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OS X Yosemite FAQ: Big changes coming to your Mac this fall

Macworld Staff | June 5, 2014
This year's update to OS X has been officially previewed, and we know its California place name: Yosemite. But while developers have access to an early version of the new OS now, regular users will have to wait until the fall to use it (unless they sign up for, and get into, the public beta program). So there are lots of questions swirling around out there about OS X Yosemite; based on what we've learned at WWDC (and from testing out the early OS on a system that Apple loaned to Macworld's Jason Snell), here are answers to some of the most common.

What about AirDrop? Don't I already have that on my Mac?

You do, but now it's even better: AirDrop now works between iOS devices and Macs, meaning you'll be able to exchange files on an ad hoc basis between the two, without the need for an Internet connection or even being on the same local network. Need to get a photo to your Mac from your iPhone? Fire up AirDrop. Want to send that PDF from your Mac to your iPad? Same thing. And you'll also be able to limit your sharing so that only your iCloud contacts can see your share requests.

So tell me about iCloud Drive. Is it really like a Dropbox folder?

Sort of: Starting with OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, you'll have access to an iCloud folder on both. That folder syncs with your other Macs and iOS devices (presumably running either Yosemite or iOS 8). If you drag and drop files into it, they will then appear on your other devices.

It looks as though some preliminary support for selective sync may exist, via System Preferences > iCloud > Documents & Data Options. But iCloud Drive doesn't yet appear to have the same robust sync options as Dropbox, nor does it appear to support sharing public links to files or folders. This may change as the system gets closer to release, however.

How much space will I get with iCloud Drive?

5GB for free, but in the fall you should be able to purchase 20GB more for just $1/month or 200GB for $4/month. Apple has even said that it plans to offer plans with up to 1TB of storage — good thing, considering that your iCloud storage limit includes your backups, photos, and documents.

Apps

What's new in Safari?

Following in the footsteps of the Finder redesign, Safari windows have been simplified. By default you will see just a couple of navigation controls, a button for showing or hiding the sidebar, the smart-search field, and Share and Tab View buttons. Also by default, when you click in the smart-search field, your favorites — represented as icons — will appear; just click on one of these icons and the associated site opens. The smart-search field doesn't show an entire URL by default, just the address of the server (say, macworld.com) you're connected to. And the title of the page isn't shown at all, unless you have multiple tabs open.

Browser tabs have changed as well. Although you'll still be able to see multiple tabs in a tab bar, when you click the new Tab View button in the top right corner of the toolbar, you'll see thumbnail previews of all your tabs in the main window. If you have multiple pages from a single site, they'll be stacked within this view. Below these thumbnails are iCloud Tabs — the ones that are open on other devices associated with your Apple ID. Click a preview or one of these iCloud Tab links and the page will open in Safari.

 

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