Apple OS X Yosemite: Top 7 Features

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OS X Mavericks has been one of the fastest adopted desktop operating systems, with 51 percent of Mac users on the platform. Now the company is attempting to bridge the gap between OS X and iOS with Yosemite. Available this fall for free, Yosemite features a new interface, new apps, and a focus on what Apple calls continuity.

For the first time, you can take calls right from your Mac using your iPhone, or pick up on the desktop where you left off composing an email from your iPad. There's some very clever integration going on here. Apple will be holding a free public beta this summer. Here are the top 7 features of OS X Yosemite.

Flat, Translucent Design

In terms of design, the design of OS X Yosemite isn't just flat. In addition to cleaner icons, Apple is using translucency to provide a sense of depth and clarity, especially as you move apps around and on top of one another. You'll see the translucency in action on title bars for apps, which change based on what your desktop background looks like.

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Notification Center

The new Notification Center in OS X Yosemite sports a new Today view that gives you an advance look at your calendar, weather and more. You can also customize the Today view. For example, you can have the calculator widget docked at the bottom of this menu. Third-party widgets are also supported, such as ESPN ScoreCenter.

notifications os x yosemite

Supercharged Spotlight

A redesigned Spotlight delivers a slicker interface in the center of your screen. Just type a couple of characters to launch an app or a person. If you search for a contact, you'll see related emails and reminders on the left side. If you type an app, you'll see all the most recent documents related to that app, such as Numbers.

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Spotlight also interacts with the web. You can search for restaurants, as well as movies and other information, without having to use the Safari browser.

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iCloud Drive

Apple didn't provide a ton of information on this feature. iCloud drive lets you organize your cloud-based files however you wish and then synchronize the info across devices. This will include Windows PCs, which is somewhat surprising.

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Mail in Yosemite has a new UI, and Apple has focused on speeding up performance. The more important upgrade is Mail Drop, which lets you send large attachments without having to worry about hitting a wall with the size of the file. Mail Drop works through the cloud and supports files up to 5GB in size.


A nifty Markup feature lets you annotate images for outgoing messages. For example, you can draw a neat arrow or a cartoon bubble, and Yosemite turns it into a clean shape. You can even sign on a document using the trackpad on your Mac.


Safari in Yosemite provides instant access to all of your favorite sites. The search field shows all of your favorites in a drop-down menu. If you want to subscribe to RSS feed you can do so quickly. The bar will actually summarize info from sites, including Wikipedia.

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A new tab view gives you a stacked view of all open pages, making it easier to keep things organized. It's a pretty slick zoomed-out view. In the regular view, you can smoothly scroll through your tabs by moving left or right on the trackpad. 

Hand-Off and Continuity

Apple has figured out several clever ways to let your Mac and iPhone or iPad to interact. For example, if you want to dial a business from your Mac, you can call it right from inside the Safari browser. Your Mac will be used as a speaker and leverage your iPhone for the connection--even if its in another room. Yosemite also lets you take incoming calls from your Mac. We like how you can see the audio wave form as you chat. 

OS X Yosemite Hand-Off

If you're composing an email on your phone, your Mac will let you pick up where you left off on the desktop. You'll see a little notification right on the dock. On the flip side, if you're working on a document, you can swipe up on your iOS device to continue editing.


Overall, OS X Yosemite looks like a great step forward for Macs, helping to better integrate the iOS and OS X experiences. There's no question that Apple wants to keep the momentum going with Mac sales versus the rest of the PC industry. And Yosemite helps Apple tell a better-together story with its mobile devices. We look forward to thoroughly testing Yosemite -- especially features like Hand-off--to see if it makes our computing lives easier.


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Author Bio
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief on
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1 comment
  • marni Says:

    Features are nice but until Apple unlocks its GUI and makes it at least as customizable as Windows, I will never buy Apple, even tho i've grown to loathe Windoze.
    So far, looks like OS X is identical to 9, and 8, and 7, and... in this critical respect.
    Think i'm oversensitive? Consider those with vision problems who NEED to be able to implement weird color schemes.