The newest operating system for Apple Mac computers, OS X Yosemite (OS 10.10), brings a slew of impressive new features. The free update boasts exciting steps forward for users, especially for those with other Apple devices in addition to their Mac desktop. Since this update makes the most of multiple Apple devices, it may seem intimidating. However, the newest features are designed to integrate seamlessly with the programs you already use, so moving forward should be a breeze. To make the transition effortless for you, here are the top 10 things you need to know about Mac OS X Yosemite.
1. Added Mail Functions
The new and improved mail client in OS X Yosemite includes an intelligent way to add text and shapes to images or PDFs. This eliminates the need for an extra program to mark up or annotate these types of files. Not only that, you can also sign PDF forms right in Mail. You can quickly use your trackpad to draw your signature with your finger, or even capture it using the camera on your Mac.
Perhaps the most talked about new feature in OS X Yosemite is the ability to “hand off” files between your devices. With Handoff, emails, documents, notes, reminders, and many other programs let you switch devices smoothly without needing to email yourself or remember a web address.
3. Screen Sharing and Airdrop
The new OS X Yosemite also integrates screen sharing using your Apple ID. With screen sharing you can share what is on any Apple device with any other Apple device. This means you can now pair your computer with your Apple TV, iPad, or iPhone wirelessly, just by entering your Apple ID. Additionally, Apple’s simple system of transferring files wirelessly between mobile devices now works with desktop too. Known as Airdrop, sending files between desktop and mobile is easy, even if an app or program doesn’t support Handoff.
4. Access Maps Anywhere
On top of Handoff and Airdrop, one little-known tool that OS X Yosemite brings to the table is sure to be a real time saver. Maps, the desktop version of Apple Maps, now pairs effortlessly with your Apple mobile device. This means you can view directions you previously looked up on your computer using only your device on the go. This eliminates the need to save or email a copy of directions, plus you can view locations or directions you previously searched on any of your Apple devices connected to your Apple ID.
Another new exciting feature in OS X Yosemite is the ability to send and receive text messages. Similar to Handoff, you can read messages sent to your iPhone on your Mac (regardless of whether your friend uses Apple products). Impressively, you can click a number in Address Book, Calendar, Mail or Messages and your computer will automatically make a phone call using your iPhone.
This powerful connectivity with your phone also works the other way around: if a friend calls your iPhone, you can answer it directly from your computer. Sure to maximize your productivity, OS X Yosemite also lets you start a call on one device and finish it on another. Plus, OS X Yosemite includes a way to merge two calls to start a conference call, and your computer rings with the same ring tones assigned to the contacts in your phone. Finally, clicking a contact on your computer from any program also brings up the option to FaceTime that friend instead of call. You can also answer phone calls from a friend with Apple devices with video, immediately converting any call to FaceTime.
This OS update also brings impressive new features to Mac’s native search client called Spotlight. Now when you press that magnifying glass in the top right-hand corner of your screen, you will not only be able to search your files, applications and emails, you will also be able to find nearby movie showtimes, unit conversions, books, news, and even Wikipedia entries.
8. Family Sharing
One new feature designed with families in mind seeks to make many things easier around the house. Family Sharing lets you set up one account with up to five other family members. Members simply agree to an email that makes them part of the group. Immediately, everyone in the group is able to access each other’s purchased music, movies, TV shows, books and shared information from apps. In addition, a family calendar is automatically set up in Calendar so each member of the group sees the same thing. Each member can edit or add dates on the calendar. iPhoto also lets users create a shared family photo album, and parents can set up alerts to control kids’ App Store purchases. Finally, the reminders app automatically includes a shared list for your family group. Each person receives alerts for a reminder set, and can edit or add reminders themselves. Especially for busy families, this stands to make scheduling and day-to-day life much easier.
9. Night Mode
Another lesser-known feature with OS X is a new way to display your desktop. Perhaps most helpful for those in photo and video environments, you can now set the dock and menu bar to a “Night Mode,” making viewing the screen in the dark easier. Now there’s finally a way to make long nights of studying, emailing, or editing less strenuous on your eyes.
10. Safari History
Last but not least, some major improvements come to Apple’s newest version of Safari. Safari now lets you access your web browsing history from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch via iCloud. You can also view the open tabs and history from all of your Apple devices. In addition, the browser now plays videos from most websites without needing additional plug-ins.
Learn more about OS X Yosemite with Apple’s complete list of features.
Featured photo credit: Mike Deerkoski via flickr.com