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Apple's MacOS High Sierra beta brings speed and better browsing to the brave

While Apple continues to put much of its attention on the iPhone and iOS, it hasn’t completely given up on its Mac hardware and it introduced a long-awaited update to its iMac line at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2017 event. To go along with the new hardware, Apple is also going to introduce the newest version of MacOS, High Sierra, later in the year. Until now, only developers have been able to get their hands on the earliest beta versions of the new desktop OS, and that is changing with the availability of the first public beta, MacRumors reports.

Available on Thursday, the MacOS High Sierra preview gives the bravest users the first glimpse at the update’s various new features and functionality. While the response to the High Sierra introduction was a bit muted due to a lack of exciting new capabilities, there are nevertheless some nice refinements and performance enhancements that should make for a smoother MacOS experience.

For example, Safari will gain some significant speed improvements, which Apple promises will make it 80 percent faster than Google when running JavaScript content. Safari will also block video autoplay, and provide Intelligent Tracking Protection to help protect user privacy.

The Mail app will be enhanced with new compression functionality that will reduce disk space up to 35 percent, and Spotlight will gain the ability to determine which email is important and assign it the highest priority. The Photos app will also be improved, with better facial recognition and category synchronization across devices.

Otherwise, MacOS High Sierra will provide for some under-the-hood performance updates that will not be highly visible to users but should work behind the scenes to make storage and video faster and more efficient. Apple will finally be implementing its 64-bit Apple File System (APFS) that will significantly speed up saving and accessing files and also provide built-in encryption. HVEC video compression will catch MacOS up with the rest of the market by providing hardware acceleration.

High Sierra is expected to be released to all users this fall. If you want to give it a try on your Mac, then you can sign up to be a MacOS beta user. Be sure to back up your system before installing the beta build — as with all OS previews, this one could be buggy.

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