It has been a week since Apple released the first beta of macOS Sonoma, and I’ve had some time to explore the new features it brings to the Mac. In this initial review, I’ll focus on the key features introduced in this update, setting aside stability for now.
One of the first things Apple advertises on the macOS Sonoma preview page is screensavers. While screensavers may not sound groundbreaking, Apple has added some nice touches. The slow-motion aerial footage of California and other landmarks looks stunning. Although similar screensavers have been available on Apple TV for years, Apple has now made it more seamless, switching from screensaver to desktop with a beautiful transition.
2. Shared Passwords
macOS Sonoma finally introduces the ability to share stored passwords with friends and family. While this is a welcome addition, it feels like something that should have been available sooner, given that third-party password managers have offered this functionality for a while.
3. Improved Messages Search
The update brings a faster and more accurate search feature to Messages. While this is undoubtedly useful, it’s another feature that seems overdue, as search functionality in messaging apps has been a standard for some time.
4. Desktop Widgets
Widgets on the desktop are another new addition. While widgets have appeared in various forms on Macs over the years, they can now be placed directly on the desktop. Although a nice feature, it may not be considered a flagship improvement for macOS Sonoma.
Favorite New Features
1. Web Apps
One standout feature is the ability to create web apps from your favorite websites, effectively turning them into dedicated applications on your Mac. This feature streamlines access to frequently visited websites and enhances the overall user experience.
2. Continuity Camera
macOS Sonoma improves Continuity Camera by offering more granular control over image capture. This is a significant enhancement for users who rely on this feature for tasks like document scanning and image insertion.
3. Gaming Mode
Apple introduces a dedicated gaming mode, optimizing GPU and CPU performance for gaming, reducing background tasks, and minimizing latency for peripherals like gaming controllers and AirPods.
4. New Games
A variety of new games are coming to the Mac, including titles like No Man’s Sky, Stray, Death Stranding Director’s Cut, and World of Warcraft: Dragonplay. Apple is also making it easier to develop games for the Mac with a new porting kit.
5. iPhone Widgets on Mac
You can now view iPhone widgets on your Mac, allowing for seamless integration between your iPhone and Mac. This feature provides quick access to information and functions from your iPhone directly on your Mac’s desktop.
Web Apps: A New Way to Use Your Favorite Websites
The ability to create web apps from frequently visited websites is a game-changer. Imagine having a dedicated app icon on your Mac for your favorite news website, project management tool, or any other site you visit regularly. This feature not only simplifies your workflow but also offers a more organized and efficient way to access web content. It’s akin to having custom-built applications tailored to your browsing needs.
Continuity Camera: Enhanced Control Over Image Capture
Continuity Camera has been a valuable feature for macOS, enabling seamless integration between your Mac and your iPhone’s camera. With the improvements in Sonoma, you can now fine-tune your image capture experience. Preview images, select specific lenses, and apply studio lighting or portrait mode to your photos before inserting them into documents or emails. These enhancements make Continuity Camera an even more powerful tool for users who rely on visual content.
Gaming Mode: Elevating the Gaming Experience on Mac
For gamers, the introduction of a dedicated gaming mode is a noteworthy addition. This mode not only optimizes the performance of your Mac by prioritizing CPU and GPU resources but also reduces background tasks. This means your games will run smoother than ever before. Moreover, peripherals like gaming controllers and AirPods now benefit from reduced latency, enhancing your overall gaming experience on macOS.
Expanding the Game Library: More Titles for Mac Users
The inclusion of new titles like No Man’s Sky, Stray, and World of Warcraft: Dragonplay marks a significant step forward for gaming on the Mac platform. Gamers have often felt left out when it comes to available titles on macOS, but these additions demonstrate Apple’s commitment to bridging that gap. Furthermore, the introduction of a new porting kit makes it easier for developers to bring their games to the Mac, potentially leading to a broader selection of games in the future.
iPhone Widgets on Mac: Seamless Integration Across Devices
The ability to view iPhone widgets on your Mac desktop is a compelling feature for users who value quick access to information. Whether it’s checking your health stats, monitoring your smart home devices, or receiving updates from your favorite apps, this integration streamlines your digital life. You can now interact with your iPhone’s widgets without taking your phone out of your pocket, creating a more connected and efficient user experience.
In conclusion, macOS Sonoma brings several notable improvements and refinements to the Mac ecosystem. While some features may seem overdue, the update is expected to enhance the overall user experience. Despite the lack of flashy standout features, macOS Sonoma promises a more polished and stable operating system. As Apple continues to fine-tune its software, the Mac is set to deliver a better and faster user experience.