New Features That Will Make OS X El Capitan Worth Downloading

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-06-12
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    New Features That Will Make OS X El Capitan Worth Downloading
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    New Features That Will Make OS X El Capitan Worth Downloading

    By Don Reisinger
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    Split-View Isn't Just a Mac Thing
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    Split-View Isn't Just a Mac Thing

    A major weakness in OS X has been its handling of windows. In current OS X versions, it's often difficult to view two windows or apps at once without changing their size. Perhaps that's why Apple has brought Split View to OS X El Capitan. The feature allows users to have two applications viewable on the same display without any need to resize windows. The display is filled entirely with both apps, maximizing the screen real estate for each.
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    Apple Makes Mission Control Far Better
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    Apple Makes Mission Control Far Better

    Mission Control, the place where Apple users can see everything that's open on the Mac, is getting a facelift in El Capitan. Currently, when users go to Mission Control, they see their windows arranged in no particular order. In El Capitan, Apple has added a feature that places windows in a standard pattern with no stacking, so they can all be seen at the same time. Mission Control also provides more user control over windows, allowing them to drag any window to the top of the screen and place it into a different location for viewing. It's a neat trick that makes arranging windows a bit easier.
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    There's a Simple Way to Find That Elusive Cursor
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    There's a Simple Way to Find That Elusive Cursor

    This may sound like a small update, but it's an important one. When users boot up their Macs and shake their mice or flick their fingers around the trackpad, the cursor will grow in size and make its location readily known. Anyone who has lost track of a cursor will find that small addition useful.
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    Spotlight Gets a Major Overhaul
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    Spotlight Gets a Major Overhaul

    Spotlight, the search feature built into OS X, has gotten a major overhaul in El Capitan. The feature now includes the ability for users to search for a wider array of topics, including weather, stocks and even Web videos. In addition, users can employ natural language, like, "pictures I took last year," and Spotlight will display those items.
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    Mail Improvements Could Aid Enterprise Users
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    Mail Improvements Could Aid Enterprise Users

    Corporate users have panned Apple's Mail app, saying it doesn't come with enough power for the enterprise. While that still may be the case in El Capitan, it has added some much-needed upgrades, including the ability to quickly add events mentioned in an email to the Calendar. Mail will also suggest contacts and provide more support for touch gestures for those on a notebook.
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    Notes App Is Also Improved in El Capitan
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    Notes App Is Also Improved in El Capitan

    One of the highlights of WWDC was the upgrade Apple offered up to Notes in iOS 9. The company has also added those features to OS X. A single command will turn a regular list in Notes into a to-do list. Users can also add a photo, video, URL or map to a note with a single click. Most importantly to developers, information in a third-party app can also be shared and attached to a note. Apple's Notes has long been an also-ran in the productivity market. But El Capitan might help it improve its position in that space.
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    Maps Gains New Transit Feature
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    Maps Gains New Transit Feature

    Maps, another bundled application that comes with El Capitan, will include a new Transit feature that lets users see information about public transportation, such as buses, subways and ferries. In addition, Apple has said that Maps is getting some graphical and accuracy upgrades and will now suggest locations around a particular spot.
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    Safari and All Those Pins Are Useful
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    Safari and All Those Pins Are Useful

    Apple's Safari, the company's built-in Web browser, now includes a streamlined favorites feature. Rather than force users to keep a crowded bookmarks bar, Safari in El Capitan comes with a pinning feature that puts a simple icon all the way to the left of the app. When users boot up Safari, they can quickly click on those icons and go to their favorite sites. Safari even includes AirPlay support, so users can take the videos they're streaming on their computer and beam those to a television connected to an Apple TV.
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    Apple Photos App Will Support Third-Party Editing Tools
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    Apple Photos App Will Support Third-Party Editing Tools

    Apple's Photos app will be a bit easier to use in El Capitan. The program is relatively new, but it is getting some interested photo-editing upgrades. Users will be able to employ third-party applications to edit images from within the Photos app. Apple has added a naming feature that lets users tag a single image or group of photos with a title and apply location information.
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    There's No Change to the Launch Policy
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    There's No Change to the Launch Policy

    Apple hasn't made a single change to the launch policy in OS X. As in previous years, the company plans to make its latest OS X available in the fall at no charge to users. It'll also put El Capitan on all new Macs sold after its launch. Mac users will be able to try out El Capitan during the public beta in July.
 

With Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) now behind us, it's clear that this year it was all about software. Besides a new version of iOS and Apple Music and WatchOS, Apple showcased the upcoming release of a new OS X it's calling El Capitan. Like the new iOS 9, El Capitan is not a major upgrade that's head-and-shoulders above the earlier version. However, the Mac OS will get a number of upgrades that improve the operating system's usability and add valuable new features to core Mac OS apps, such as Notes, Mail, Maps and Safari. Altogether, Apple has done enough to make it worth a closer look from developers as well as rank-and-file Mac users. Apple is also giving users improved tools to manage photos on Macs and making it easier to work with third-party photo-editing tools. This eWEEK slide show will look at the new features that will likely make it worthwhile for users to install El Capitan when Apple releases it this fall. It doesn't take a lot to convince Mac users to upgrade the operating system since they get access to the new feature and performance improvement for free.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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