In trying to sort out what Mac hardware supported which operating systems and what new features, it became useful to create a chart to help visualize it. Since I didn't have a current copy of OmniGraffle handy at the time, I made a 1920×1080 slide in Keynote! That was 2012; I have regularly updated it since then.
Macs that can run macOS Mojave (10.14) and Catalina (10.15) are shown with black text descriptions; Macs that can not upgrade past macOS High Sierra (10.13) are shown with brown text; Macs whose terminal OS is El Capitan (10.11) are shown with green text (you'll need to check the second page to find those). You can use the icons along the top (placed chronologically) to see what the minimum version of macOS is that you can use on each Mac (generally, the one that it shipped with). The chart also marks the earliest machines in each line that support AirDrop, AirPlay Mirroring, Bluetooth 4.0, Handoff/Instant Hotspot, and 10-bit Colour (a.k.a. Deep Color, 1 Billion Colours). If you need specific details, may I suggest Mactracker (another Made in Canada/Alberta product!). Note that Education-only models do not appear in the chart. The Xserve line is similarly omitted.
For a full-size view of the chart and additional pages with a Legend and Mac models back to 2006, download the PDF version.
Updated 2019-12-11 to add the new Mac Pro. Moved to Anthony Reimer’s Mac Labs Blog 2020-01-01.
Originally posted and maintained on the University of Calgary Integrated Arts Media Labs web site.