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Apple Unveils macOS 'Sierra' With New Continuity Features, Window Tabs, Apple Watch Login, Siri, and More

Apple used its WWDC 2016 keynote on Monday to unveil macOS 'Sierra', the successor to its OS X 10.11 El Capitan operating system for the Mac, promising window tab support across multiple apps, copy and paste between devices, Siri integration, and more.

The announcement of a change in naming convention also means that Apple now has a consistent naming structure across all its software platforms: iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS.

macOS Continuity
Apart from Siri's introduction to the Mac desktop, Apple focused on a handful of new Continuity-themed features exclusive to macOS Sierra, one being the ability to access files on the desktop and in the Documents folder on any Mac, iOS device, or even a PC.

Sierra will allow users to access these files on an iPhone and iPad via the iCloud Drive app, through iCloud.com, or using the iCloud for Windows app. And if a user logs into a second Mac, their files will be automatically available on the Desktop and in the Documents folder, exactly where they were saved.

Another Continuity feature coming with macOS is 'Universal Clipboard', which enhances the traditional copy and paste functionality by enabling users to automatically copy text, photos, and more from an iPhone or iPad, and instantly paste them on a Mac.

In addition, a new security feature in macOS Sierra called 'Auto Unlock' allows Apple Watch wearers to gain access to their locked Mac simply by walking into its vicinity, whereby they become automatically logged into the desktop.

Apple is also extending the tabs feature in Safari to all apps that support multiple windows, including Maps, Mail, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, and TextEdit, as well as compatible third-party apps.

For example, tabs in Maps will mean users can browse multiple locations without losing their place, while tabs in Pages should allow users to copy and paste between Pages in fullscreen mode, or jump between multiple email drafts in Mail.

Sierra also brings the Picture-in-Picture feature found in iOS 9.3 to the Mac, making it possible to float video from Safari or iTunes in a window on the desktop while working on something else. Video windows will be resizable, draggable, and able to be pinned to the corner of the screen.

Photos on macOS
Meanwhile, the Photos app is getting a new intelligent Memories feature, which automatically creates curated collections of special occasions like birthdays, weddings, and vacations using people, object, and location recognition.

Bolstered by the new recognition technology, the People feature will automatically group photos into Albums based on who is in them, while Places will display photos on a world map so users can see where they were taken.

Additional features coming with macOS Sierra include: Optimized Storage, which frees up space when a Mac starts getting full by storing infrequently used items in iCloud; an enhanced Messages app, bringing the desktop version in line with all the new features exclusive to iOS 10; and an updated version of Apple Music in iTunes, which is likely to reflect changes to the iOS 10 Music app.

macOS Sierra is available to developers for testing today. Apple says a public beta will be launched in July, while the final public release is coming in the fall.

Related Roundup: WWDC 2017


Top Rated Comments

(View all)

12 months ago
Some nifty handy features... But waiting an entire year for this? Bit disappointing.
Rating: 24 Votes
12 months ago
that looked like a very underwhelming update... hope they at least provide native drivers for newer nvidia gpu's.
Rating: 22 Votes
12 months ago
How about this?
The Apple File System (APFS) is the next-generation file system designed to scale from an Apple Watch to a Mac Pro. APFS is optimized for Flash/SSD storage, and engineered with encryption as a primary feature.
Rating: 17 Votes
12 months ago

True but free so...

Free? You buy it together with a Mac computer.
Rating: 16 Votes
12 months ago
Can I buy a 2016 updated MBP from Apple.com with Apple Pay? No? Ok...
Rating: 16 Votes
12 months ago
It seems like they're going to release a new file system:

https://developer.apple.com/library/prerelease/content/documentation/FileManagement/Conceptual/APFS_Guide/Introduction/Introduction.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/TP40016999

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Apple-File-System-APFS
Rating: 13 Votes
12 months ago

Its a decent incremental update, I'm not overly jazzed up over the update. I'm no fan of the California names, but I do like Mac OS

Why do we need three naming identifiers of this. macOS Sierra 10.12.xx?


Let's be happy there isn't:

macOS Sierra Student 10.12.xx
macOS Sierra Extended 10.12.xx
macOS Sierra Professional 10.12.xx

etc.etc.
Rating: 11 Votes
12 months ago

I’m looking for a picture as well, but I believe that it was 2010 and later Macs, plus Late 2009 MacBook. There was another one which I can’t recall.


Engadget got it:
MacBook, iMac: Late 2009 or later
MacBook Air/Pro, Mac Mini/Pro: 2010 or later
Xserve support is officially discontinued

Rating: 11 Votes
12 months ago

The memory of Steve Jobs died today. Surely the rename will be a contentious decision to some but macOS brings OS X bang up to date.

The vision of Steve Jobs RIP


One more thing......

Steve has been dead for many years now.
Time to let go!
Rating: 10 Votes
12 months ago

How about this?
The Apple File System (APFS) is the next-generation file system designed to scale from an Apple Watch to a Mac Pro. APFS is optimized for Flash/SSD storage, and engineered with encryption as a primary feature.


Seriously, best news of the day. Surprised they didn't mention it.
Rating: 10 Votes

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