In case you hadn’t heard, Apple has released details on the next big OS X 10.11 update, called El Capitan. This update focuses a lot on performance, but don’t worry – there are still some sweet new apps and features for all you Apple fans out there. Here are the top five new features in the upcoming OS X, which arrives at an Apple computer near you this fall.
Amped up processor speed
Apple is pretty happy with a lot of the basic structure behind Yosemite, which is why El Capitan – named after a famous Yosemite landmark – focuses more on refining existing features and boosting the performance of the operating system. According to Apple’s claims, that performance boost is seriously substantial.
Boot up the Captain, and you can expect to switch between apps twice as fast as Yosemite allowed. Pop open a PDF, and it should load and open four times faster than before. Launch any given app, and it should pop up about 1.4 times more quickly, thanks to behind the scenes work from Apple. These numbers are right from Apple and haven’t necessarily been tested in real world conditions like your local café’ (members of the Developer Program are no doubt on it), but you can still expect a lot of bonuses to speed.
It’s no secret that many Apple computer users are fans of multitasking (there’s a reason that Apple highlighted faster app switching). Now people who like to do everything at once will have a new helpful feature when working with Apple software – the ability to Snap and Expose Windows.
Snap allows you to flick windows to the right or left side areas of the screen, where they will immediately settle and allow you to look at two things at the same time. This is designed to keep one window permanently up while cycling through several other windows on the other side of your screen, a particularly handy feature for iMac users and others who have large screens with plenty of real estate to work on. Snap also lets you magnify one particular window while downsizing all the rest into a cluster of smaller frames, which seems slightly less useful but still cool.
Only one problem; it works in full screen mode only. We hope this feature comes to windowed apps, too!
Pinning pages in Safari
OS X 10.11 will also add several welcome changes to the Safari browser. If you’ve been moving away from Safari toward other browsers like Chrome, this fall may be the time to revisit Apple’s own browser and the unique features it provides.
The biggest new addition is Pinned Sites. We all have websites that we like to revisit throughout the day, usually social sites like Facebook or news feeds and the occasional subreddit. Safari in El Capitan lets you Pin particular sites with big icons in the top corner of your browser window, a bit like toolbar additions but much more friendly. Pinning sites will keep them running actively in the background, so when you switch back to them you probably won’t have to worry about refreshing to see what the latest updates are.
Additionally, Safari has improved compatibility with Apple TV. It can use AirPlay to play web page video on your TV with just a click, great for binge-watching some of the those harder-to-find shows with your friends. Oh, and you know how annoying it is when you have a dozen tabs open and one starts blaring a video ad? Stop worrying about it with Safari’s new “mute all tabs” button, a most welcome feature.
New note-taking possibilities
As the tech world grows more mobile, apps like Evernote have increasingly taken over our jobs and even our home life. Apple is tapping into the need for mobile note taking and sharing with its new Notes app, a great feature that could end up replacing a lot of the organizational apps that you use today.
Notes always you to jot down quick lists, sure, but what’s especially cool is what you can do with the list afterward. Bullet the list and automatically turn it into a checklist for grocery shopping or group collaboration. Swipe in a photo, website link, or map location for a more pointed reminder if you want. Port in contents from a variety of other apps, or save Notes content to those apps once you are done – and of course, you can also sync and share Notes on iCloud across Apple devices to move the list to a smartphone.
Apple is also including something called an Attachments Browser, which lets you scan through all of your notes, Pinterest style, to find a note you took based on its appearance.
Major Spotlight improvements
Spotlight is a search feature that allows OS X users to quickly sort through useful information and get fast answers to their questions. At least, that’s what it was supposed to be. But Spotlight just wasn’t quite interesting enough to replace a casual browser search for most users. In El Capitan, Apple is improving Spotlight by adding a lot more functionality.
First, Spotlight gets a big natural language bump, which means you can type in questions or subjects the way you’d natural say them in a conversation. Second, Spotlight is now a portable window that you can move around the screen and resize to fit your needs more easily. Third, Spotlight now taps into more resources than ever to help you find what you are looking for, including stock price results, weather reports, sports scores and schedules, and indexes of web videos. It makes Spotlight a real contender among the other “butler apps” out there.