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New macOS Sierra release date & new features

Henry Burrell | June 24, 2016
Unlock Mac with Apple Watch, Apple Pay on Mac, Siri on Mac & APFS File System

iCloud Drive and Optimised Storage

iCloud Drive is also receiving a much needed update. For those of us familiar with sprinkling our Mac desktops with files that we need, rejoice - those files are mirrored on your other Macs (if you're rich) and on your iPhone.

Optimised storage for iCloud will automatically back up older files, particularly those that you'll never use again like cache files. It'll make your storage go a lot further before you have to fork out for more, which is great news. It's nice to see Apple thinking about the smaller nuances of its services.

Apple Pay

A further excellent feature coming to macOS Sierra is Apple Pay for Mac. Apple Pay icons will now appear on the buy pages of certain merchants - all you need do is verify your purchases with Touch ID on your iPhone or using your Apple Watch. This will be initially supported in nine countries.

Ahead of Apple's keynote, rumours had suggested that at some point Apple will add a Touch ID fingerprint scanner to its Mac range. This more conservative way of introducing Apple Pay to the Mac still provides many of the benefits, and it's still possible that Touch ID will eventually come to the Mac, too. However, the introduction of Auto Unlock mentioned above seems to be the solution to unlocking the Mac securely without the need for Touch ID.

Tabs

Tabs have also been lovingly reimagined - no longer restricted to Safari, those apps that allow for tabs now (with no developer work needed) will allow you to multi-tab.

Picture-in-Picture

Picture-in-Picture mode allows you to thumbnail view photos and, more impressively, videos from certain apps while doing other things. So long, productivity! Although, for those who work in video editing, features like this will be another Godsend.

Apple File System (APFS)

Now while this may not be as appealing as many of the other features of macOS Sierra, Apple's new proprietary file system is worth a mention. Why? One of the most exciting features of the new file system is space sharing, which helps partitioned drives utilise space on the fly. Let's say you had a 1TB drive with two 100GB partitions, with one nearly full and one almost empty. In this situation, space sharing wouldn't limit the almost-full partition, and would instead note that there is 800GB of free space (the total free disk space) for both partitioned drives. Essentially, APFS treats the partition limits as containers that can be expanded when required. 

Duplicated files won't take up any extra space either - if you duplicate a 2GB drive it wouldn't take up 4GB, instead the copy would access the original version. Then, if you make changes to the oriignal version, the new data is copied to a separate block preserving the original state. 

 

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