8 more macOS Sierra features you’ll use

Welcome to macOS Siri

Apple, OS X, WWDC, Mac, macOS, macOS Sierra, operating systems
Credit: Apple

Apple’s big iPhone reveal is approaching and Mac users like you and I are hoping we will soon be able to use the final version of the big macOS update, Sierra. When we get to do this (and it may not be for a few more weeks yet), here are a few things we can look forward to doing in the new OS.

Just ask Siri

You’ll definitely want to enable and use Siri, and you’ll be pleased to have done so – it’s incredibly useful on a Mac. What’s the first thing you should ask? I suggest asking Siri, “What can you do?” You will see a huge collection of commands gathered according to app. It’s the best way to get to know how Siri works on a Mac, other than reading this article, of course.

Keep the answer

Sometimes when you ask Siri a question you’ll find you can save the answer to Notification Center. Sometimes you can save those answers as a widget, you’ll be able to see that if a plus icon appears to the top right of Siri’s responses. This is quite useful for sports scores, for example. It’s also a great way to avoid running searches more than once.

Universal Clipboard and iCloud Desktop

You won’t even think about iCloud Desktop until you find yourself looking for – and finding – something on a mobile device or another Mac. As for Universal Clipboard, just think about how it can impact your workflow: Use a Mac to do your research, and easily copy and paste ideas over to your iPad to work on it in a photo app, for example. You won’t feel an immediate benefit but in the coming weeks you’ll find the way you work changes just a little.

Staying on top of storage

Your personal collection of data accumulates over time. Those pictures you took in 2004 take up just as much space as they did then. How much space do you now have on your Mac? Find out the easy way by asking Siri, “How much storage do I have on this Mac?”, tap ‘Show Details’ and you’ll be able to take a look. If you tap ‘Manage’ you’ll be able to deploy those new storage options, such as Store in iCloud, Optimize Storage, Empty Trash Automatically, and Reduce Clutter.

Memories

Festooned with sexy privacy, Memories is a new feature in Photos that parses through all your new images to automatically assemble collections that you’ll probably enjoy. When you upgrade to Sierra don’t expect too much immediately, your Mac will need to spend a little time thinking (it parses 4,000 different objects and seven facial expressions). However, after a certain amount of time you’ll open Photos, navigate to Memories and probably get some good feelings seeing those automated collections. They’re good. Oh, one more thing – that search field in Photos is able to put together collections based on those words too, try searching for rivers, forests of cars, you’ll see a collection of categories appear. (And one other thing, why type it when you can tell Siri, “Show me photos taken in Portugal”?) You’ll be astonished by what the AI picks up. I know I am.

Apple Watch

If you use an Apple Watch you’ll want to open the Security & Privacy section in Siri’s System Preferences to enable the ability to unlock your Mac when you approach it while wearing your Watch.

Handwriting in Messages

This new Messages feature may justify those Apple Pencil on iPhone rumors, but I think we’ll see a slight lag before we get platform parity on this.

Do not disturb

You can set the Do Not Disturb feature to your requirements in System Preferences. Then you can use Siri to enable or disable it. Simples.

When can I get it?

Don’t hold your breath… I think we’re looking at October. I do wonder if there’s anything else planned around then?

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