The Top New Features in macOS Sonoma: How to Download, Compatible Macs

Also new in Safari is the ability to separate the browser via profiles, meaning you can create one profile for work and another for your personal life. It splits your history, extensions, cookies, Tab Groups, and Favorites, and it’s easy to switch back and forth.

You can also now create web apps that allow you to turn your favorite websites into an app-like experience that you can place in the dock. Instead of opening a browser window, these web apps launch and act like traditional macOS apps when you click on them. You can get notifications from them, and even segment them in tools like Stage Manager.

Additionally, Apple is making it easy to share passwords with close friends, family, and colleagues with shared accounts. When you create a group, everyone is able to add and edit passwords and share them through iCloud Keychain (with end-to-end encryption).

More With Messages

Video: Apple

As with iOS 17, Apple brought a few new upgrades to the Messages app. Building on inline replies first introduced with iOS 14, you can swipe right to quickly reply to a specific message, instead of having to long-press on it each time.

Improvements have also been made to search within Messages. Whenever you search for something, results are now divided into categories like people, keywords, photos, and links, making them easier to find. There’s also a one-time passcode cleanup feature that automatically deletes one-time passcodes through AutoFill—which helps clean up your list of conversations. The company is also making a big push for Stickers. Any stickers you create with iOS or iPadOS (including Live Stickers made using Live Photos) are now accessible on your Mac too.

Game Mode

Video: Apple

Gaming on an M-series Mac? You’ll appreciate the new Game Mode feature for graphically intensive titles. It ensures the Mac gives high priority to the CPU and GPU while you’re playing a game, delivering a smoother experience with consistent frame rates. It also lowers the audio latency when you’re using AirPods and reduces input latency with supported PlayStation and Xbox controllers.

Communication Safety Features

Apple iPad displaying a content safety warning in the Messages app

Photograph: Apple

To prevent people from unexpectedly viewing sensitive images in Messages, AirDrop, FaceTime messages, and third-party apps, users now have the option to enable a Sensitive Content Warning. That way, photos and videos containing nudity will be blurred, with the option to choose whether you want to see them and the ability to block the contact who sent them. Expanding on the communication safety features for children in iOS 15, parents and guardians can blur sensitive videos (in addition to photos) that their children send or receive as well. The feature also works with the Photos app when opened within Messages.

New Screen Savers

Video: Apple

If you love the preloaded screensavers that come with your Mac, you’ll be happy to hear that new options are here—with slow-motion videos of locations from all around the world, including Arizona, California, and Hong Kong. The login prompt has also moved to the bottom of the screen, so it no longer gets in the way of the image on your display.

An Improved Typing Experience

Messages application shown on MacOS desktop

Courtesy of Apple

It’s no secret that Apple’s Autocorrect isn’t the most accurate. And regardless of whether you’re on iPhone, iPad, or Mac, it can be a super frustrating feature. Using “enhanced on-device language models,” Autocorrect fixes typos more accurately. Autocorrected words are also now underlined temporarily—making it easier to keep up with what’s been changed as you’re typing. With a new inline predictive text capability, you’ll also see single and multi-word predictions based on what you’re typing to help you finish the message faster.

Accessibility Features

Apple MacBook displaying accessibility settings

Photograph: Apple

MacOS Sonoma includes a wide range of new accessibility features for vision, cognitive, and speech support. Among the list of capabilities are phonetic suggestions that appear when dictating and editing text via Voice Control; animated images (like GIFs) that can be paused in Safari or Messages; Live Speech, where users can type messages to be spoken aloud during FaceTime and phone calls; the option to customize text size on Mac apps; and the ability to connect Made for iPhone hearing devices to your Mac (available on the 2021 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, 2022 Mac Studio, and Mac computers with an M2 chip).

Upgrades to the Notes App

If you’re struggling to keep track of all your notes, you’ll be relieved to know that Apple added the option to link them to each other. You no longer have to scroll through the app to find what you’re looking for. You now have access to new text styles as well, including Block Quote (which offsets a section of writing with a quote bar) and Monostyled Text (with inset text and a visible background). For more layouts and formatting tools, you can also open a specific note in the Pages app.

Additional Features:

  • Reminders: Putting together a grocery list? Reminders will automatically sort the items you add based on categories. It will also remember your preferences whenever you change how items are grouped. And a new Column View organizes sections into columns across your screen.
  • Find My: You can add up to five other people to your Find My network accessories or AirTags. Those added will be able to follow the item on the map or play a sound to help pinpoint the location of the item.
  • Siri: The days of “Hey Siri” are gone. All you have to do is say “Siri” to trigger the voice assistant. This feature will only be available for Macs running an M-series chip.
  • Photos: In addition to recognizing people, the Photo app can (finally) automatically recognize cats and dogs.
  • Visual Lookup: With the Look Up tool, you can get more information on the subject of a photo. For example, if it’s a photo of food, you can use the feature to find recipes for similar dishes. You can use Visual Lookup in paused video frames too.
  • Home App: A new Activity History feature now allows you to see who locked or unlocked the door (and when), as well as recent activity for contact sensors, garage doors, and your security system.
  • Apple Music: You’ll be able to invite friends to join a playlist, giving them the ability to add, remove, or reorder songs.
  • Enhanced AutoFill for PDFs: You’ll be able to fill out PDFs in Preview using enhanced AutoFill. It will identify fillable fields—like your name, address, and email—and automatically input the information for you.
  • Catch Up Arrow: Whether you’re in a group chat or a private conversation, coming back to tons of new messages is overwhelming. A new “catch-up” arrow will bring you to the first new message with a simple tap—so you no longer have to scroll up to find it yourself.
  • AppleCare & Warranty: You now can check your coverage for all devices signed in with your Apple ID through Settings.

By 111 Tech

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