Apple has announced the latest version of its operating system for Macs and MacBooks at WWDC 2017: macOS 10.13 High Sierra.
Last year’s update to the Mac OS X of old was very well received, bringing better integration between Macs running the software and iPhones and Apple Watch devices.
With the reveal of macOS 10.13 High Sierra now official, here's everything we know so far.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The 2017 edition of Apple’s Mac operating system, macOS
- When is it out? Public beta in late June; full release in autumn
- What will it cost? macOS 10.13 will be free to download
macOS 10.13 High Sierra release date
Apple announced macOS 10.13 High Sierra at the WWDC 2017 keynote event, which came as little surprise, as it's traditional for Apple to announce the latest version of its Mac software at its annual developer event.
But, when will we be able to download and use macOS 10.13 High Sierra? If you’re really keen to try it out – and if you don’t mind using early software that’s potentially buggy and incomplete – then you’ll be able to download the macOS 10.13 High Sierra Developer Preview right now.
Go to the Apple Developer Program enrollment webpage, which will show you everything you need to sign up for the program, which will then allow you to download macOS 10.13 High Sierra Developer Preview.
Bear in mind that this is early software, so we wouldn’t recommend running it on your Mac or MacBook that you rely on every day.
There will be a public beta for macOS 10.13 High Sierra later in June, which will be more stable and feature-complete. For most, we’d recommend waiting until the final version, which Apple says will release this autumn.
macOS 10.13 High Sierra features
Apple has promised a number of exciting new features with macOS 10.13 High Sierra. These include improvements to Safari – which now will thwart ad-tracking and auto-playing videos – and improving Spotlight Search in the Mail App.
Plus, when you’re writing emails, the app now allows split view for the compose window – and it will use up to 35% less disc space as well.
The Photos app has also been updated in macOS 10.13 High Sierra, with a better sorting tool, along with a new layout, better facial recognition thanks to neural networks, and better syncing across all Apple devices.
Editing tools have also been improved, making it easier than ever to improve your photos without knowing too much about the process. You'll even get to apply Instagram-like filters to your photos in post.
One of the biggest changes with macOS High Sierra is with the file system. It’s ditching the HFS – which Apple has used for around 30 years, and is now using the Apple File System (APFS).
This is a 64-bit file system that supports native encryption and faster meta data operation. This may all sound a bit techy, but the bottom line is that this will make your Mac feel a lot faster, while also being more secure and more transparent about the nature of your files and folder contents.
The update will also bring HEVC, or H.265, video compression to the Mac. The firm claims that this new standard can compress video files 40% more than the previous-generation H.264 standard. The end result will be faster video streams at higher resolutions – ahem, 4K – and smaller video files sizes when stored locally.
VR finally comes to the Mac
One of the biggest bits of news surrounding macOS High Sierra is that it will finally bring support for virtual reality headsets officially. Namely, the HTC Vive and Steam VR will work with Macs running the new OS this autumn.
However, to use such a device, you'll need at least an iMac Pro or 5K iMac – or, any Mac that can run the new OS with an external graphics card box attached via Thunderbolt 3. Support for such devices will come part and parcel with macOS High Sierra. but won't be an available function until spring 2018.
macOS 10.13 High Sierra compatibility
Also, MacBook and iMac models from 2009 and later will also support the OS. So, a wide range of Mac owners will be supported by this new software. Stay tuned for our impressions of macOS High Sierra in the coming months.
Joe Osborne has also contributed to this report.
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