It no longer limps along like a three-legged turtle.
Spotlight, the tool that searches files on your computer, has a few new tricks too.
OS X El Capitan has made performance improvements across the board, but Metal absolutely kills it on the Mac.
OS X El Capitan is a free upgrade that users can install at home through the Mac App Store.
OS X El Capitan, which will be available as a free update starting Wednesday, mainly works on Apple’s laptops and desktops sold since 2009, as well as a few models stretching back to 2007, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company said in a statement. Instead, El Capitan refines the things that matter most in a computer: how fast our apps work and how fast we can work with so many of them open.
That’s because El Capitan is the “tock” in Apple’s “tick, tock” two-year update cycle. Much like how a huge part of Google’s success is down to its ability to decipher key search terms within natural language entry, Apple’s new method is a largely useful method of narrowing down results simply, without having to input excessive terms or open multiple apps.
“Uh, faster? Don’t you mean slower?” It’s that good, too – I promise. Finally, Apple promises generally faster performance, with messages appearing up to twice as fast.
Notes text is can now be formatted for bold headlines and a smaller font for the body text. Jumping between apps feels much speedier, and scrolling-everywhere from my FacebookFB -0.53 % feeds to my Spotify playlists-has been noticeably smoother and less jittery.
Most developers work hard to make sure their software is compatible with the new version of OS X, so often updates are released prior to the upgrade’s released date.
I can’t promise zero slowdowns. If you’ve got several irons on the fire, you’ll only need one compose window to wrangle your email conversations. And at its best, El Capitan is also Apple at its best: shake your cursor and it will now balloon in size so you can find it. Search for directions on your Mac, click a button and stand up with the directions on your Watch. So, if I type “sound output”, the top hit will be “Sound” in system preferences.
Like the rest of OS X El Capitan, the Mail app brings a series of modest changes that add up to a nice, although maybe not groundbreaking, update.
A word of caution, however: The update seems to have activated background processes, including Spotlight and Photos indexing, which initially resulted in two to three hours less battery life than usual.
One thing I was particularly interested to see was how less potent Macs handled El Capitan. This full-screen mode was previously achieved by clicking on the green full-screen button at the top left of a program’s window.
Keyboard shortcuts for tabs. It’s similar to the multi-app view on the iPad Air 2 in iOS 9 and is a good example of Apple unifying the two operating system interfaces where it’s useful to do so. I would love to see a browser maps app respond just as quickly, but so far I haven’t found it.
Maps has been upgraded (on Mac and iPhone as well) to provide public transport information. I’m a diehard Evernote user, and I even spend $US50 each year to get the app’s premium features. The same three-finger upward swipe shows you all windows you’ve got open on-screen, but the new view makes each window or app equal with a single-layer view. My email and calendar now have a permanent virtual home immediately to the right of my main desktop. If you jiggle your mouse around, the cursor blows up so you can find it easily on your screen.
Something else sped up my machine this week.
Apple has brought a couple of new features to its Safari browser, too. In El Capitan, they’re no longer clumped by program; you can see them all spread out.
You won’t get a ton of third-party app support right away, but I haven’t run into any apps being broken by El Cap. It isn’t browsing speed. In fact, during my testing, there was a point where I had double Facebook tabs open: the pinned one, and then another to keep up with an ongoing Facebook Messenger conversation. Instead, it lacks Chrome’s selection of browser extensions. Everything runs just as it did before. For instance, typing “weather for tomorrow” shows me right inside the Spotlight window that it’ll be cloudy with a high of 80.
The same natural language support links back to Apple’s Mail app – a Spotlight search for “email from Lauren about Github” would return a link to an email thread about Github.
As in iOS, Spotlight on the Mac is now a bit smarter and more contextual.