10 macOS Sierra Features You Should Know Before Upgrading

All Apple fans are excited about macOS Sierra. With beta versions available for download, many have already tried some of the cool macOS Sierra features. New, exciting features is one way to get users to upgrade to the latest OS. And it looks like Apple has done a good job introducing some really cool features, most of them loaded with exciting stuff. Before it becomes publicly available in September this year, we know you’re eager to know and try out some of the best features. 2016, after all, is the year of Apple’s software updates – iOS 10, watchOS 3, tvOS 10 and now macOS Sierra.

macOS Sierra Features

Apple’s personal assistant Siri (yes, we are aware of all the Siri jokes) makes its first appearance on the Mac. With optimized storage for file management, deep learning, auto unlock and a host of other features, macOS Sierra is one upgrade you wouldn’t want to miss! macOS Sierra combines the best of Yosemite and El Capitan while building on both extensibility and continuity. With Security becoming a worldwide concern, Apple has made it easier to log into your Mac securely.

Let’s take a look at the 10 macOS features you should definitely know before upgrading, beginning with Apple’s personal assistant Siri.

1. Siri

“Call me an ambulance”. “Alright. From now on, I’ll call you ‘An Ambulance’. OK?” Siri knows how to make you laugh. For many iPhone users, Siri is a friend who gets things done – from sending messages, showing you constellations, the best route to home, ETA while driving to placing calls – Siri has got it covered. And now Siri will make its first appearance on the Mac with macOS Sierra. Windows 10 brought Cortana to the desktop PC and now Siri brings the personal assistant to the Mac. Better late than never, Apple!

Before you can ask Siri to find something for you, you must first find out where Siri is. Siri is in the second position on the standard dock, just to the right of Finder. You can “summon” Siri by clicking on the menu bar icon or by using “fn+space” default keyboard shortcut.

You can consider hiring Siri as your official personal assistant since it does all of these –

  • play Apple Music
  • report time and weather for you
  • put your Mac to sound sleep
  • place calls
  • send, read emails and messages
  • find movies, iTunes media, and books
  • check showtimes for your favorite move
  • show sports scores
  • search internet
  • toggle WiFi settings
  • change volume or brightness

The list is endless. But you have to be happy with button push for launching Siri. Launching Siri with voice is not possible, for now.

2. Auto unlock

Auto unlock is a really useful macOS Sierra feature. Apple takes Continuity (yes, the one that was introduced in 2014) to the next level with the Auto Unlock macOS Sierra feature. This feature automatically unlocks your Mac when it detects your Apple Watch in close proximity. Considering the number of digital accounts each one of us have today, remembering long, strong passwords for each of those accounts is becoming increasingly overwhelming. This feature comes as a welcome change. You don’t have to type your password everytime you wish to unlock your Mac. Auto unlock will do it for you. Apps like Knock make this look even more simple. Check out our post on how to unlock Mac using Apple Watch.

3. Apple Pay

With this feature, Mac is getting a sensor upgrade – it can now borrow Touch ID from the iPhone or even the heart rate sensor from the Apple Watch. Apple Pay on Mac works the same way as on iPhone. When you are ready to buy something online, click on the Apple Pay button. You’ll be required to authorize Apple Pay by either Touch ID or double-clicking Apple Watch. With end-to-end encryption, one-time code is sent to the merchant and you can complete the transaction securely – all with the click of one button! Apple Pay on Mac integrated with Touch ID – this is one of the most important macOS Sierra features.

4. Universal Clipboard

Nobody knew touch screens would become the world standard for human-smartphone interaction until Apple introduced them. Apple is famous for what it does so wonderfully – introduce a feature that no one knows can exist and then make people love it. With Universal Clipboard, Apple continues this tradition. This one’s got to be on top of the macOS Sierra features list. The Universal Clipboard lets you copy and paste content between Apple devices. Yes, you read that right – copy and paste content between Apple devices! How awesome is that!? To make it more exciting, let’s break this as well to you – you can also share media files like photos and videos across devices!!

Basically, you can copy from and to any Mac/iPhone/iPad that’s logged into your iCloud account. This is one macOS Sierra feature you’ll love the most!

5. Storage Optimized

If you have been worried about storage space issues in Mac, this macOS Sierra feature lets you fix them with ease. Storage issues have been plaguing apple users for quite some time. 16GB on iPhone is too less for the amount of media consumption that happens in today’s digital age. The internet is rife with articles on how to manage storage on Apple devices. Not surprising then that Apple came up with this feature. Though iCloud Drive helped users better manage storage space, this feature is a welcome change. With macOS Sierra, you can have amazing visibility into which files are taking up the most space on your drive. Optimize storage has four options – optimize storage, erase trash automatically, reduce clutter and store in iCloud. You can use one of these four options or all of them to free up a significant amount of storage space.

6. Bigger, Bolder and More Beautiful Apple Music

Apple Music on the Mac has been revamped to look more beautiful and more elegant, just like the iOS 10 Apple Music. It shows you recently played daily playlists, new releases and more. You can see new music, top charts, and genres. And there’s the evergreen iTunes Store that has all the songs and albums you may wish to buy.

7. Photos

macOS Sierra improves Photos in several ways. Photos takes computer vision to the next level. It looks at your images, figures out what’s in them and then even lets you browse based on those images. Instead of uploading your pic and doing a reverse image search, you can now perform image search locally on your Mac. This is more secure because you don’t have to upload your photos to servers that are not under your control. This feature also comes bundled with other cool stuff like new editing features, Markup, editing Live Photos, automatic memory albums etc.

8. APFS – The Apple File System

This one’s got to be in the list of top macOS Sierra features. Apple has begun beta testing of the next-generation file system. Built by Apple, APFS will begin to replace the traditional HFS+ on all devices in the Apple Ecosystem. Designed for flash storage and SSD, this next generation file system is fully encrypted by default to keep data safe and secure. APFS places security and efficiency at the front. This may not just be evolution, this could as well become a revolution!

9. Safari

All Safari extensions will now be part of the App Store, including content blockers. And as always, Flash is disabled by default. Apple sees this as a way to protect you from Flash exploits. Safari has, anyway, never included Flash for all these years. And looks like this trend will continue. Also check, how to clear Safari history on iPhone or iPad.

10. iCloud Desktop and Documents

iCloud Drive lets you sync files between devices. This new macOS Sierra feature will let you sync files to specific directories. Your Desktop will now be the same on all Macs since Sierra will automatically sync all files. You can access the desktop using a folder on your iPhone/iPad. If you are wondering about Dropbox and Google Drive and other similar offerings, Apple lets you do much more than these.

That brings us to the end of the journey covering the most exciting and promising macOS Sierra features. All the features – from Siri on Mac to iCloud Desktop and Documents – are intuitive and come with top-notch user-friendly experience. With Universal Clipboard, Apple is doing what it always does – introduce features that you never ever thought about and then make you fall in love those features. In spite of all the possible glitches and bugs that these features may initially have, macOS Sierra features will definitely get a buy-in from many Apple fans. The countdown for official macOS Sierra begins! If you have already tested some of  the macOS Sierra features in the beta version, do let us know your experiences in the comments section! We’d love to hear from you!

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  • Akos Simon

    “…….you can now perform image search locally on your Mac……” since you are writing this, i will assume you know how this would work?