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macOS Sierra

I used to live in the foothills of the Sierras in a little town called Challenge. We rented what was an old stage coach stop right in the hills that were part of the gold rush of the nineteenth century. Did you know that the nickname for Californians – the 49ers – came from the huge influx of gold miners in 1849?

Apple hopes that macOS Sierra will bring in a rush to the Mac, too. First off, we should note that the name has changed (to protect the innocent?) from OS X 10.12 to macOS Sierra. I like the name change but it certainly pales next to the improvements in the operating system for Mac.

If you have a Mac that is older than 2009 you might want to turn out, or better yet come in for an upgrade because macOS Sierra will only run on late 2009 Macs or newer. It will be free when it comes out this fall and there will be a public beta program in July that you can sign up for at beta.apple.com.

Hello Siri!

What’s new? Let’s start with Siri. Siri finally comes to the Mac! Ask Siri to send messages, search the web, find files, adjust settings, and more. You can also drag and drop, copy, or pin Siri results. Siri will even turn down your Mac’s fan when activated to minimize microphone interference. I have just started to play with Siri on the Mac but it is a little weird talking to my Mac in the middle of our open office. I feel a little bit like Scotty in Star Trek talking to the mouse of a Mac Plus.

Universal Clipboard

Have you ever found an interesting article or picture on your iPad and wanted to include it in something you are working on your Mac? Well, that just got a lot easier with Universal Clipboard. Copy and paste now works across your devices when they’re near each other. There are no special instructions, just copy images, video, or text from an app on one device. Then paste into another app on a different device.

Optimized Storage

Are you reaching the limits of your storage? With all the rich media, apps, pictures and music this is a pretty common issue. We recommend that you leave 10-20% of your storage space clear but finding what to delete is always a challenge. Apple has now addressed that with Optimized Storage. Optimized Storage helps you make more room on your Mac. When space is low, it automatically stores old files, photos, movies, and email attachments in the cloud and makes them available on demand. Files you recently created and optimized photos stay on your Mac so they’re there when you need them. You can also easily find and remove files or apps. I am running the beta of macOS Sierra and my free space went up from about 25GB to over 150GB once my storage was optimized

Auto Unlock

How many times have you found yourself logging into your Mac and accidentally had the caps lock on and had to re-enter your password? Well, if you have an Apple Watch you will never have THAT problem again. When you walk up to your Mac while wearing your Apple Watch, you’ll be automatically logged in to your desktop. Because you authenticate your Apple Watch when you put it on, there’s no need to type in a password if you’re nearby.

Shop with Apple Pay

Apple Pay gives you an easier and more secure way to pay when shopping online in Safari. When you see the Apple Pay button on participating websites, simply click it at checkout on your Mac, then securely complete your purchase using your iPhone or Apple Watch.

Keep Tabs

I know that not everyone uses tabs in Safari or Chrome but most of you do. It is a great way to have multiple web sites open at once without cluttering your desktop. macOS Sierra brings tabs to other apps now. It works in Pages and a few other apps now but should be pretty universal by the time macOS Sierra comes out in the fall. I was a bit baffled at how to access it but then I noticed a new command under the “Window” menu item – Merge All Windows.

Picture-in-Picture

This time of the year I like to watch the Cubs day games while I am working. That’s the thing about watching baseball, you don’t have to pay too close attention. At any rate, with macOS Sierra I can now have a floating PIP window with the game while I work on spreadsheets or in our K9 database. You can float a video window from Safari or iTunes over your desktop or a full-screen app. Play the video in any corner of your desktop, and resize the window to see more or less of what’s behind it. It currently only works with some video sources (and unfortunately not with MLB Team Pass) but more will certainly be added.

iCloud Drive

Ever been in a meeting and needed that document from your Mac but you just have your iPad with you? With the new enhancements to iCloud Drive in macOS Sierra it will be no problem. Now you can store your Documents folder and Desktop in iCloud Drive and access all your files from your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC and on iCloud.com. So you can save files where you normally do and they’re automatically uploaded, with no need to drag them into iCloud Drive first.

And MORE!

Photos has been upgraded with new organization and search capabilities, iTunes has been upgraded including lyrics in the mini player, new Emojis and fun stuff in Messages and much more that we will talk about in Kibbles as we discover more of the features.

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