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MacOS High Sierra: Top 6 new features you need to know from WWDC

Posted June 5, 2017 | Mac

Following in the spirit of Mountain Lion and El Capitan, this year’s version of macOS is more of a maintenance release than a full-on new version. Called High Sierra, the new operating system is more about refinements than new features, as it aims to make your Mac more reliable, capable, and responsive, while laying the foundation for future innovations in the worlds of VR and AR.

But of course there will be cool stuff to play with right away. Even if there aren’t any major new features, High Sierra is still packed with a ton of cool stuff we can’t wait to get our hands on when it launches later this fall. Here are six of the best things about the newest version of macOS.

A new file system

Ever since System 8, the Mac has utilized the HFS+ file system to keep our documents and directories running smoothly, but at last year’s WWDC a new Apple File System (APFS) was announced. It made it into iOS with the iOS 10.3 update, and with High Sierra it’s also coming to the Mac. But where the changes to iOS are largely behind the scenes, you’ll really get it see it in action in the new macOS.

One of the main tenets of High Sierra, APFS will be new the new default file system, bringing an advanced 64-bit architecture and a responsive design to cut down on the time it takes to do common tasks. Apple VP Craig Federighi quickly demoed how fast files are copied, and it should save quite a bit of time, even on older Macs. And it also brings some heavy-duty security, including built‑in encryption, crash‑safe protections, and simplified data backup on the go.

Better Photos

Photos is rapidly becoming one of the most used apps on our Macs, and in High Sierra it looks we’ll be spending even more time with it. A slew of new features await us in the new OS, including better organization, looped Live Photos, and new Memories categories. It’ll also be easier to identify who’s in your photos with more accurate People identification and cross-device syncing for albums.


The new Photos app in High Sierra features new pro-level editing tools.

But the coolest feature is the new built-in editing tools. Photos already lets us make some awesome adjustments to our snapshots, but High Sierra seriously ups the game with powerful pro-level tools—like a curves palette for fine-tuning color and contrast, a selective color dropper to home in a specific hue, and new filters that will make your photos fit for an art gallery. And if you think your photos are gallery- or album-worthy, Apple has now partnered with third-party apps to give you more publishing and printing options.

Speedier, smarter Safari

Apple’s browser always gets a tune-up whenever a new version of macOS comes out, but this time around Federighi says the improvements coming in High Sierra actually make it the world’s fastest desktop browser. It features 80 percent faster JavaScript performance when compared to Chrome, which should help us surf way quicker.

But we’re more interested in two new features that are coming in the new browser. The first will eliminate one of the more annoying features of the modern web: autoplay videos. Where Safari in Sierra tells you which tab is playing audio, in High Sierra, it will shut it down before it can start. A new feature called autoplay blocking will detect which sites that are delivering unwanted videos and presses the pause button for you.

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