Is there any way to tell apart macOS versions by quick or close inspection of the login screen or lock screen?

Knowing this would speed up macOS identification if (for example, only High Sierra shows the day of the week top right or the change user icon is rendered differently)

Are there any major / minor builds of macOS that have telltale clues as to what OS is running looking at the lock screens of macOS?

  • How precisely do you need to perform a repair when you lack a log in? Seems sketchy, but perhaps you can edit what you’re going to do with this information to clarify things and help us help you. Please don’t think I’m calling you sketchy, but my understanding of the scenario is thusly characterized.
    – bmike
    Jul 29, 2018 at 0:42
  • I'm not asking for advice on how to properly repair macs, why ask unnecessary or judgmental questions? Jul 29, 2018 at 1:44
  • Comments are purely to clarify what you’re asking. No need to edit your question - I didn’t vote to close it, just thought that perhaps you wanted to explain a bit more as someone who might want to try an answer if I understood what “repair center” meant - doubly so if you’re not actually seeking advice on running a repair center.
    – bmike
    Jul 29, 2018 at 1:49
  • just to satisfy your curiosity: if only High Sierra shows the day of the week top right or the change user icon is slightly different and I verify that this can't be changed unless with a serious hack, I may use that. Now I'll head for my external test drives and choose the Sierra or the High Sierra APFS one for further testing Jul 29, 2018 at 10:19
  • I don't intend to embarrass you, but I get annoyed when I ask something and I'm answered with judgmental questions. I'm very grateful with people who answer, whether right or wrong Jul 29, 2018 at 10:26

1 Answer 1


Until 10.10, there was a textured background for the login screen. 10.10-10.11 was flat grey I believe, then 10.12 on showed a blurred background image.

  • 1
    Can you add screenshots? Jul 30, 2018 at 11:38
  • Thank you for your answer. I'll try to get some time to figure this myself, there maybe some more reliable difference that cannot be changed by changing settings: slightly different icon, date showing up or not up right. Jul 31, 2018 at 20:43

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