Mac-users from all over are in a rush to upgrade their systems to the OS X Yosemite platform. The new platform comes with a plethora of interesting additional features, which justifies the buzz around it. Some of the key highlights of the Yosemite platform have been highlighted here.
These are good times for Apple. The combined sale figures of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have reached unprecedented high levels – pulling up the company’s quarterly revenue to over the $42 billion mark. The new version of Mac OS – OS X Yosemite (10.10) – has also been well-received, with the adoption rate surging to 2% within 24 hours of its release on last Thursday. Over here, we take you through some of the best features of the Yosemite platform:
- Smarter iCloud Drive – Accessing files and documents stored on the cloud has become easier than ever, thanks to iCloud Drive support on OS X Yosemite. All saved docs can now be viewed in Finder. Users can also access files via apps installed on their Mac systems. The file-syncing process is quick (after saving), and there are options to select which applications are included in the iCloud system. Viewing and moving documents has become a lot more intuitive.
- Voice calling feature – All that you have to do is keep your iPhone and upgraded Mac in the same iCloud account – and you will be able to make phone calls through the latter. There is a ‘Start new conversations’ option under Messages→ Preferences → Accounts, which would enable you to place your calls. The phone number will be displayed (and ticked) on your system.
- 3D Flyover on Maps – There are plenty of naysayers about the reliability of Apple Maps, but even the sternest of software and app developers would appreciate this feature. With 3D Flyover, Yosemite-users can get a true ‘bird’s eye view’ of any city (the range of supported cities is impressively high). Select the name of any city, and have a fun 3D virtual tour of that place.
- Arrival of Dark Mode – In what is a first for Apple, OS X Yosemite lets users apply a skin to their Mac screens. By activating the all-new Dark Mode, you can turn down the system Dock and significantly lower the screen brightness level. This works on two fronts: unnecessary power wastage is avoided, and people can focus on what they are working on without straining their eyes.
- Better Notifications Center – The ‘Today’ panel and the Stock Widget are two of the key highlights in the revamped Notifications Center of OS X Yosemite. The older Dashboard will still be available – but only if you had used it on Mavericks (if not, your system will detect it as unused, and the Dashboard will be auto-deleted). Professional mobile app developers can now create programs and widgets that can be used both on Mac computers as well as iOS 8-powered smartphones.
- Handoff – One of the several features of iPhone 6 that early buyers could not use till the launch of the OS X 10.10 platform. If you are working on an app that is compatible with your Mac as well as your iPhone (for instance, the Safari browser or the Mail app), you can activate ‘Handoff’, start a task on either of the devices, and finish it on the other. With this continuity feature, people will be able to manage their tasks between their mobiles and computers with greater ease.
- Default Markup annotation – With the help of the Markup extension (which is activated by default) on OS X Yosemite, you can annotate pictures within any web apps. PDFs, other images, texts and several other visual effects can be added to the original picture, via Virtual Whiteboarding. The Markup extension automatically creates a duplicate copy of the image that you wish to annotate. Hence, the original copy of the picture remains intact.
- QuickType support – Mobile app developers worldwide have lauded the predictive keyboard feature of iOS 8. Yosemite brings this user-friendly feature to Mac-users too, with the delightful QuickType function. While typing, simply press the ESC button on the keyboard – and a fairly large number of word suggestions (fairly accurate ones) will be displayed. You might just find that your typing speeds have gone up!
- Shift-Click to Move the Dock – On Mavericks and earlier versions of Mac OS X, you are stuck with the Dock at the bottom of the screen. The best you can do is change its position from Settings. Once you have upgraded to Yosemite, forget all those troubles – for you will now be able to move the Dock to either side of the screen by doing a ‘Shift-Click’ on the Divider bar. It’s your Mac, you get to decide where the Doc will reside.
- MailDrop – The innovative MailDrop feature has been added to minimize chances of email bounces. Whenever a large file has to be attached to a mail, it would automatically get uploaded to the iCloud Drive, and shared with the specified recipient (much like how Dropbox works). Users no longer have to worry about whether a mail attachment would be ‘too big’ for the server.
- Emphasis on Flat Design – In fact, the only 3D effects detectable on the Yosemite desktop screen are the light shadows under the windows. Apart from that, the developers from Apple have gone with a flat, translucent design theme for the new OS – right from the Finder and the Dock, to the toolbar buttons. Experts on iOS app development feel that the overall look and feel of OS X Yosemite is somewhat similar to that of iOS 7, in a good way.
- A smarter Spotlight – Not only is the Spotlight on Yosemite more easily accessible (it can now be viewed at the center of the screen, and is not stuck at the top-right), its usability has gone up by several notches. In addition to files and folders stored in the Mac, you will also get results from the web, related to the item you have searched for. Once again, this feature is the same as what is available on the iOS 8 Spotlight. The iCloud Locker can be searched with the revamped Spotlight too.
- Option to set a different default web browser – Over the last couple of years, the Safari browser has improved considerably in terms of speed and reliability (unlike the sad case of Opera). Apple now probably has the confidence that Safari can fight it out with the other popular browsers in the market. Hence, on Yosemite, you get the option of setting Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or even DuckDuckGo in your System Preferences (i.e., default for the entire OS). This is in line with the move towards greater customization that the Cupertino giants are offering via the new Mac OS as well as iOS 8.
- AirDrop – Another classic example of how Apple wants to facilitate collaboration between upgraded iPhones and OS X Yosemite. With AirDrop, files and folders can be seamlessly transferred between new Mac systems and iOS 8-powered devices (your own, or of your contacts). AirDrop would also be functional on earlier versions of Mac OS – but a special feature will have to be activated for that.
- iPhone-screen recording – This feature is particularly handy for developers from mobile app companies. iOS devices can be plugged on OS X 10.10-powered iMacs, following which the handset will show up as a camera device. You can now record customized videos of your phone screen. This, in turn, would help you keep a constant tab of whatever is happening on the phone screen. Real-time app testing, for example, will become easier.
- Digital signatures via Trackpad – Trackpad is one of the most interesting features of the new Mac OS platform, and it goes a long way in enhancing the authenticity of the documents you send to/share with others. After you load any document in the Mail application (or in Preview), a single-click on it would make the the ‘Trackpad’ option visible. With it, you can add your digital signature to the document. The iSight camera can also be used to put digital signatures on files.
For fans of the Tumblr app, there is an all-new compatible version available for OS X Yosemite. The screen-sharing feature via Messages (already present in Mavericks) gets a lift in the new platform too. The redesigned Calendar has additional features, and has definite similarities with the Calendar app on iOS 8. Yosemite is not something radically different from Mavericks or even Mountain Lion – but these subtle changes and enhanced capabilities can make it the most popular Mac OS platform ever.
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