How do I check which version of operating system is currently installed?

macOS Command Line Interface

There’s a simple built-in tool to discover the current version of macOS1 from the command line: sw_vers

The result will look something like this:

$ sw_vers ProductName: Mac OS X ProductVersion: 10.6.4 BuildVersion: 10F569

If you would like to see the OS version, there's a flag for that:

$ sw_vers -productVersion 10.6.4


  1. Select the Apple Logo (Menu) in the far left corner of the top panel on the desktop.
  2. Select About this Mac.

Linux (Debian/Ubuntu)

From a Debian Linux-based OS, like Ubuntu, two commands will tell you about your system:

uname -a and cat /etc/lsb-release

Here’s what the latter command might output:

$ cat /etc/lsb-release DISTRIB_ID=Ubuntu DISTRIB_RELEASE=15.04 DISTRIB_CODENAME=vivid DISTRIB_DESCRIPTION="Ubuntu 15.04"

1. macOS may be interchangeable with OS X, the name used for previous versions of Apple's Mac operating system.

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