Apple MacOS High Sierra reveals: What you need to know

Apple has made its latest desktop and laptop operating system available for download. Here are the features and enhancements you get with the MacOS High Sierra update.

Apple has made its latest desktop operating system available for download. Known as the Max High Sierra 10.13, the software upgrade brings many new features, including the new Apple file system for Mac, including SSDs (APFS), Safari 11, iCloud file sharing, Photos app updates, and more.

As the name suggests, the High Sierra Mac brings small noticeable changes to owners, but makes a bunch of under-the-hood improvements to ensure better performance. Mac desktop and laptop users can now upgrade to the new macOS 10.13 for free. All Macs launched in mid-2010 or later may upgrade to newer software

To download Hi Sierra, users need to go to their Mac’s App Store and download the High Sierra installer to start the update.

Apple File System (APFS)

APFS is a built-in all-flash storage currently only available for Macs Currently, Fusion Drives cannot be converted to APFS, according to an Apple support document released last week. However, Apple’s head of software engineering, Craig Federighi, has confirmed that the update will come later on Fusion Drive.

Apple File System (APFS) is an upgrade to Apple’s HFS + file system that has been in use since 1998. It was rolled out to iOS devices with the release of software version 10.3. It is designed with latency in mind and offers crash protection, powerful file encryption, support for 64-bit inode numbers, easy backup, instant file copying, better navigation for general work and much more.

HEVC and HEIF media file formats

With High Sierra, Apple is introducing new formats for photos and videos, designed to save space on Macs. HEVC format for video and HEIF for image is designed to maintain the quality of the media file, while the file size is relatively small, saving valuable disk space. The formats are already supported by the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone X and 2017 iPad Pros, so it’s only understandable to include them with the latest macOS update.

Safari 11

Mac users will be able to experience Safari 11 with the latest High Sierra update. However, you do not need to upgrade to macOS High Sierra to get Safari 11. The browser can be updated without installing a new OS.

Safari 11 allows users to customize settings for individual websites and save these custom settings for future use. These can be accessed by right-clicking on a website’s URL and selecting the ‘Settings for this website’ option. It can also be accessed from Safari’s Preferences tab. These custom settings include enabling ad blockers, using readers, setting page zoom, setting auto-playing media, setting camera permissions, and more. Once set up, these settings will be saved when you visit that particular website.

Apple has added Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) to Safari 11 ITP uses machine learning to block third-party cookie trackers to improve user privacy.

Photo app

With the new MacOS High Sierra, users will notice a bunch of improvements to the Native Photos app on Macs. This is one of the most notable changes that software updates bring with it. The Photos app will now display a sidebar that will serve as the main navigation area instead of the top tab that Apple used before. The sidebar will show five categories: Library, Device, Sharing, Album and Project.

A toolbar at the top of the screen will allow users to toggle between different editing sidebars, creating a chaotic interface. There are also new tools for editing live photos and users will be able to select a static image called ‘Key Photo’ to represent a live photo, along with the ability to trim, apply effects, mute clips and more.

Users will be able to launch third-party photo editing apps like Luminaire, Aurora HDR and more directly from the local photo app. Photos edited using third party apps will be saved in the original photo library.

Metal 2

Metal 2 is Apple’s advanced graphics technology that enables speech recognition, natural language processing, and machine learning to enable machine learning. Metal 2 combined with Thunderbolt 3 will allow Mac users to take advantage of the powerful external GPU.

Virtual reality

macOS High Sierra will allow Mac users to experience VR content. Apple is working with developers to create VR games and other content that will hit Mac later this year. Valve is optimizing its SteamVR platform for MacOS and enabling connectivity to the HTC Viv headset, while Unity and Epic are bringing their VR development tools to MacOS, the company says.

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