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What’s new in macOS High Sierra? The best new macOS features reviewed

Apple has taken the wraps off the new MacOS at WWDC 2017 and it’s called MacOS High Sierra. So what’s new in this macOS update and are any of these features worth updating your Mac computer for?

Check out our first impressions of High Sierra to see what we think of the following new MacOS features. We’ve also compiled a guide on downloading the beta to your own Mac computer, along with the system requirements and other essential info. 

Faster, smarter Safari

Apple claims that updating to High Sierra makes Safari the world’s fastest desktop browser, comfortably beating the likes of Google Chrome. New Java means an 80 percent faster performance than Chrome, in fact, or so says Apple.

Autoplay blocking is a new addition that we’re genuinely excited about, however. This stops those annoying adverts and promoted videos that play as soon as you arrive on a website, soemthing we all know and loathe.

Your general online privacy has been enhanced too, with tracking software kept at bay by Safari’s new smarts in this 2017 update. You can expect those targeted ads to stop popping up all over the place, as your web trail is masked and your history is kept private.

Read next: Long-term MacBook Pro 2017 review

Mail boost

Any searches you conduct in Mail with MacOS High Sierra now uses Spotlight, so you can find everything you need at a glance. Split View also works now in Mail with this update, for composing on one side of the screen with your emails still on show. Mail now uses 35 percent less disk space too, giving you more room for all of your smutty pics….uhh, treasured family photos.

Photos enhanced

In MacOS High Sierra, you can also expect some updates to the Photos app. For instance, there’s now a persistent sidebar, plus a new view of your photos in chronological order with a filter for key words, to pick out specific photographs.

Faces is better now too, with some recognition enhancement. If you actually name people within the Photos app by clicking on them and entering their moniker, this also synchronises across all of your devices with the latest update.

Editing has had a bump too, with new options to fine-tune colour and contrast levels in any image. Also, if you edit one of your photos in another platform, those edits auto-sync back to your photo library. Nice and consistent.

Printing and website publishing is also easier right inside Photos with the High Sierra upgrade.

Read next: How to get better battery life from your MacBook laptop

Apple Files

The new default files system, imaginatively called Apple Files, makes handling files all the better in MacOS. This is a 64-bit app, complete with crash protection and native encryption to keep your data safe. It’s super fast, so copying files and other common tasks are as nippy as possible.

Video playback

Video has evolved from H.264 to keep up with the spread of 4K HDR video, so Apple now supports H.265 codecs for maximum quality in playback. You’ll also enjoy up to 40 per cent improvement in compression compared with the last generation. The newest Macs will even offer hardware acceleration for this codec.

Incredible graphics, eye-melting VR

Apple’s Metal software tech (which is important for anything involving lush visuals) has been enhanced with an all-new version, which is of course named Metal 2.

Metal 2 is even faster than the original version, offering up to 10 times quicker draw call throughput. Faster frame debugging and performance analysis is also an improvement in High Sierra. What that all means is you can expect better quality graphics, with games running smoothly on a capable enough machine.

There will be a new dev kit for developers working on external graphics for High Sierra. Also, say hello to Metal for VR, which makes creating virtual reality content a lot easier for devs – even in apps like Final Cut Pro.

The Steam VR system will hit Mac too, so virtual reality fiends will have plenty to play with.

Check out our full MacBook Pro tips and tricks guide to get the most from your Mac laptop.


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