Apple released macOS Sonoma, the 14th major update to its operating system for Mac computers, on September 26, 2023. macOS Sonoma brings a host of new features and improvements that make the Mac experience better than ever. Here are some of the highlights of macOS Sonoma and how you can get it for free.
Widgets and Screen Savers
One of the most noticeable changes in macOS Sonoma is the ability to place widgets on your desktop. Widgets are small apps that display useful information or let you perform simple tasks without opening an app. You can choose from a variety of widgets in the new widget gallery, such as weather, calendar, reminders, podcasts, home controls, and more. You can also access widgets from your iPhone on your Mac through Continuity, without having to install the corresponding apps on your Mac.
Widgets blend seamlessly with your desktop wallpaper and fade into the background when you open an app or window. You can also switch your wallpaper and the colors of the widgets will automatically adapt. Widgets can also be interactive, so you can play or pause media, complete a reminder, or turn off the lights right from your desktop.
Another visual enhancement in macOS Sonoma is the new selection of screen savers that feature slow-motion videos of beautiful locations around the world, such as Hong Kong, Monument Valley, and Sonoma. These screen savers look stunning on your large Mac display and transition smoothly to become your desktop wallpaper when you log in.
macOS Sonoma is now available for these devices:
macOS Sonoma is now available for these devices:
iMac (2019 or later)
iMac Pro (2017)
Mac Pro (2019 or later)
Mac Studio (2022 or later)
MacBook Air (2018 or later)
Mac mini (2018 or later)
MacBook Pro (2018 or later)
What is your favorite new feature? pic.twitter.com/YunSvWGaNL
— Apple Hub (@theapplehub) September 26, 2023
macOS Sonoma also brings new features that make video conferencing more engaging and effective. With Presenter Overlay, you can appear in front of the content you are sharing on any video conferencing app, such as FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype. You can choose from two overlays: a large one that keeps the spotlight on you with your screen framed next to you on a separate layer, or a small one that shows you in a movable bubble over your shared screen. You can also move yourself around the screen and point to important details.
Another fun feature is Reactions, which lets you share how you feel with simple hand gestures that trigger frame-filling 3D effects like balloons, confetti, hearts, and more. You can also use a new Screen Sharing picker to easily share an app or multiple apps when on a video call, right from the window you are in. Additionally, you can control the composition of your video when using Studio Display or iPhone as your camera with zoom and pan controls or Recenter to automatically place yourself in the centre of the frame.
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Safari and Passwords
Safari, Apple’s web browser, gets a major update in macOS Sonoma with new features that make browsing more convenient and secure. One of the new features is Profiles, which lets you keep your browsing separate for different topics like Work and Personal. Profiles help you separate your history, extensions, Tab Groups, cookies, and favourites. You can quickly switch between profiles as you browse.
Another new feature is Web Apps, which lets you use any website like an app. You can add any website to your Dock as you would with an app, complete with a simplified toolbar and notifications for an app-like experience.
macOS Sonoma also enhances Private Browsing mode with added protection against some of the most advanced techniques used to track users online. Private Browsing windows become locked when not in use and known trackers are blocked from loading on pages. Safari also removes identifying tracking added to URLs as you browse.
Passwords also get a boost in macOS Sonoma with new features that make them more secure and easy to share. You can now create a profile for each set of passwords you use and share them with your trusted contacts. You can also use iCloud Keychain to generate strong passwords that are automatically filled in Safari and other apps.
macOS Sonoma improves the gaming experience on Mac with Game Mode, which provides more consistent frame rates and dramatically reduces input and audio latency with wireless game controllers and AirPods. Game Mode works with any game that supports Metal, Apple’s graphics technology that powers some of the most popular games on Mac.
With Game Mode, games run faster and smoother on Mac computers with Apple silicon, such as MacBook Air (M1), MacBook Pro (M1), Mac mini (M1), iMac (24-inch), iMac Pro (M1X), MacBook Pro (14-inch), MacBook Pro (16-inch), Mac Pro (M1X), and future models. Game Mode also optimizes battery life and thermal performance when gaming on Mac laptops.
How to Get macOS Sonoma
macOS Sonoma is a free software update that is available starting today for compatible Mac models. To get macOS Sonoma, go to System Preferences > Software Update and click Update Now. Alternatively, you can download macOS Sonoma from the Mac App Store. Before updating, make sure to back up your Mac using Time Machine or another backup method.