The Best of Low End Mac

The Best of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger

Last revised 2012.08.29

Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger was released on April 29, 2005, went through 12 revisions before it was replaced by OS X 10.5 Leopard on October 26, 2007 - two-and-a-half years (almost 30 months to the day) later. Many consider Tiger a high point because of the wide range of hardware it supports and its length of time on the market, which we will probably never see matched with Apple moving toward an annual update cycle.

Tiger would become the first version of OS X to support Intel Macs when they began to ship in January 2006. The PowerPC and Intel versions of Tiger were maintained in parallel, and you can't boot a Mac from a version of Tiger made for the other hardware architecture. Because most Intel Mac users have since moved on to OS X 10.5 and beyond, we focus primarily on the PowerPC version of Tiger on this page.

The best reasons for using Tiger are its support for Classic Mode, which allows you to run Mac OS 9.2.2 within OS X, providing access to a wide range of vintage software (OS X 10.5 Leopard dropped support for Classic Mode) and because your Mac - slower G4s and any G3s - cannot run anything newer.

As of mid 2012, Apple no longer provides security updates, yet some antivirus apps are still available for Tiger. Flash is no longer being updated for PowerPC Macs, but there's a hack that lets Flash 10 run most Flash 11 apps. Browsers are for the most part getting left behind, but TenFourFox remains in development, bringing the power of Firefox 10 to PowerPC Macs.

Apple's official hardware requirements for Tiger are a G3 CPU, 256 MB of system memory, 3 GB of available hard drive space, an optical drive that supports DVDs, and a built-in FireWire port, although it can be run on the 350 MHz iMac, which does not have FireWire. We strongly recommend more than 256 MB of memory - at least 512 MB if your Mac supports it.

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