High Sierra — Mac’s first full OS upgrade since Snow Leopard in 2009 — has finally been released as public beta. But users who expect shiny new features might feel slightly disappointed as the new OS’ most useful updates are actually under the hood. To that end, let’s take a look at what’s new in macOS High Sierra.
Photos gets the most visual upgrade designed to improve user experience especially for those with numerous pictures to browse through. The toolbar has been revamped and is now customizable, allowing you to re-order sections. Media is now organized by content type, like Bursts, Live Photos, Panoramas and more.
Apple has also brought in a new editing tool with plenty of filters and basic photo-editing features like Curves, a color adjusting tool, and Selective Color, a dropper tool that allows you to choose a certain color and manipulate it according to its hue, saturation, etc. What’s more, if you’re already using other photo-editing software like Photoshop or Pixelmator, you’ll now be able to open images on those programs directly through Photos. No more going back and forth over importing images.
High Sierra’s new editing tools will also be available in the iPhone’s Live Photo feature, allowing you to crop and adjust the color of animated images in the toolbar.
Safari’s settings now feature a Website pane that allows you to customize the way you interact with different sites. You can make a site always appear in Reader Mode, shut off autoplay, apply content blockers, and more.
But the real excitement comes with Intelligent Tracking Prevention, a new feature that uses machine learning to remove cross-site tracking. This is ideal for sites with annoying tracking tendencies and eliminates things like advertising cookies, so the things you shopped for don’t follow you to every site you visit.
Useful contextual information, however, is saved for pages you actually visit so not all will be lost. This feature is activated by default but you can disable it in Safari’s settings.
New file system
Introduced at the last WWDC, Apple’s new file system, known as Apple File System (APFS), is finally seeing the light of day with High Sierra. Apple claims that APFS is a crucial component in making High Sierra its fastest operating system ever.
What’s so special about APFS? Speed, efficiency, and security. Copying large files now runs almost instantly on Apple File, plus it supports far more files than ever, letting you put nine quintillion of them onto a single volume. It’s also backwards compatible with all of your current formatted drives and features multikey encryption that integrates with all of your Apple devices.
Be warned that installation could take some time. This is because High Sierra is converting your boot drive to support the new file system. While Apple is confident that all your files will be intact, we recommend you conduct a full system backup prior to installation just to be on the safe side.
Other minor upgrades
- Siri: You can expect a new voice for Siri just in time for the arrival of Apple’s HomePod, the company’s take on smart home assistants.
- Metal 2: Apple’s graphics API gets VR and external GPUs support.
- Mail: Messages are compressed differently to ensure they use up to 35 percent less space than before.
- Spotlight: Finder’s built-in search now features flight tracking (also added to Safari). Just type in a flight number and it will provide relevant information like status, delays, gates, etc.
- FaceTime: You can now snap a Live Photo-style moving screenshot of your conversation with another person while FaceTiming.
- Messages: Conversations are now automatically stored in iCloud to improve syncing across Apple devices and free up local storage space.
While macOS High Sierra might not be the most exciting upgrade in Apple history, it’s an imperative one focused on refining an existing product, one that builds a solid foundation for Apple’s future technology. If you’d like to know more about other Apple products and how they can drive value for your business, just give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.