6 hidden features we discovered in the MacOS Sierra beta

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Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

You’ve heard about the new features in MacOS Sierra, Apple’s forthcoming operating system set to debut this fall. You’re looking forward to trying out Siri, and somewhat interested in picture-in-picture, but wondering if that’s really all there is. As it turns out, there are some new features for MacOS that Apple didn’t announce. Here’s a quick overview of these hidden features, and what they’ll mean for your Mac.

Notification Center gains a world of widgets from Siri


Apple added Notification Center to OS X back in 2012, and, in time, it replaced third-party tools like Growl entirely. In 2014, the Today screen made its first appearance on the Mac, offering a few built-in widgets alongside the notifications. App developers could also add their own widgets, and a few did, but overall, there’s not a lot of great content out there for the Today page.

MacOS Sierra could change that by adding a seemingly endless source of widgets. Anything Siri can search for can be pinned to the Notification Center, meaning everything from sports scores to stock prices can be added with just a voice search and a click.

Launch Siri with a keyboard shortcut, or disable her entirely


Apple showed off Siri at the WWDC keynote, but a few details were left out. Can the virtual assistant be disabled? What’s the keyboard shortcut for launching her? Is the voice customizable? When we fired up MacOS Sierra, we found a System Preferences pane that answers all of these questions.

Users can disable Siri entirely by unchecking the “Enable Siri” option, which sits directly below the logo on the left-hand side of the window. Anyone wishing to change the voice can do so, too, and anyone who doesn’t want Siri to talk back to them can disable Voice Feedback. Users can also configure which microphone to use, and set a custom keyboard shortcut for launching the assistant.

Users can also remove Siri from the menubar, which is great if you’re the kind of users who likes to keep things tidy up there. If only there was some way to remove the Spotlight icon as well!

RAID Support is back


Last year’s El Capitan annoyed more than a few power users. The problem? The new Disk Utility removed the ability to set up RAIDs from Disk Utility. The feature, which allows multiple hard drives to act as one for the sake of file redundancy, is back with MacOS Sierra. This probably shouldn’t have gone away in the first place, but it’s nice to see it return regardless.

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