Wednesday, 26 September 2018 10:12

Apple's macOS Mojave available to all modern Mac users at last

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Apple's latest Mac operating system, macOS Mojave 10.14, can now be downloaded, offering a range of features including Dark Mode, the first iOS apps to be ported to the Mac and plenty more!

If you have MacBook 2015 or better, a MacBook Air or Pro from mid-2012 or better, a late 2012 iMac, Mac mini or better, Mac Pro 2010 or better with a Metal-compatible GPU, or any iMac Pro, you will be able to run macOS Mojave 10.14.

Naturally, you'll want to ensure you have one or more back-ups before doing any upgrading, and you may even wish to be safe and upgrade after a future 10.14.1 update comes along.

In addition, if you use older apps, or even Apple's own FileMaker Pro 17 database, you would be wise to check on the MacOS Mojave compatibility of your apps to ensure that they will all run flawlessly, but this is smart no matter what device, software and operating system you are using.

Now, there are a stack of great and more in-depth reviews already online, whether it be from the always incredibly thorough Ars Technica and its 13-page MacOS Mojave review, through to places like The Verge, Digital Trends and others. 

I've personally been using the macOS Mojave since the first public beta, activating the Dark Mode immediately and not turning it off since. I read about how you can "Reduce Transparency" in the display section of the accessibility icon in the System Preferences control panel, and have since activated that too, ensuring an even more consistent dark mode look.

There are complaints out there that Mojave's dark mode isn't dark enough, but it's the first version and no doubt Apple will tweak this further.

The same can be said of the iOS apps that have been ported across to macOS, these being the Home app to manage Homekit devices, the Voice Memos which, for some reason, aren't recording properly for me, the News app which looks very much like an iPad app just plonked onto a Mac display but with no ability to use a touch screen, and the stocks app.

These apps have been roundly and soundly criticised as being a bit uninspiring, unMac-like and not yet living up to their true potential, but again, they're version 1.0, and Apple is well known for evolving its approach to things, so no doubt these apps will get better and better, and we will also see vast improvements to how it all works when developers will be able to make iOS apps work on macOS in 2019.

There are features like Stacks, which can group together icons on the desktop automatically so your main screen isn't litteered with icons for images, documents, PDFs and more, and this is certainly useful, but I've normally just made my own folders for images, documents, PDFs and more that I move files into on a regular basis.

A new app that lets you handle screenshots more easily is nifty too, but as a regular Preview user, I find the slightly different interfaces of each almost identical app annoying – it's something I'll have to get used to, because having an iOS-style ability to instantly make changes to images, share them and more is handy, but again, sometimes you just have to get used to a change.

The Mac App Store is a great redesign, much like on iOS, and a welcome update that makes the Mac App Store so much friendlier and discoverable.

Another cool feature is the "Continuity Camera" that lets you "shoot or scan a nearby object or document" using your iPhone, and have it appear on you Mac.

As Apple states, you just choose “Import From” in Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Notes, Mail and other supported apps to scan or shoot using your nearby iOS device. Obviously, you've always been able to message or email an image to yourself, but this just makes things take little bit easier, and people are certainly loving the scanning feature this delivers.

A final quick look at a new feature is Safari's "enhanced Intelligent Tracking Prevention" that helps prevent social media “Like” or “Share” buttons and comment widgets from tracking you without permission.

It's also a great reason to use Safari, which is the very best browser for macOS – much better than stuffing around with Google Chrome or Firefox.

As Apple reminds us, the new Safari "also presents simplified system information when users browse the Web to prevent data companies from creating a unique 'fingerprint' that can be used for tracking. To help users better manage their passwords, Safari now automatically creates, autofills and stores strong passwords when creating new online accounts and flags reused passwords so users can change them."

They're all little things that add up to a lot, and as always, sweating the small stuff is vastly more important than most people would have you believe.

That's why people aren't impressed as yet by Apple's initial attempt to bring iOS apps to the Mac, and its why people expect more from Apple, simply because Apple actually expects more from itself, and despite issues here and there, delivers so much more usability and true value than the vast majority of its competitors.

So, the consensus is clear: macOS Mojave 10.14 is the best Apple OS update in years, and one that the vast majority of end-users should upgrade to.

What does Apple have to say about its new OS?

Well, at its site, Apple has a great macOS page that goes through all of the major features, which you should definitely take a look at and read

Apple also has a Newsroom article with the major updates nicely documented, with screenshots too. 

The easiest way to experience the new OS is to visit any store that sells Macs, but once you're happy that your important apps are compatible, and you've made a Time Machine back-up, or used apps like Carbon Copy, Super Duper, Acronis or others, then upgrade your Mac and enjoy its fresh new look in Dark Mode, and a better and smoother computing experience!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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