November 10, 2016

This is the year of big changes for Apple. While the company got rid of the headphones jack in the all new iPhone 7 to introduce the AirPods and announced the release ofSuper Mario on the iPhone and iPad, Apple has now launched a major update for theMac operating system.

Interestingly, the new update is called macOS Sierra. Yes, macOS. Apple has changed the name of its operating system for Mac to align it with the names of rest of the operating systems for its other devices - iOS, watchOS and tvOS. So, now you know the new update is not called OS X!

macOS Sierra
Did you know?

  • The term MacOS is not new to the operating system of Mac. The company initially named Mac’s operating system as Mac OS before introducing version 10. Version 9 was called Mac OS 9, after which the name of the series was changed to OS X with the launch of version 10 in 2001.
  • Apple names its Mac operating systems based on locations in California. The current one is called macOS Sierra named afterthe mountain range called Sierra Nevada in central and east California.

About the New Operating System for Mac

The new launch of version 10.12 was recently launched in September and is available for update at no extra cost. It is a free software update that can be downloaded at the App Store.

MacOS Sierra will be functional on the followinglist of Mac computers -

  1. MacBook (year 2009 and beyond)
  2. iMac (year 2009 and beyond)
  3. MacBook Pro (year 2010 and beyond)
  4. MacBook Air (year 2010 and beyond)
  5. Mac mini (year 2010 and beyond)
  6. Mac Pro (year 2010 and beyond)

Even though the Mac machines listed above will run Sierra, the older devices may not support all the features, Universal Clipboard and Apple Pay for instance.

Siri Comes to Mac with macOS Sierra

Yes, now you will have a Siri icon on the dock, clicking which will activate Siri. This will allow you to use it just the way you would on your iPhone - for information on a particular topic or to ask for directions to a new restaurant. You can even use it to find files on the Mac. For instance, if you tell Siri to locate all the files with the word “resume” in it, she will immediately list them. Siri also allows you to work with other apps by Apple.

Apple Pay Now Functional on Your Mac

While shopping online when you see the button for Apple Pay, you can click on it to make the payment. However, you will require an iPhone as Apple Pay on Mac makes use of your iPhone’s Touch ID to validate your transaction. This can also be done if you own an Apple Watch. Just double press that side button and your purchase will be verified.

Additional Features

Some of the new features that come with the macOS Sierra include the following -

  1. iCloud Drive Desktop access
  2. Picture in picture, tabs, and Universal Clipboard
  3. Enhanced messages
  4. Optimized storage
  5. Improvements in Apple Music
  6. Third-party apps integration support with Contacts app
  7. The new Apple File System for macOS (and for iOS, watchOS and tvOS) to be unveiled in 2017.

Photos for Mac have also got new features. A Memories tab can instantly create slideshows on the basis of events, people and places. You will also find support for extensions for the Photos so now you can easily edit Live Photos. And when you edit, it applies to the complete Live Photo and not just the single sequence you edit.

Safari will show a major change in the way it deals with content that uses plug-ins such as Flash, QuickTime and Silverlight. You can see alerts that inform you the plug-ins are not installed so you can click on the “Click to use” to view the content.

Compatibility with macOS Sierra

To be able to use features like Universal Clipboard and Apple Pay, you will require one of the following models -

  1. Mac mini (year 2012 and beyond)
  2. iMac (year 2012 and beyond)
  3. MacBook Pro (year 2012 and beyond)
  4. MacBook Air (year 2012 and beyond)
  5. Mac Pro (year 2013)
  6. MacBook (year 2015 and beyond)

If you wish to use your iOS device with the Universal Clipboard, your phone needs to work on iOS 10. Similarly, for the Apple Pay you require the iOS 10 software functional on an iOS device or a watchOS 3 functional on an Apple Watch.

To be able to use the Auto Unlock feature offered by Sierra, you would need one of the following:

  1. Any Mac model (year 2013 and beyond)
  2. Apple Watch running on watchOS 3
  3. iPhone running on iOS 10
  4. Sign in on the iCloud with the same Apple ID
  5. Two-factor authentication to be turned on

Things to Do Before Upgrading to macOS Sierra

Once you know you have hardware compatible with macOS Sierra, you may decide to upgrade. If you are dependent on a particular app and can’t do without it, you must first ensure that it is going to gel with macOS Sierra, or else you should wait for the app developer to roll out their modified version of the app. If you still decide to upgrade and want to take a chance, you should back up all your data so in case you end up facing any serious problem, you will be able to bounce back with the help of this backup.

So go ahead and update your Mac’s operating system to macOS Sierra. Hopefully, you will find the changes worth the wait.

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