Apple’s latest version of its desktop operating system, macOS Sierra, is now available to regular users like us, and not just to those brave souls known as developers who kick the tyres of the pre-release versions so we don’t have to. Want to try it out? Head over to this link to download and install it.
So, what’s changed? For a start, Apple’s digital, personal voice assistant Siri is now part of Sierra. In the early days Siri was like that hard-of-hearing aunt who always misheard you and thought you were being rude about her geraniums, but of late we’ve found it surprisingly attentive, savvy and downright funny (“Siri, what’s zero divided by zero?”), even if it’s Suth Efrican accent makes it sound like an extra in Blood Diamond.
With Siri for Mac you can search for documents, perform internet searches, change your system preferences and bark all manner of other commands. Of course, Siri works best with Apple’s own apps, but hopefully that’ll change as developers take advantage of Apple’s newfound relaxed attitude to letting Siri play nicely with third-party apps and services on mobile.
With Sierra you’ll also get an updated universal clipboard that’ll let you move content between Apple devices more easily, all sorts of updates to the much reviled iCloud that’ll hopefully make it more reliable, and thus less detestable, an overhauled Photos app that includes automagically generated collections of photos and videos called Memories, object and face recognition and a bunch of other things that we already love about Google Photos.
And if you’ve got an Apple Watch languishing in a drawer you might want to dust it off and charge it up because Sierra now lets you use it to unlock your laptop or desktop. It’s certainly not a feature that’s going to make us want an Apple Watch any more than we currently do (which is pretty much not at all), but it’s a move in keeping with Apple’s desire to ensure its various pieces of hardware work well together.
Sierra also gets Apple Pay integration, but as there’s no support for the payment service in South Africa yet this makes no difference to us. Still, good to know it’s there if we ever do get the service.
Apple’s also overhauled its Messages app to include the new features added to mobile devices with iOS 10, users can now have multiple tabs in all sorts of apps (not just Finder and Safari), video in iTunes and Safari now allows for picture-in-picture viewing and Apple Music and the Notification Centre for Mac have been overhauled, too.
The free update supports all Macs introduced since late 2009. If you need to check if your device is supported, head over to Apple’s Sierra page or click the Apple logo in the top left of your screen and select “About this Mac” from the dropdown menu.