Meet macOS Sierra: 8 Best Features

Bringing Siri to the desktop is a big win for Mac users, but that's not the only thing Apple added to the newest version of its desktop operating system. OS X also received a name change to macOS, and this version will be known as Sierra. From better continuity between your phone and Mac to Apple Pay and picture-in-picture, these are the top features of macOS.


This much expected feature finally got announced at WWDC, bringing Apple's snarky digital assistant from the iPhone to desktop. Just like on iOS, you can ask Siri to do things like get directions, create a playlist or look up something on the web. It will keep a running list of the conversation, so you can reference back to previous things it said. Apple also opened a Siri API to developers so the smart assistant may be about to get a whole lot smarter.  

Auto unlock

While it's not as snazzy as Microsoft's Windows Hello facial recognition tech, Apple's new auto-unlock feature will let you skip typing in a password by unlocking your computer with a nearby Apple Watch or iOS device using what Apple calls time-of-flight networking.

Universal Clipboard

When you want to share a picture or quote, why should your options be limited to a single machine? Now with macOS, you have access to a shared clipboard that spans both computers and phones so that you can copy and paste clips across multiple devices with ease.

MORE: Apple MacBook 2016: Full Review

Shared Desktop

If you have more than computer, you know the pain of trying to keep files and folders synced across multiple devices. But with the new shared desktop feature in macOS serves as a shared clipboard, you can access your desktop on another Mac or even your iPhone seamlessly, and without needing to specifically transfer files from one device to another.

Optimized Storage

Do you feel like you are always running out of storage? In macOS Sierra, the new optimized storage feature will take the hassle out of data management to clean up files you don't need, and archiving what you want keep in iCloud, faster, easier and in less space than before. In the demo, a computer with just 20GB left got optimized and then had 150GB free. 

Apple Pay

No, you're not going drag your laptop to the coffee shop, but now that Apple Pay is in macOS, you can use Apple's secure payment system at online retailers, quickly and safely. You can even use other Apple devices such as an iPhone or Apple Watch or a built-in fingerprint reader to authenticate your purchase, and when combined with the new auto-unlock feature could mean traditional passwords could soon be a thing of the past.


In macOS, tabs aren't just for web browsers anymore. At WWDC 2016, Apple vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi said that they want to make put tabs in all multi-window apps, and that Apple has a simple way to do this that doesn't even require specific developer modification.


Instead of fumbling around with windows and tabs, if you want to watch a video while working on something else, all you have to do use macOS' new picture-in-picture feature. That'll put your video in a small box so you can follow along to your clip without it getting in the way.

Developers can download a beta version of macOS Sierra today before a public beta becomes available in July, although macOS won't officially be ready for consumers until sometime this fall.