Siri lands on the Mac, you can now copy things between different Mac and iOS devices, your desktop now lives in the cloud – and everything can be tabbed
OS X is dead. Long live macOS. Apple’s new version of its Mac operating system – Sierra – will be available for download later today.
The free upgrade is available for almost any Mac from late 2009 and will be available via the Mac App Store later today. While some might want to hold off immediately updating, given the recent trouble with early updates, here are five new things to be found by those who do wish to change to macOS Sierra.
The biggest change for Sierra other than the name is Siri. The same voice assistant from the iPhone and iPad is now on the Mac with similar features and faults. It can find files for you using natural language as introduced with El Capitan, set appointments, check spellings, play music and tell you the weather, but how much you use it depends on where you work: colleagues in your open-plan office aren’t going to love the fact that you just started talking to your computer.
2. Universal clipboard
Have you ever wanted to paste something between two Macs or a Mac and an iPhone or iPad? Now you can. Just copy something on one machine, hit paste on the other and wait. Sometimes it takes a while, depending on how good your connection is, but it works surprisingly well. It works for text, images and most other things you might copy to the clipboard.
3. iCloud drive desktop
While some are organised and store all their files in carefully organised folders, many just have everything dumped on the desktop and locked on a single machine. iCloud Drive desktop can now sync files and folders on the desktop between machines and to iPhones or iPads, so everything not organised is accessible from multiple machines.
4. Everything is in a tab now
The tabbed interface kickstarted by browsers has now come to more or less everything in Sierra. From text editors to photos editing, budgeting apps and email, hitting the “Merge All Windows” option under the Window drop down in the status bar merges the windows from one app into one tabbed interface. Not everything supports it immediately, and some that do have half-baked implementations, but if you wanted tabs everywhere on a Mac, now’s your chance.
5. Apple Pay, iOS 10 features and more
Aside from big Mac features, MacOS Sierra also adds compatibility with most of the new features from iOS 10. Now you can pay for things using your Touch ID sensor on your iPhone on the web, you can send fancy chat things with iOS 10 users in Messages, view videos handled by the Quicktime Player in a floating window, and even unlock your Mac using an Apple Watch, if you own one. Apple Music in iTunes now looks more like the iOS version too, and the Memories feature from the iOS Photos app is now in the MacOS Sierra Photos app. MacOS also promises to free up some space on your Mac by storing unused files within iCloud drive, but how much space it can free up depends on what types of files are taking up your hard drive.
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