OS X El Capitan Review: Apple Brings Welcome Snow To Yosemite

Posted on

Mac customers fondly keep in mind OS X Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion. These two releases have been the epitome of Apple’s best work on OS X. Two rock strong iterations that have been all about refinements, efficiency updates and stability. Whereas OS X El Capitan isn’t a real ‘Snow’ launch, this yr’s OS X follows the identical custom in some ways — and it’s an incredible factor.

Earlier than diving a bit deeper into what it is best to anticipate from El Capitan (OS X 10.11), let’s take a step again and speak about OS X’s strategy over the previous few years. Apple has been releasing an OS X replace yearly since 2011. This insane tempo for such a sophisticated piece of software is not any small feat.

The benefit for shoppers is obvious — you obtain new features recurrently. But, you possibly can see right here and there that OS X wasn’t as dependable because it was. This relentless replace cycle had an enormous disadvantage.

For many individuals, OS X is the inspiration of their digital work. It must be as clear as attainable. A slowdown, a bug and a crash get in the best way. Making these issues disappear must be one in every of Apple’s priorities on the subject of OS X improvement.

El Capitan is now out there within the Mac App Retailer. I’ve been utilizing El Capitan for the previous two months. I can say that this launch delivers on its preliminary guarantees — OS X simply works, once more.

However this launch additionally confirms one thing we might discover in earlier years. Switching to an aggressive annual launch cycle has one other massive benefit. Apple can launch the identical features on each iOS and OS X across the similar time of the yr. That’s why many iOS 9 enhancements at the moment are showing on OS X simply a few weeks after Apple launched iOS 9.

The Basis


El Capitan brings many bug fixes and efficiency enhancements. Clearly, Apple hasn’t listed every of them, however you possibly can really feel it if you use your Mac. It’s an enormous leap in comparison with Yosemite.

There are two low-degree enhancements which might be value noting. First, Apple is now utilizing Metallic in lots of its apps. As a reminder, Metallic is a low-degree framework for graphic-intensive duties. It offloads a few of the CPU duties to the GPU. In fact Metallic is essential for games, however that doesn’t cease right here.

Preview leverages Metallic to display lengthy PDFs or load lengthy lists of emails in Mail. Even on the working system degree, switching from a desktop to a different is smoother. And for the primary time ever on my 13-inch retina Mac Ebook Professional, triggering Mission Management is completely clean.

The second massive low-degree change is system integrity protection. Apple added one other safety layer for system information. Even in case you are an Admin consumer and enter your password, third-social gathering apps can’t alter system information.

For the primary time ever on my 13-inch retina Mac Ebook Professional, triggering Mission Management is completely clean

This can be a nice safety feature which may trigger a small disadvantage amongst power customers. Some power consumer apps, resembling Bartender and TotalFinder, require you to show off system integrity protection in an effort to change the conduct of the Finder or the menubar.

Turning off system integrity protection is a painful course of as you could reboot your Mac to entry the restoration partition, flip it off utilizing a command line, reboot it once more, install your app, reboot it once more, flip system integrity protection on once more, and rebooting one final time. I anticipate many customers to surrender on these low-degree apps sooner or later.

READ  LucidCam Hits Its $100K Campaign Goal, Team Partners With Sephora On VR Content

Likelihood is you're the just one utilizing your Mac laptop computer. You solely have one consumer on this laptop computer. That’s why system integrity protection is a superb feature. As an alternative of handing root entry to 3rd-celebration apps with a password immediate, you'll be able to make certain that your system is protected. No one ought to flip off system integrity protection.

The System

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 20.26.58 (2)

After putting in El Capitan, the very first thing you'll discover is that textual content gadgets look totally different. Apple has switched to a new system font, San Francisco. This font was designed by Apple for the Apple Watch. The corporate used it for iOS 9 as properly. And now, each Apple device is utilizing the identical font with this OS X replace.

This variation is sort of obvious. It takes a number of days to get used to it. However San Francisco is best than Helvetica Neue in each approach — it's extra readable, extra elegant and fewer generic. There isn't any draw back.

San Francisco is best than Helvetica Neue in each means — it's extra readable, extra elegant and fewer generic

Mission Management additionally acquired an replace. Now, OS X doesn’t stack windows of the identical application collectively. The bar on the prime together with your full screen apps and different areas is totally different as properly. By default, you solely see the identify of the app or area. Should you drag a window to the highest bar, OS X routinely expands it with previews of your different areas.

