Reviews

Sonoma vs Ventura

macOS Ventura and Sonoma have pretty identical interfaces, which is unsurprising given that Apple made a huge update to its software with Ventura in September 2022. But before you decide that it’s not worth updating to Sonoma, I must stress that there are actually a lot of differences between the two.

 

One of the most interesting distinctions between Sonoma and Ventura is the ability to put widgets on your desktop. While you could previously access widgets by clicking on the time and date at the top of your screen, this is no longer necessary.

 

Another intriguing difference between the two macOS versions is that you can access iPhone widgets on your Mac. All you have to do is sign in with the same Apple ID on both devices and enable Continuity. Video conferencing is also significantly different in Sonoma compared to Ventura.

 

But besides these features, there are plenty of other reasons to consider upgrading your computer software. In this complete Sonoma vs. Ventura guide, I’ll highlight how the two compare in RAM usage, battery life, and much more. My promise is that by the end of this guide, you have a complete understanding of how different the two are.

Before we begin:

 

When preparing your Mac for a new update, it’s essential that you have enough space on your device. We’ll often accumulate files and folders without realizing it. Because these can consume significant storage when they add up, our computers can often take longer to download new software. Even worse, you may find that you don’t have enough space to upgrade macOS.

 

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Follow these instructions to use Safe Cleanup:

  1. Download MacKeeper.
  2. Go to Cleaning > Safe Cleanup in the left-hand toolbar.
  3. When Safe Cleanup appears on your screen, select Start Scan at the bottom of the window.
  4. Wait for Safe Cleanup to scan your device. When you see the results, tick the boxes next to Logs, Caches, and anything else you want to clear.
  5. Press Clean Junk Files when you’re ready to clean up your Mac.
  6. Select Empty Trash when the pop-up window appears. You’ll only see this window if you’ve opted to clear your Trash folder.

Differences between macOS Sonoma and Ventura

macOS Sonoma and Ventura have slight differences in security features, speed, native Apple app features, battery life, and a handful of other computer tools and processes.

 

I’ll compare macOS Ventura vs. Sonoma in the following areas:

  1. Compatibility
  2. General performance
  3. Widgets
  4. Screensavers
  5. Video conferencing
  6. Safari
  7. Web apps
  8. Security
  9. Accessibility
  10. Additional features (e.g. games and keyboard)

Let’s now have a more detailed look at the key differences to consider when switching from Ventura to Sonoma.

1. Compatibility

Before upgrading from Ventura to Sonoma, you should first find out whether your computer is even compatible with the latter. Ventura is available on some older devices that you can’t get Sonoma on.

 

Here’s a table outlining all the devices that Sonoma and Ventura are compatible on:

macOS VenturamacOS Sonoma
iMac Pro and MacBook (2017)iMac Pro (2017)
iMac and MacBook Pro (2017 and later)MacBook Pro (2018 and later)
MacBook Air and Mac Mini (2018 and later)MacBook Air (2018 and later)
Mac Studio (all)Mac Studio (all)
Mac Pro (2019 and later)Mac Pro and iMac  (2019 and later)

Note from our experts: 

 

Besides comparing Sonoma and Ventura, it’s also worth looking at other macOS versions. For example, some users might want to use Big Sur or Catalina if their devices can handle these systems.

2. General performance

Much of your macOS performance will depend on whether you have an Intel, M1, or M2 Mac. The latter two are much more powerful.

 

Nonetheless, while functionality typically depends on your device, I’ll break down some of the core differences in the following sections.

2.1 Battery life

The battery life in Sonoma or Ventura will depend on your device. However, one thing worth keeping in mind is that I’ve noticed several battery issues in Sonoma. While I had almost no problems with my computer battery in Ventura, I began experiencing problems with my device staying on charge as soon as I upgraded to Sonoma.

 

Your battery life will depend on the Mac you have, how much storage your device has, and what you use your computer for. Minus the problems I’ve mentioned, there isn’t a huge difference in battery life between the two software versions.

2.2 Speed

Like battery life, speed will depend more on your individual device than the software you use. But surprisingly, I’ve noticed that my MacBook Pro crashes much more in Sonoma than I experienced with Ventura. However, I also now use software that requires more RAM (e.g. Adobe Lightroom), which is arguably the biggest reason why.

