What's in macOS Sierra to Make It a No-Brainer Upgrade

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-06-16
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    What's in macOS Sierra to Make It a No-Brainer Upgrade
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    What's in macOS Sierra to Make It a No-Brainer Upgrade

    Apple's newly renamed desktop operating system will boast a number of features that will make it a worthwhile upgrade when it arrives later this year.
  • Previous
    The Name Has Changed, but Not the Basic Design
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    The Name Has Changed, but Not the Basic Design

    The biggest change Apple announced at WWDC was that its desktop operating system will now be known as macOS instead of OS X. Despite the name change, the operating system's design is nearly identical to that of OS X El Capitan, complete with a semi-transparent Dock, standard apps and more. Those hoping for a major OS overhaul won't find it in Sierra.
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    Siri's the Big Addition
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    Siri's the Big Addition

    The biggest addition to macOS Sierra is Siri. The long-awaited feature will allow users to interact with Apple's virtual personal assistant to search files, find content within those files and create appointments, among other features. Siri has also become more intelligent, allowing users to ask specific questions, like "show my photos from yesterday." Siri will then respond by displaying only those photos.
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    There Are Major Enhancements to Messages
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    There Are Major Enhancements to Messages

    Apple spent considerable time talking about its updates to messaging during the WWDC keynote. On the Mac, users will find a wealth of new Messages features, including support for larger emojis, rich links so users can preview what they're clicking on, and the ability to play videos and other content from within the Messages container. It's a notable upgrade for a popular app.
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    Photos App Helps You Share Memories
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    Photos App Helps You Share Memories

    The Photos app has come alive in macOS, boasting several new features that photographers might find appealing. In addition to a slight design overhaul, Photos has a new tool called Memories, a feature that automatically creates "stunning slideshows and shareable collections" of images. Plus, improved searching identifies objects and scenes and does a better job of keeping track of where pictures were taken. There's even a "People Album," so users can create albums based on who is featured in pictures.
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    The New Apple Music Experience
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    The New Apple Music Experience

    Apple Music was in serious need of an overhaul, and that's just what it got in the new macOS. Apple Music now makes it much easier to find a user's library of content, and its For You recommendations engine has been "revamped" so users can find more music they'll actually like. There's also a new Browse button that helps users discover new content.
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    Apple Pay Comes to Safari
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    Apple Pay Comes to Safari

    Apple Pay is coming to Safari. When users are browsing e-commerce sites that support Apple Pay, they'll be given the option to pay for products through the iPhone maker's service. If they choose that option, they'll be asked to make an Apple Pay payment with an iPhone or Apple Watch paired to the Mac. It's part of a broader effort by Apple to expand Apple Pay's presence and ensure seamless connectivity across its Mac and iOS ecosystems.
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    There's a New Way to Unlock the Mac
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    There's a New Way to Unlock the Mac

    If a person is wearing an Apple Watch that has been paired with a Mac, it's now much easier to unlock the Mac. Rather than requiring users to input their passcode, Sierra will automatically recognize the Apple Watch and immediately give users access to the computer. The feature could pave the way for Mac support for Touch ID, if Apple eventually brings its biometric sensor to its computers.
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    Universal Clipboard Sounds Outstanding
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    Universal Clipboard Sounds Outstanding

    Universal Clipboard might be a small feature in macOS, but it's arguably one of the most interesting. With Universal Clipboard, users will be able to copy anything from text to images and video on an iPhone and paste it to a Mac. The service also works if users copy from a Mac and paste to an iPhone or iPad. Universal Clipboard ties iOS and macOS together, creating a seamless copy-and-paste experience that Apple device owners should find very useful.
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    Be More Productive With Tabs
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    Be More Productive With Tabs

    Apple is bringing full tab support to all of the apps that come bundled with macOS, including the company's iWork suite. In addition, Apple has opened tab support to third-party developers, so they, too, can create a tabbed browsing experience in their software. The feature was previously available in Safari and Finder, but is now making its way across the operating system.
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    A Little Storage Love From iCloud
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    A Little Storage Love From iCloud

    Apple has promised that users will no longer have an issue with onboard storage in Sierra. Users will be able to easily offload documents to the cloud, where they'll be kept until they're again required. Once in the cloud, the files will not take up space on an already-crowded storage drive. In addition, Apple says that Sierra will come with a storage-optimization feature that automatically stores rarely used files in the cloud. That feature will even suggest the removal of duplicate or obsolete files to save precious storage space.
 

This fall Apple will release the latest version of its hugely popular desktop operating system that has been known as OS X since it was first released in March 2001. Apple regularly updated OS X to run on its increasingly powerful desktop, laptop and notebook computers. The latest version of the operating system, now named macOS Sierra to bring the branding into line with Apple's other OS platforms, was announced at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on June 13. While the operating system's design hasn't changed all that much, Apple has bundled several new features in the platform, including support for the Siri virtual assistant, a multitude of enhancements to Messages and a revamped Apple Music that will make it much easier to access content. Sierra even includes support for Apple Pay and a handy tab feature for productivity enhancements. All in all, the free operating system is a nice upgrade over OS X El Capitan and stands as a fine alternative to its chief PC competitor, Windows 10. This slide show provides more details about macOS Sierra's features and why it will be an easy decision to download it when Apple releases it later this year.

 
 
 
 
 
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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