A Few Notes on High Sierr

It’s kind of hard to believe that Apple released a major update to macOS this week. It just didn’t move the needle much in geek circles. I remember when we used to go to the Apple Store on the night of a new Mac OS X release and it was a big deal. (I still have my 10.4 Tiger T-shirt somewhere.)

All that said, I’ve been kicking the tires on the beta for a bit and here’s my collection of notes.

  • My APFS transition on both the laptop and iMac went off without a hitch. I know APFS is much better its predecessor and once you get on the APFS, your data is safer. However, you really won’t notice any performance differences until you start making copies of files
  • Duplicating files with APFS is jarring. I keep waiting for the progress bar but it never shows up, because it’s not necessary. (APFS doesn’t need to save until you make changes to the copy.)
  • While everyone talks about the importance of Metal 2 at the high end, I’m curious about what it does at the low end. Will these developments make smaller Macs (with long battery lives) a viable option?
  • Photos gets the most improvement. That makes sense in light of the fact Photos is a relatively new product. While there are several new features, I think people will be surprised at significant improvements of the advanced editing tools. It still isn’t Aperture but it’s a lot closer.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, for people that don’t know what editing curves are, more Moments is good. I’ve observed a lot of non-geek family members spending time with Photos’ Memories feature. The feature solves a problem that we all have with way too many photos. I expect even more of that going forward.
  • Another relatively young app that made progress this year is Apple Notes. For two straight years Apple Notes has seen significant attention and it shows.
  • I like all the improvements to Safari but stopping auto-play video gets a special place in my heart.
  • It’s taken years but the way Apple Mail handles replies and composing while in full screen finally gets it right.
  • For a more in-depth review of High Sierra, check out Stephen Hackett’s weighty review.

In answer to the emails I’ve received asking whether you should upgrade, I’d say you are fine upgrading (provided you have a few backups first). I expect High Siera adoption will be slower than some of the prior Mac operating system updates. High Sierra has a lot more under-the-hood tuning than fancy paint and chrome. However, those features that were added, like the new photo and video formats and Notes improvements, are also on iOS so leaving your Mac behind could get frustrating.