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The 9 coolest macOS Sierra features coming to your Mac today

macOS Sierra

It’s a busy time of year for Apple. In addition to the recent roll out of iOS 10 and new iPhone 7 models, Apple has also been working on some major updates for the Apple TV, the Apple Watch, and last but not least, the Mac.

Later today, Apple will officially roll out macOS Sierra. That’s right, the OS X naming scheme is no more as Apple as adopted something a bit more similar to iOS. While it’s somewhat sad to see OS X fall by the wayside, Apple’s macOS world gives us more than a few reasons to get excited about the future of desktop computing.

It’s been a while since Apple first introduced macOS Sierra at WWDC this past June so we’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of some of the cooler features Apple’s next-gen desktop OS brings to the table.

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Universal copy and paste

If you own a Mac, chances are you’re an iPhone owner as well. And with macOS Sierra, the ability for varying Apple devices to communicate with another has never been better. Thanks to universal copy and paste, users can copy something from their iOS device and seamlessly paste it into a window on their Mac. Of course, universal copy and paste works in both directions. As a quick example, Apple notes: “Find a great recipe while browsing on your Mac? Paste the ingredients right to the grocery list on your iPhone.”

Apple Pay comes to the Mac

Since its introduction on the iPhone 6, Apple Pay has made paying for goods and services incredibly easy. Dare I say, Apple Pay even makes the entire process fun. With macOS Sierra, Apple Pay is finally coming to the Mac. What this means is that if you’re looking to buy an item on a website that supports Apple Pay, you won’t have to waste time entering in all of your credit card information. Instead, you can just click on a “Pay with Apple Pay” link whereupon you’ll be able to authenticate the purchase via Touch ID on your iPhone or via a double-tap on your Apple Watch.

Siri comes to the Mac

At long last, Siri is coming to the Mac. Now users will be able to ask Siri any type of questions they already ask when on the go with their iPhone. Of course, Siri does have some new tricks as users can ask her queries such as “Show me all the files I worked on last week.” What’s also cool is that users can pin Siri search results to the notification center. This is extremely handy if you want to keep tabs in real-time of sports scores or simply want to have quick access to a particular Siri search result.

macOS auto-unlock

In macOS Sierra, users can quickly and automatically log into a password protected Mac simply by having an authenticated Apple Watch or iPhone close-by. This helpful feature should save users the hassle of having to type in their login-password everytime they step away from their computer for a bit. Notably, Apple has said that it’s implemented some advanced security measures to ensure that only the true owner of a device can use the feature to unlock a Mac.

Have your email read to you

If you have some emails you want to get through but are busy doing other things, you can take advantage of Siri to read your emails for you. Thankfully, Siri’s voice has also been updated as to sound more human-like and less like a computer.

Picture-in-picture video

Safari in macOS Sierra has a fun new video feature that allows users to pin a video to a corner of the display. In turn, they can get some work done while also be able to keep an eye on whatever movie, TV show or sports event they happen to be watching.

Optimize Storage

Running out of storage usually isn’t as big a problem on the Mac as it is on the iPhone, but if you happen to be one of the few folks who routinely push the boundary of your storage limits on your Mac, macOS Sierra has got you covered. Thanks to a new ‘optimize storage’ feature, macOS Sierra will automatically upload some of your rarely used files up to iCloud to make sure that you have enough room for the files that you actually do use.

Tapback icons in Messages

Similar to what Apple already implemented in the Messages app on the iPhone, Mac users in macOS Sierra will be able to add tapback responses (such as a thumbs up, exclamation points etc.) to incoming messages. Additionally, emoji responses in macOS Sierra can be made three times as big.

iCloud Drive is much more useful

With macOS Sierra, iCloud Drive users can now access desktop files and more on their Mac via their iOS device. The first 5GB of storage a user uses up are free, but after that, Apple’s storage tiers look like this.

  • 50GB: $0.99 per month
  • 200GB: $2.99 per month
  • 1TB: $9.99 per month

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.