of updates. 


While Apple discontinued its Mac OS server in 2022, it does not take away from the fact that the software was a vital tool for countless SMBs between 1999 and 2022. During its height, it supported small and medium-sized enterprises and individuals, giving them easy access to server software. 

Because of changing market trends, a drop in consumer demand, and shifting focus, Apple eventually stopped updating and offering the Mac OS server. For now, Apple continues to offer exciting tech tools and gadgets, like phones, tablets, and watches.