macOS High Sierra has been announced at WWDC 2017 by Apple. The latest update to Apple’s popular desktop operating system, now at version 10.13, ships with major updates including a new file system called Apple File System (AFS for short), HEVC codec for video playback and compression, Metal 2 API, Virtual Reality support and much more.
Will macOS High Sierra support your iMac or MacBook?
Sierra had dropped support for a few Mac models last year. macOS High Sierra supports the same Macs as Sierra did.:
- iMac (Late 2009 or newer)
- MacBook (Late 2009 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)
- MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer)
- Mac mini (Mid 2010 or newer)
- Mac Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)
Some features like VR and HEVC in macOS High Sierra will not be available on all Macs.
What’s new in macOS High Sierra?
Based on the performance, technology and feature updates, macOS High Sierra seems to be an update to macOS sierra like how OS X Snow Leopard was an update to Leopard. The update does not have a lot new in terms of features, apart from keeping compatibility with iOS 11 updates where needed. However, the best upgrades are internal changes and improvements.
Here is the complete list of new features:
- Apple File System. AFS is a huge upgrade over Hierarchical File System (HFS) which Apple has used for a few decades. macOS had been using HFS+ since OS X was launched. With all the improvements in storage technology, especially fast performing Flash based storage, it was time for Apple to use a modern file storage system too. AFS has a 64-bit architecture and is extremely responsive. Tasks like file duplication and file/folder sizes calculation are instant. It also has built-in encryption, protection against crashes and simplifies backups by using delta clones which reduce the amount of storage space required for backups.
- High-Efficiency Video Coding. HEVC h.265 is an industry standard codec that provides almost 40 percent smaller file size than the popular H.264 standard codec, while provide better video quality, even at 4K. It not only provides faster streaming over Internet but it is also hardware accelerated in the latest iMacs, MacBook Pros and iMacs which results in faster encoding and editing while using lower power. 4K HEVC content playback is supported on Macs with 6th generation Intel Core (Skylake) processors or newer.
- Metal 2. The 2nd version of Metal provides 10x performance over Metal 1 which had 10x more performance than OpenGL. It also supports machine learning, external graphics and virtual reality in macOS High Sierra.
- Virtual Reality is finally supported by macOS and the latest Macs. SteamVR will be coming soon to macOS to enable HTC Vive compatibility with Macs while Unity and Epic will be shipping their development tools as well. Apple will also update Final Cut Pro X with support for VR editing.
- Photos app now has design updates for easier content discovery and organization, new editing tools, new effects for Live Photos, smarter Memories feature and support for external editors like Photoshop and Pixelmator. Support for third-party printing and publishing services is also available in Photos.
- Safari has also become smarter in High Sierra. It now automatically opens articles in Reader View and automatically blocks autoplay content. This means that you will not have to worry about websites where audio and video playback automatically starts on load. Safari also lets you set preferences for individual websites so you can set content blocking to not work on a website or to always open it in Reader mode. Intelligent Tracking Prevention blocks tracking data without blocking ads so you can browse with much more privacy than before. Safari is also much faster than before and even more battery friendly on MacBooks.
- Mail app has faster and improved search and uses lesser storage space.
- Siri on Mac has the same updates as iOS 11. An updated design and a natural voice along with Apple Music updates.
- Notes app now supports tables
- Spotlight shows detailed flight information.
- iCloud Drive now supports File Sharing.
- iMessage now syncs with iCloud. Your message history is stored in iCloud and synced across all your Mac and iOS devices.
- FaceTime now supports Live Photos. When you take a Live Photo during a FaceTime call, both participants will be notified.
- iCloud storage plans can now be shared with families. You just can buy a single plan and share the storage space with your family members.
When will macOS High Sierra be released?
macOS High Sierra will be released this fall, for free, for all compatible Macs. A public beta will be available for all users this month while a developer preview is already available for registered Apple Developers.
Stay tuned for our ongoing coverage of iOS 11, watchOS 4 and macOS High Sierra.You can also learn how to install the developer previews of iOS 11 on iPhone/iPad, or macOS High Sierra on your Mac using our helpful guides.