20th September 2017

macOS High Sierra

During WWDC in June, Apple announced their latest macOS, High Sierra. On the 25th of September, it will be released as a free download for you to install onto your Mac.

Here, we take a look at its main features to see what you can expect from the latest macOS.

The first thing to say about High Sierra is that it is an evolution of Sierra. Think Leopard to Snow Leopard and you’re on the right path. Personally, I think this is a good thing. While it’s great to have something new, it is also nice to think that something has been allowed time to be refined and improved, and there is a lot of evidence to say that High Sierra has achieved that.

Apple File System (APFS)
The headline grabbing Apple File System (APFS) includes a lot of improvements and upgrades that are hidden behind the scenes. However, you should notice a much faster response when carrying out jobs like duplicating files and finding the size of a folder.

However, and it is quite a big however, it will only work if you have built-in flash storage. The first public release will not support APFS on Fusion Drives or Hard Drives. It is hoped that Fusion Drives will get APFS, but lingering bugs that were identified in the first BETA release have not yet been ironed out – therefore there is no support for the Fusion Drive.

Metal 2 and VR
In a move towards the Pro market, High Sierra also includes the new Metal 2 graphics engine, bringing a 10x improvement over Metal 1 in graphics. At the launch of High Sierra Apple announced that “drawing on the performance of Metal 2 and the latest Mac hardware, macOS High Sierra adds support for VR content creation for the first time, enabling developers to create immersive gaming, 3D and VR content on the Mac.”

With support for Valve’s SteamVR and the HTC Vive Headset, if VR is where you’re at the Mac now can support you.

Copy between Macs
If you have two Macs that are both running High Sierra and are logged into the same Apple iCloud Account, you can now use the universal clipboard function to copy and paste between the two.

Surf the web in peace
Ever been quickly surfing the web at work only for a video to start playing at a really loud volume to expose your slacking off? Well now, Safari is configured to not only run faster but to block auto-playing videos by default. You will be able to change these settings, but at least you can surf at work without being caught quite so easily!

You will get a better Spotlight search facility and a split view function. This will allow you to compose a message while still seeing your inbox on the other side of the screen.

Siri, Photos, iCloud
As you would expect, there are updates across these apps. iCloud has now caught up with Google Drive allowing you share files – just choose Add People from the Share menu in Finder to start adding, and use the Options panel to set permissions.

If you are a paid up member of Apple Music, you will be able to use Siri as your own personal DJ. While sat at your Mac you can ask your virtual assistant to play your favourite tunes. It will learn over time what your preferences are and start to give you recommendations.

Within Photos, you will be able to use some of the tricks from iOS 11, such as playing GIFs and turn Live Photos into loop clips, bounce clips, or long exposure-style shots. In addition, Photos also receives an upgrade with the smart facial recognition system, allowing it to identify your friends, family, work colleagues etc. It should also sync across all of your devices.

As you expect from Apple, there are some nice refinements and some real advancements such as the APFS and the VR support. As always, it is nice to know that the new macOS is a free upgrade allowing you to benefit from these improvements for no cost at all.