Posted 2016-09-20 14:00 in by Emily Dolloff
This coming Tuesday Apple will make the latest macOS available for everyone to download. There’s a lot in Sierra to be excited about and I thought I’d recap a few of the new features as we approach the official release date. As always, make sure you have a current Time Machine backup before hitting that download button next week.
Sierra brings new capabilities to Siri. It’s been no secret with me that Siri and I haven’t always had the best relationship, but I admit with each OS release it gets better and better. You’ll now be able to talk to your computer to open apps, display files in a specific folder, check your drive space, search google and more. You’ll now see a Dock icon and you’ll simply need to click on the icon, wait a moment and wait for the familiar sound of Siri.
iCloud Drive becomes significantly more interesting in Sierra, thanks to an option to sync your Mac’s Desktop and Documents folder into iCloud. Once they have uploaded you can access the contents not just on any other Macs but also on your iOS devices and iCloud.com. Getting work done or accessing files from anywhere is now a whole lot easier. I will note that the actual Desktop and Documents folders then move from your home folder to the iCloud Drive volume ( choose Go > iCloud Drive to open it ). Beware that enabling this option might mean you need to increase the storage option you have in iCloud. This is one of the more exciting options for myself when it comes to Sierra since I’m frequently needing to access or provide information while on the go and this is going to be a huge time-saver.
If you’re someone who loves tabs in Safari and Finder, you’ll be pleased to hear that Sierra makes it so almost every app that can open multiple document windows can do so in tabs as well. Apps won’t have to change; just look in the File, View and Window menus for tab-related commands.
The security of Apple Pay on your iPhone or Watch is something many have learned to love and trust, now this same trust comes to web transactions. With Safari in Sierra, on websites that can accept Apple Pay ( which will be a lot ), you’ll be able to enter your payment information with Touch ID on your iPhone or Watch. Because your computer is paired with your iOS device, the transaction remains secure.
The final big-deal feature in Sierra—and my favorite—is Optimized Storage! This feature has a number of options that you can enable in the redesigned System Information app. Look in Window > Storage Management. Designed to free up space on Macs with relatively small drives, Optimized Storage can remove the local versions of files stored in iCloud (Including older files of your Desktop and Documents folders. Make sure you have a good backup to be safe!). You can download one if needed by double-clicking its icon. It removes already watched movies and TV shows from iTunes along with email attachments from mail, all of which you can download again if necessary. It can delete files from your Trash after they’ve composted for 30 days, and it helps you reduce clutter on your Mac by identifying large files so you can consider deleting manually. For once, I might finally get my “other” category on my drive sorted out!
Get ready for macOS 10.12 Sierra and mark your calendar for next Tuesday September 20th!