Starting on September 30th, everybody will be able to install Apple’s latest OS X update, El Capitan, on their Macs. In a Finder window’s sidebar, you now see a progress wheel, so you’ll know when your local copies of what’s on your iCloud Drive have been backed up to the Web. You can also get to the Windows 10 Action Center from the Mac’s taskbar. Safari also now supports AirPlay video, which means you can play video from a webpage to your Apple TV, without the webpage taking over your desktop. Whenever you can’t find your cursor, a lot of people rapidly scrub the trackpad (or wiggle the mouse), just so you can find the cursor on the screen.
Split View will, on instruction from you, position two apps side-by-side so you can answer emails, while also working on a Word document for example and you will be able to make the email box smaller and the document bigger or vice versa. Not only does it now show what’s eating up your disk space, but it no longer has a Fix Permissions button (a time-honored troubleshooting button in times of glitchiness). In El Capitan, you can, if you prefer, have those keystrokes open your various open tabs instead. Mission Control’s new view helps you parse it all a lot faster than before. Or you can run Windows apps and functions as if they were part of the Mac interface, a feature known as Coherence. You must supply your own copy of Windows.
El Capitan has upgrades affecting window management, includes Spotlight search and has better performance said Apple.
Spotlight is also pretty handy, now.
As in iOS, Spotlight on the Mac is now a bit smarter and more contextual.
OS X is obviously still important to Apple’s strategy-the one where the company wants to trap you so thoroughly in its ecosystem that you can never leave-but it doesn’t get to lead the charge anymore. Multiple emails can be composed and edited at the same time thanks to a new tab system. From pinned sites in Safari to keep frequently-visited pages locked to the tab bar, through tab audio muting and AirPlay support for streaming web video, to iOS-style swipes to trash or mark-unread messages in the updated Mail and the new IMAP engine which prioritizes downloading your most recent email so they’re ready to view quicker, this new OS X is all about gnawing away, little by little, at the pauses and lag that might usually punctuate the day.
And like Mail, it lets you use natural language search, so you can look up something like “spreadsheets I worked on this week” and get exactly what you want.
Sure, there are a few worthwhile updates to Apple’s Notes, Photos and Mail apps themselves, but the most significant difference I’ve seen has been to my computer’s speed… and mine. Unreservedly yes-I’ve found it to be stable, it’s free, it’ll download and install itself on your Mac with almost no intervention, and it’ll bring with it improved security, speed, and functionality. And because of a reduction in the CPU to help out with graphics rendering, Apple is claiming better battery life too.
Apple has also turned a spotlight on its methods of organising your pictures.
Should you update to El Capitan? The only downside with pinned tabs is that you don’t see in-browser notifications for sites like Facebook. The browser now lets you know which open tab is playing sound, and you can mute it by clicking the speaker icon. These pins will remain in place every time you quit and relaunch Safari, and will continue to run in the background while you’re not using them. With the update, Spotlight can be used to check stock prices, weather forecasts, sports schedules and more. But in El Capitan, if you click outside an open message, its window shrinks down into a tab at the bottom of the screen.
Parallels lets you display Windows 10 full-screen on your Mac.
Services like Photos, Notes, Mail and Maps are (mostly) the same app across iOS and OS X, now. A few are small, incremental improvements while others, like Notes and the general performance upgrades, are much more noticeable.
You can create checklists, and the new Attachments Browser organises your attachments in one view.
Following in the footsteps of successful apps like Citymapper, Apple’s Maps app has been updated with public transport information – now only fully operational within London. The apps can be split evenly, or you can slide the middle bar around to suit your needs. Whilst it’s nice to have the option to take the Ferry, I can’t imagine it’s one United Kingdom residents will be searching for very often. Now, just move the mouse back and forth rapidly, or swipe your finger back and forth on the touchpad if it’s a laptop. Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi was a big fan of this particular feature during the WWDC keynote, exclaiming: “El Capitan makes [finding your cursor] easier than ever”. If you’re passing through a station with multiple entrances and exits, the app will tell you which one to go through, for efficiency’s sake.