macOS High Sierra isn’t necessarily a giant feature packed system software release, and instead it aims to improve and refine the overall experience of the Mac operating system. But that doesn’t meant there aren’t some exciting new features and changes coming to macOS 10.13 when it debuts in the fall.
Let’s review a handful of some of the more notable features arriving to the Mac with MacOS High Sierra.
1: Under The Hood: AFPS File System, Better Graphics, VR Support
Some of the main MacOS High Sierra features are entirely under the hood.
This includes the all new APFS file system, which offers built-in encryption and dramatically improved speed for tasks like file copying and size calculation faster than ever before.
There’s also built-in support for better video compression, support for external GPU hardware, and support for Virtual Reality. The improved Metal 2 architecture and VR support should be particularly appreciated by gamers.
2: Safari Customizations and Improvements
Safari now has a per website Safari settings feature, this allows you to easily modify location data, camera, microphone, tracking, page zoom and text size, auto-playing of media, and more, on a per webpage basis. This is perfect if you visit a site or two with microscopic font sizes and find yourself constantly increasing the text size in Safari, since now you can set it once for that webpage and it won’t carry over elsewhere.
You can also use a persistent Reader mode feature that allows you to browse the web in Reader mode constantly, which offers a stripped down view of webpages and can help reduce bandwidth usage and clutter.
Oh and Safari also will automatically stop and silence auto-playing videos, and it aims to prevent some of the tracking features found on the web through various third party services.
3: Siri Improvements to Voice, and Type To Siri
Siri gains improvements to voice quality and intonation, just like it does in iOS 11.
Also, Siri on the Mac gains Type To Siri support, allowing users to query and command Siri by text commands and typing rather than voice commands.
4: iCloud File Sharing
You can now easily share any file stored in iCloud Drive with anyone else via a clickable link, who can then edit and make changes to a shared document or file.
This is sort of like how the Mail Drop feature works except it’s with any file at all, and it can be accessed directly from the share sheets in Mac OS.
5: Mail Refinements and Mail Split Screen Mode
A new Mail app split-screen view allows you to compose a new email or reply to an email in a panel right next to the inbox management screen. This is a nice feature for those who use Mail app in full screen mode on the Mac.
Mail app also takes up much less storage space, so if you have a ton of emails stored, maintained, and archived on your Mac it should take up less storage capacity on the Mac itself.
Wait, what’s the deal with the name MacOS High Sierra?
The naming convention of MacOS High Sierra has confused some users, but the name shouldn’t be foreign to California residents (which is also where Apple corporate headquarters is located). Basically, the High Sierra is a reference to the higher elevation points of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California.
So what does the name High Sierra imply? As Apple has done in the past, the name likely indicates this version of Mac OS is a refinement release, so High Sierra is to Sierra as to what Snow Leopard was to Leopard, Mountain Lion was to Lion, and El Capitan was to Yosemite.
MacOS High Sierra is available now as a beta to download, but the vast majority of users are better served waiting until the fall for the final release to be made available. It’s worth reviewing the MacOS High Sierra compatibility list, but in short if your Mac runs Sierra then it can also run High Sierra.