Apple Reveals 'macOS High Sierra' With APFS, Metal 2, and Refinements to Safari and Other Apps

Apple has announced the newest software update for its Mac computers, which it's calling "macOS High Sierra." At the WWDC keynote this afternoon, Craig Federighi said that High Sierra brings along improvements and refinements across the system and builds off what the company created in macOS Sierra last year.

macOS High Sierra will deliver new video and graphics technologies that will lay the groundwork for even more improvements to macOS down the line, according to Apple. The big additions in High Sierra include Apple File System (APFS), support for High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), and an all-new version of Metal -- simply called Metal 2 -- which will allow Apple's advanced graphics tech to power even more Mac apps, including machine learning and VR-based content.

high sierra 2

“macOS High Sierra delivers important forward-looking technologies and new opportunities for developers wanting to tap into the power of machine learning and create immersive VR content on the Mac,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “The core technology innovations in macOS High Sierra, combined with our advances in hardware, will continue to push the Mac forward in exciting new ways.”

As it has on iOS, APFS will grant macOS devices enhanced performance, security, and reliability thanks to its advanced architecture that's been optimized for modern users' high storage needs. Apple said that APFS makes day-to-day operations such as copying files "instantaneous," as well as helping to protect user data from power outages and crashes, and keeps files secure with native encryption. High Sierra will maintain read-and-write compatibility with previously formatted HFS drives, and Apple said that the integration of APFS into macOS has been designed to accomodate for any potential future advancements in storage technology.

With support for HEVC (H.265), High Sierra devices will be able to enable video streaming and playback of 4K video files at high quality, while dwindling the size by 40 percent in comparison to the current H.264 standard. Apple said that the new HEVC update will allow for "high-quality video streaming" on networks where only basic HD streaming was previously possible. High Sierra will work in tandem with today's refreshes of the iMac and MacBook lines to deliver fast and power-efficient HEVC encoding and editing.

Metal 2 will bring a refined API and improved performance to Apple's graphics technology, allowing developers to accelerate development of their apps in a number of ways. The technology introduces support for machine learning used in speech recognition, natural language processing powers, and computer vision capabilities. With Metal 2 and the new Mac hardware line-up, High Sierra will be able to support VR content creation for the first time on Mac.

During the keynote, Apple announced a couple of big name game studios are putting their support behind VR on Mac, including Valve and Epic.

Drawing on the performance of Metal 2 and the latest Mac hardware, macOS High Sierra adds support for VR content creation for the first time, enabling developers to create immersive gaming, 3D and VR content on the Mac. Leading VR companies are joining Apple to drive VR innovation on the Mac with features coming later this year — Valve is optimizing their SteamVR platform for macOS and enabling connection of the HTC Vive headset, while Unity and Epic are bringing their VR development tools to macOS. Also later this year, Final Cut Pro X will add support for professional 360-degree workflows with the ability to import, edit and export 360-degree video.

Apple also promised that many of its most popular apps will be updated with refinements in High Sierra, including major new additions within Photos. A new always-on sidebar will give users a glimpse at their albums and a few organization tools, while a redesigned Edit view includes new toolsets. Live Photos can also be turned into GIFs that repeat now, and Memories will be curated around new topics, including some for pets.

high sierra 1
In High Sierra, Photos will support external editors, so other apps like Photoshop and Pixelmator can be launched directly within Apple's Photos app, and any edits made will be saved back to the user's Photos library. Additionally, support for third-party project extensions like Animoto, Shutterfly, ifolor, WhiteWall, and Wix, will give users the ability to print and publish their favorite pictures directly within Photos.

Other macOS High Sierra app updates include:

- Safari can automatically use Reader to open articles in a clean, uncluttered format, while Autoplay Blocking stops media with audio from automatically playing in the browser.
- Intelligent Tracking Prevention in Safari uses machine learning to identify and remove the tracking data that advertisers employ to follow users’ web activity.
- Mail search gets faster and easier with Top Hits, which puts the most relevant results at the top of a user’s message list.
- Siri on the Mac responds with a natural and more expressive voice, and when using Apple Music, it learns music preferences, creates custom playlists and answers music trivia.
- Notes adds simple tables, where a user can type in cells, make edits and move rows and columns.
- Spotlight provides flight status information, including departure and arrival times, delays, gates, terminals and even a map of the flight path.
- iCloud File Sharing lets users share any file stored in iCloud Drive and collaborate with other people.

Developers will be able to gain access to a beta of macOS High Sierra beginning today, and public beta testers will be able to download the new system software later in June. Later in the fall, High Sierra will officially launch to the public, along with iOS 11 and watchOS 4.

Top Rated Comments

rawweb Avatar
49 months ago
Even more underwhelming than last year's Sierra announcement.
Speak for yourself, I consider eGPU support to be monumental.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zhang96 Avatar
49 months ago
Kudos on blocking nasty autoplays, saving the web.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
647156 Avatar
49 months ago
Looking forward to using APFS from High Sierra on my G3, seems the compatibility is already there from the last update :)



Attachment Image
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RezSeeker Avatar
49 months ago
I'm glad they're working on refining existing software rather than spending time on reinventing parts of the wheel. I'll be happy to have an even more bulletproof and faster OS over the next year and a half.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TomA Avatar
49 months ago
Um, really? That's it?

wow great i can hardly wait... yay... sigh

I thought Macs were going to be given more attention now? Guess not.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Glassed Silver Avatar
49 months ago
H.265 FINALLY.