 

Other users have complained about bugs in Sonoma that didn’t exist before, and the extra features may also impact your computer performance. But most of the time, how quickly your software runs will depend on factors such as how much RAM you have.

2.3 RAM usage

Many users have noticed that Sonoma uses much more RAM than Ventura or many previous macOS versions. While Ventura used just over 3GB in many cases, Sonoma has consumed well over 4GB in some instances. I use a MacBook Pro with 8GB RAM, and I’ve noticed significantly higher consumption compared to Ventura.

 

Again, RAM usage will likely vary from user to user. I suggest only having the essential apps and programs on your device to keep things running more smoothly. Understanding how to speed up macOS Ventura is also a good idea if you’re having problems running your device on that software.

3. Widgets

In macOS Sonoma, you can put widgets on your home screen. So, when performing Sonoma vs. Ventura comparisons, this is a crucial point to consider. You can also find widgets in the Notification Center.

As I mentioned in the intro, Apple made significant changes to its widgets with the launch of Sonoma. So, if this is a big deal for you, I highly recommend updating your software.

 

Here’s a list of the different widgets you can get in both OS versions:

macOS VenturamacOS Sonoma
Notification Center widgetsOn-screen and Notification Center widgets
Customize widgets directly on your MacContinuity widget syncing from iOS and customize on your Mac
Unable to fade widgetsWidgets fade in the background

4. Screensavers

Sonoma has a bigger selection of screensavers than Ventura, and you can access all the screensavers launched with Ventura in Sonoma (as well as Monterey). Sonoma has several new screensavers from locations around the world, including San Francisco and Patagonia. You’ll find several animated screensavers in Ventura.

In macOS Sonoma, you can access the main themed wallpapers in Monterey and Ventura. If you want to make your computer look even more interesting, you can also pick several location and animated wallpapers.

5. Video conferencing tools

Sonoma is much more advanced than Ventura with video conferencing tools. For example, you can use a Presenter Overlay to explain what you’re trying to show while still remaining on the screen. Moreover, you can use a shared screen floating feature if you’d like to be a bit more low-key.

 

Here’s a list of the features you can get in Sonoma and Ventura:

FeaturemacOS VenturamacOS Sonoma
Presenter overlay
Multi-app screen sharing
Hand reactions
Automatic recentering
Continuity Camera

6. Safari

Safari has several helpful features in Sonoma and Ventura, but Apple introduced a couple of handy tools that are available in Sonoma but not in Ventura. For example, in Sonoma, you can create Safari profiles for different types of browsing.

 

Below, I’ve summed up how Sonoma and Ventura differ in Safari updates:

FeaturemacOS VenturamacOS Sonoma
Profile creation
Use Safari as a web app
Passkeys
Shared group tabs
Building bookmark lists

Hint from our team: 

 

If you’ve decided that you want to update to macOS Sonoma, the process is pretty straightforward. Just follow this full guide on how to update your MacBook.

7. Web apps

In macOS Sonoma, you can add sites as web apps. However, Apple only introduced this feature in September 2023. So, it isn’t available in Ventura.

 

Here’s how to add a Safari page as a web app:

  1. Go to the website you want to add as a web app.
  2. Select File.
  3. Tap Add to Dock when the dropdown menu appears.
In macOS Sonoma, you can add pages as web apps. All you have to do is go to File > Add to Dock in Safari after selecting the page that you'd like to add.

8. Security

Ventura and Sonoma both received several security updates, and I’d recommend upgrading your software for continued protection alone. After launching Sonoma, Apple introduced a sensitive content warning in Messages and an expanded version of Lockdown Mode. Besides new keychain features, Ventura also has a new feature where Gatekeeper can ensure that notarized apps are still in their original and untempered condition.

9. Accessibility

Sonoma added the option for users to set up custom app font sizes, and it’s also possible to set up custom zooming levels for all of your monitors. Moreover, you can get improved speech support with Sonoma. Meanwhile, Ventura lets you play background sounds and increased VoiceOver language assistance. All of Ventura’s accessibility features are also available in Sonoma.

10. Other features

Now, let’s look at core features when picking Sonoma or Ventura, but first you should also think about other tools that may enhance your quality of life. For example, Sonoma and Ventura differ in terms of Messages, Notes, and other apps and features.