Mission Management is an effective method to discover the app you have been on the lookout for. However when you’re actually misplaced and may’t even discover your cursor, simply shake your mouse slightly. Your cursor will turn into an enormous cursor for a couple of seconds in an effort to discover it.

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 19.57.43 (2)

And now, all the opposite new system features have been launched for iOS 9 as properly, beginning with Cut up View. In El Capitan, now you can open two full screen apps aspect by aspect. As an example, you'll be able to have Safari on the left taking most of your screen, and a notepad on the proper.

To create a Cut up View, you simply have to launch Mission Management and drag an app on prime of one other full screen app. It can divide the screen in two elements. You'll be able to then resize these apps by dragging the dividing line between the apps.

Highlight will get the identical iOS 9 enhancements. Now you can seek for sports activities scores, climate circumstances and inventory costs. Highlight now additionally understands pure language enter, bringing it nearer to a textual content-solely version of Siri. You may as well transfer the Highlight window round.

The Apps

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 20.08.25 (2)

This part is what makes El Capitan stand out from different ‘Snow’ releases of OS X. Apple hasn’t simply targeted on making OS X extra secure, it has additionally added new features to the default apps.

Safari will get a couple of Chrome-like features. Now you can pin tabs in your tab bar, in order that they’re all the time there and don’t take a lot area. This feature is nice, besides that Safari doesn’t use favicons. As an alternative, OS X makes use of a new icon format, which means that only a few web sites help it for now — in my case, I've 7 pinned tabs and solely Gmail features an icon. Now you can mute tabs from the handle bar as properly.

READ  Kobe Bryant’s Retirement Post Had 1 Million Clicks In First Two Hours

I don’t use Mail, so I haven’t used the new features. Mail now has tabs in an effort to draft a number of emails on the similar time. The app also needs to work higher in full screen mode. And lots of iOS 9 features are coming to OS X once more. You'll be able to swipe on an e mail to archive or delete it. Mail will recommend you so as to add occasions and contacts based mostly on the content material of your emails.

The three different up to date apps are getting the identical features as on iOS 9 — Notes, Maps and Photographs. Within the Notes app, now you can make checklists, embed pictures, add hyperlinks and extra. There's additionally a devoted attachment screen. In different phrases, identical to on iOS 9, Notes is not a textual content-solely app, it’s a wealthy-textual content editor.

Apple hasn’t simply targeted on making OS X extra secure, it has additionally added new features to the default apps

In relation to Maps, Apple has added transit instructions. This feature was clearly designed for the iPhone, nevertheless it’s good to see that OS X isn’t left behind. When Apple eliminated Google Maps from iOS and switched to its personal Maps app, many customers missed transit instructions. After buying Embark and Hopstop, Maps is rolling out transit techniques, beginning with New York Metropolis and London. If you plan an itinerary, Maps takes under consideration trains, subways, buses and strolling.

I’ve examined the transit features in London on my iPhone and it really works properly. You possibly can choose between a number of routes, choose out of bus itineraries or select to go away at a later time. The best half is that Maps exhibits you the place the station exits are. Whereas you'll definitely be taking a look at transit instructions on your phone extra typically than on your pc, you don’t need to have feature disparities.

Lastly, Photographs now helps third-get together modifying instruments. It’s additionally simpler so as to add a location to your photographs or identify your favourite individuals.


El Capitan requires the identical configuration as final yr — in case you are operating Yosemite, you'll be able to run El Capitan. As all the time, it's a free replace obtainable within the App Retailer. After downloading the 6GB installer, the replace course of was fast on my machine. It took me round 25 minutes.

Named after a mountain inside Yosemite, El Capitan is an evolution of final yr’s Yosemite. In the event you’re updating from Yosemite, you’ll really feel proper at house. But, every little thing appears to work barely higher.

This can be a polished version of OS X full of many fascinating features. It doesn’t appear to be Apple needs to merge OS X and iOS, which is an effective factor. These two working methods are two very totally different beasts, and lots of rely on each.

However it is going to be fascinating to see what’s subsequent for OS X. El Capitan is a pleasant cease in Yosemite to benefit from the view and catch your breath. However we’re midway there.


Backside photo credit score: Anita Ritenour underneath the CC BY 2.0 license

Source : TechCrunch