HALLELUJAH.


I'm sure the forum will be pleased to hear that one of my main gripes is now resolved and I will shut up about it!

SWEET!

Glassed Silver:mac
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple transfer google photos 1

Apple Launches Service for Transferring iCloud Photos and Videos to Google Photos

Wednesday March 3, 2021 12:04 pm PST by
Apple this week introduced a new service that's designed to make it quick and easy for iCloud users to transfer their stored photos and videos to Google Photos. As outlined in an Apple support document, you can go to Apple's privacy website and sign in to see the "Transfer a copy of your data" option. If you select this and go through all the steps, Apple will transfer your iCloud photos and ...
PIA23764 RoverNamePlateonMars web

NASA Mars Perseverance Rover Uses Same PowerPC Chipset Found in 1998 G3 iMac

Tuesday March 2, 2021 3:21 am PST by
NASA's Perseverance rover, which recently made history landing on the surface of Mars, is powered by the same processor used in an iMac more than 23 years old. Image Credit: NASA As reported by NewScientist (via Gizmodo), the rover includes the PowerPC 750 processor, the same chip used in the G3 iMac in 1998. The main chipset is the same; however, there are differences between the...
rosetta 2

Rosetta May Be Removed From M1 Macs in Some Regions on macOS 11.3

Tuesday March 2, 2021 5:20 pm PST by
Installing the upcoming macOS 11.3 software update on an M1 Mac may result in Rosetta 2 being removed in one or more regions around the world. In the third beta of macOS 11.3 seeded to developers for testing today, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser uncovered new strings in the beta's code indicating that "Rosetta will be removed upon installing this update." Another new string reads "Rosetta ...
iphone 6 in hand

Apple Faces Another iPhone Lawsuit Over 'Programmed Obsolescence'

Monday March 1, 2021 6:44 am PST by
Apple faces a new class-action lawsuit that accuses it of deliberately releasing iOS updates that slowly reduce the performance of an iPhone, forcing customers to upgrade their devices. The lawsuit comes from the Portuguese Consumer Protection Agency, Deco Proteste (via Marketeer), which in a statement says that it will proceed with a case against the Cupertino tech giant because it...
magsafe charging brick feature

Prosser: iPhone 12 MagSafe Battery Pack to Feature Reverse Charging

Monday March 1, 2021 1:18 pm PST by
Apple is working on MagSafe-compatible battery packs that will be compatible with the iPhone 12 models, and leaker Jon Prosser today said on the Genius Bar podcast that one version of the battery pack will feature "reverse charging." According to Prosser, Apple is working on two versions of the battery packs, one that's a standard version and one that's a premium version with reverse...
Screen Shot 2021 03 03 at 11

MagSafe Charging Port for iPhone Appears in Apple Patent

Wednesday March 3, 2021 1:30 am PST by
In a newly granted patent, Apple envisions a type of connectivity port using an iteration of its magnetic MagSafe charger to charge an iPhone, potentially paving the way for a future without Lightning. Submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday (via Patently Apple), the patent outlines a three-pinned MagSafe charger, similar to the ones found in older MacBook...
Apple Prefer Lightning Over USB C Feature

iPhone Sticking With Lightning Port Over USB-C for 'Foreseeable Future'

Tuesday March 2, 2021 9:32 am PST by
Apple will retain the Lightning connector on the iPhone for the "foreseeable future," with no intention of switching to USB-C, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In spite of much of the industry moving toward USB-C, Apple will not be using it to replace the Lightning connector on the iPhone 13, or indeed on any iPhone model for the time being. In a note seen by MacRumors yesterday,...
iPad mini pro feature

Sketchy Rumor Claims 'iPad Mini Pro' Launching in Second Half of 2021

Wednesday March 3, 2021 3:04 am PST by
Apple is expected to launch a sixth-generation iPad mini in the first half of 2021, possibly as soon as this March, based on long-standing rumors. However, a new rumor out of Asia that has gained traction in the last 24 hours suggests an "iPad mini Pro" will arrive in the second half of this year. According to a post on Korean blog Naver, whose rumor track record is unknown, the device...
apple pencil 3 leak

New Apple Pencil Allegedly Leaks With Glossy Finish and Redesigned Tip

Wednesday March 3, 2021 6:17 am PST by
Images supposedly depicting a third-generation Apple Pencil have been shared on Twitter by the leaker known as "Mr. White." The purported new Apple Pencil appears to share a very similar design to the current, second-generation Apple Pencil, which is shorter than the previous version and charges inductively on the side of an iPad. The updated Apple Pencil appears to have a glossy...
apple watch ecg wrist

Apple Watch ECG Feature Gets Approved in Australia

Wednesday March 3, 2021 2:07 am PST by
The Australian government has approved ECG functionality on the Apple Watch, giving Apple the all-clear to launch the feature for Apple Watch users in the country, according to a regulatory document first spotted by The 8-Bit. Earlier last month, the Apple Watch's irregular heart rhythm notification received approval in Australia, although ECG did not. Irregular heart rhythm is a feature...