10.1 Game Mode

One key Sonoma vs. Ventura difference is the ability to play games on your device in Game Mode. This feature, which you can control via the controller icon, puts your device in full screen mode.

Apple released a new Game Mode in macOS Sonoma that was designed to help your computer run more optimally while you’re playing games. When this feature is on, the game will consume your entire screen. You can switch the setting off and on whenever you’re playing any of your favorite titles.

 

As this feature was only introduced with Sonoma, you should consider upgrading your software if you regularly play different games on your device.

10.2 Messages

Apple introduced a number of changes to the Messages app with Ventura. By far, the biggest was the ability to edit messages, meaning that you no longer have to correct yourself when you notice a typo in your correspondence.

 

Another great feature introduced in Ventura was the ability to unsend messages within certain timeframes. SharePlay, meanwhile, has been in Messages since 2022, and all of these are also available in Sonoma.

 

Sonoma has a couple of extra features that you won’t find in Ventura, though. For example, you can go to the first unread message in each of your conversations if you receive texts while away from your computer. To get this feature, you need at least macOS 14.2. You also have access to other features like location requesting and adding inline to your messages.

10.3 Notes and PDFs

One of the biggest differences between Sonoma and Ventura is that if you use Ventura, you can store your notes as PDFs. You also have access to an autofill feature for PDFs, meaning that you won’t have to manually fill out parts of your document that would’ve previously required this.

 

In macOS Ventura, you can use passwords to lock sensitive notes; this tool is also available in Sonoma. Moreover, you can collaborate more effectively with others in both apps. Besides sending people your notes, you can set editing permissions if you want them to contribute.

10.4 Keyboard

One Sonoma’s perk that isn’t available in Ventura is a better autocorrect feature. If you type a lot, you’ll find this particularly helpful. I have to say from personal experience that it takes time for the AI to get used to how you type. For this reason, I’d recommend downloading Grammarly because it’s much more reliable.

Is macOS Sonoma or Ventura better?

While Sonoma does have more features, I think that Ventura was still one of the best macOS versions. The software didn’t have as many bugs and performed better in general.

 

However, whether you use Ventura or Sonoma, the state of your device will affect how your software works. So, keeping your device in tip-top condition—which is more than feasible with MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup tool—will offer a better experience on both.

 

Here’s how to use MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup solution:

  1. Download MacKeeper.
  2. Go to Cleaning > Safe Cleanup.
  3. Tap Start Scan and wait for your results to return.
  4. Tick the boxes next to every item you’d like to delete.
  5. Hit Clean Junk Files at the bottom of your screen. If you opted to empty your Trash, make sure you confirm your decision when you see the pop-up window.
Keep your Mac performing as it should with MacKeeper's Safe Cleanup tool, which quickly removes duplicates. Select Cleaning > Safe Cleanup, before ticking all of the categories and tapping Clean Junk Files.
Step 1. Cleaning > Safe Cleanup > tick the boxes and select Clean Junk Files
If you've opted to empty your Trash folder, you'll see a pop-up window asking you to confirm your decision. To do this, simply select the Empty Trash option. Then, all of your files will clear.
Step 2. Select Empty Trash (if applicable)

Ventura vs Sonoma comparison FAQ

1. What is different about macOS Sonoma?

macOS Sonoma has a handful of features that you won’t find in Ventura, such as sensitive content warnings and improved autocorrection. You can also use desktop widgets in Sonoma, which isn’t possible in Ventura, along with adding the widgets already on your iPhone.

2. Should I upgrade from Ventura to Sonoma?

You should upgrade to Sonoma if you want to use the features that aren’t available in Ventura, but there are other benefits as well. For example, you’ll get the latest macOS security features—and this will help you keep your device protected.

3. Is Sonoma or Ventura newer?

Sonoma is newer than Ventura. Sonoma was released in late September 2023, and it was the next version of macOS after Ventura. Apple launched Ventura in September 2022, and it was one of the biggest macOS updates ever. Sonoma will be replaced in September 2024; Apple launches new software each fall.

4. Is macOS Sonoma better than Ventura?

Sonoma has all the same features as Ventura, plus some new tools that you can’t get in the previous version of macOS. However, Sonoma has issues that you need to consider—such as problems with battery life. I’d recommend upgrading your software for security reasons, but your device may take time to adapt.

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