Seriously. macOS High Sierra is the most boring update to a macOS since Mac OS X Snow Leopard back in the day. I installed it last week on our desktop iMac, and on each of our MacBook Pro models. The installation took longer than expected but it’s taking longer to figure out what’s new.
Yes, before macOS High Sierra launched I read a bunch of the articles online which highlighted all the goodies soon to grace my Mac’s screen. Where are they? Well, they’re in there. Somewhere. You just might not notice them right away.
Almost unnoticed is Apple’s new file system called APFS; short for Apple File System, which showed up earlier this year on iPhones and iPads. Imagine swapping out file systems for nearly a billion customers and hardly a hiccup. Mac users get the same treat in macOS High Sierra, but what APFS does bring to users is mostly hidden.
Not so hidden is Photos which now has a few more tools to enhance photos, including a way to fine-tune color and contrast, a bunch of new filters, and more printing and publishing options. It’s not Photoshop but it’s built-in, easy to use, and an improvement you won’t notice unless someone tells you or you go looking for it.
Just as hidden are the changes in Safari which is faster; at least faster than Chrome, which is running like Microsoft’s Internet Explorer these days. Chrome on my iMac won’t update on its own and requires new versions to be downloaded and re-installed. What’s with that, Google? Lots of other Mac users have the same problem. What I like about Safari– other than the speed of rendering web pages– is the built-in ad tracker blockers designed to prevent cross site cookies from tracking you while you browse. In Safari.
Another change to macOS High Sierra is deep within the software mechanics, too. It’s called Metal 2, a low-level and low overhead hardware accelerated graphics API. That’s geek for ‘make graphics go faster.’ I have no way to know how well Metal 2 works when compared to whatever was on my Mac in macOS Sierra.
macOS High Sierra is sufficiently boring that I had to browse around some of those early reviews to see what was changed from last year’s macOS.
There’s a full-screen view in Mail which splits the display. I use Airmail these days. Notes has tables. That’s handy. FaceTime captures a Live Photo from the other person’s camera. That’s creepy. Oh, and Siri has a new voice which sounds more human.
This is the least fun upgrade for macOS in many years, but the more you scratch the more you find under the hood improvements, vs. those that are cosmetic or functional. The most publicized new feature in macOS High Sierra is a bug which exposes your passwords. That seems to have been fixed in Thursdays Supplemental Update.
Despite very little that is exciting about High Sierra, it’s free so there’s not much room to complain. But I worry that macOS isn’t getting the attention iOS gets every year and that does not bode well for the future.