Earlier today, Apple started rolling out macOS High Sierra public beta for those who want to try out the new operating system before the official release. The new operating system brings some key refinements in the form of new Apple File System (APFS), improved Photos app with new tools, Virtual Reality (VR) support, HEVC video codec and more. We downloaded the macOS High Sierra public beta on a MacBook Air to try it out, and here s a quick look at what s new. Also Read - iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 heading to the stores soon, launch event still rumored on October 13
Apple File System (APFS)Also Read - Apple iPhone 12 Mini could cost $700, lack 5G connectivity; Here’s everything we know about the compact smartphone
One of the radical changes in macOS High Sierra is the new Apple File System, which is optimized for SSD / flash storage that is used on new Mac computers. Apple says that the new file system is faster, efficient and focuses on both security and encryption. The new file system helps in saving space, and it is easily noticeable too. Also Read - Apple Watch Series 3 users should wait before updating to watchOS 7; Here's why
Before installing High Sierra, I had about 76GB free space (out of 128GB) and 3GB was unused (purgeable storage), but post the installation, I now have about 79GB free space. The directory sizing has also become faster when you click on Get Info screen, you no longer need to wait for macOS to calculate the folder size. The new OS is designed to keep a track of directory / file size in real-time, and display it right away when needed.
What s more, High Sierra can also take snapshots of read-only files, making backups easier and reliable. Apple claims it can also help in crash protection, thus ensuring you have more peace of mind. ALSO READ: How to install macOS High Sierra public beta on your MacBook, iMac or Mac mini right now
Videos get better, consume less space
Looking at the rising popularity of 4K videos, Apple has introduced new standard for these high-resolution videos in the form of HEVC codec. Also known as H.265, the new codec can compress videos by up to 40 percent compared to the current standard, while preventing loss in video quality. The implementation can greatly help you save good amount of space on your Mac. Now, while all Macs will get support for this new codec, the hardware acceleration required for encoding and playback will be exclusive to new Macs with latest hardware.
New edit tools in Photos app
The Photos app on Mac, iPhones and iPad makes it easier to manage your photo library and sync your photos and videos across devices. Apple wants to make the photo editing app even more robust, and to do so, it has added some nifty refinements to it. ALSO READ: Apple iOS 11 public beta released: How to install it on your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch
The sidebar with your library, live photos, albums and memories is now even more persistent on the sidebar. You can even view your photos based on the type of media — slow-mo videos, selfies, burst shots, depth effect, screenshots, time-lapse and more. The new update also finally supports GIFs.
The photo editing options have also been reworked with more tools. Some of these include selective color, which lets you change color of specific things in a photo without affecting the entire image, curves for finer adjustments, and compare button for easy reference of before and after photos. ALSO READ: How to downgrade from iOS 11 public beta to iOS 10.3.3 in 5 easy steps
Safari browser gets better, functional
Let s admit it, the auto-playing audio, videos and ad-tracking on websites are quite annoying. Apple understands that, and it is trying everything to ensure users get better experience when surfing through their favorite websites.
Apple has added new features to Safari browser to block all those auto-playing ads. It can either stop all content with audio or play everything. Safari browser will also let you individually block annoying content on the websites. ALSO READ: Apple brings in these top new features in the iPhone and iPad with the iOS 11 beta 2 build release
With Reading Mode
Ads are other annoying things on most websites. And when overstuffed, it distracts your reading experience. A lot of users usually resort to Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera Mini ad blocking extensions to block out those annoying ads. To deal with these issues, Apple has added a dedicated reading mode to Safari browser, which can be activated for certain websites from settings or can be toggled from the side of address bar. And it does work as expected.
Without Reading Mode
Siri gets new tricks
The Siri logo on macOS has been slightly revamped, and it can now accept music related requests too. Besides playing music based on song name or artist, you can also ask Siri to play some music and the assistant will play a personalized playlist. You can even ask Siri to play genre-specific songs using your voice commands. ALSO READ: WWDC 2017: Here are the top features of iOS 11
The mail app tends to eat up a considerable amount of space, especially when you sync your mail accounts. With High Sierra, Apple has made improvements claiming that the app will now consume 35 percent less space. The search functionality has also been improved. Other than that, the Notes app now lets you pin important notes to the top of the list.
iMessages also gets an update where deleting a message on iOS device will also delete it on Mac, and vice-versa. Lastly, macOS High Sierra also gets VR support where you will be able to connect an external graphics card using Thunderbolt 3 port and enjoy games using virtual reality headsets too. However, the functionality is expected to be rolled out sometime next year, mostly in Spring.