Apple ' s macOS 10.13 High Sierra was introduced two years ago and is clearly not the current Mac operating system – that honor goes to macOS 10.14 Mojave. But because Mojave has increased system requirements by a considerable margin, many people will use MacOS High Sierra for many years to come.
Not to complain: over time, macOS has become one of the best versions of the Mac operating system to date – even if there were a number of security issues at launch. These days, not only have all launch issues been resolved, but Apple continues to deliver security updates, even against the background of macOS Mojave.
And while macOS included a number of time-saving photo editing tools and a whole new file system, macOS was not immune to criticism at launch. Namely, it was criticized for simply iterating on Sierra – just like Mountain Lion did after Lion. Still, just because the improvements are relatively small does not mean that they are not there, so we will discover everything there is to know about macOS High Sierra.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The 2017 edition of Apple ' s Mac operating system, macOS
- When will it be out? Available to install now
- What will it cost? macOS High Sierra is free to download
macOS 10.13 High Sierra release date
Apple unveiled macOS 10.13 High Sierra during the WWDC keynote 2017, which is no surprise, given Apple ' s tradition to announce the latest version of its Mac software at its annual developer event.
However, it took until September 12 before Apple revealed that High Sierra would launch a little more than a week later, on September 25. There was a beta version of the operating system developer that you could use to sign up for the final release, but that's not necessarily the case anymore – the latest version of macOS 10.13 has been in the wild for over a year.
The latest version of macOS High Sierra, 10.13.6 is now available. In addition to some bug fixes, it integrates Airplay 2 into iTunes – although you need to update iTunes to take advantage of this. You can download the update from the Mac App Store. More importantly, this update contains the bug fix that blocks the Core i9 MacBook Pro from thermal throttling. And you can be sure that Apple will continue to publish security updates for MacOS High Sierra for years to come.
Safari 12 is also available for MacOS High Sierra users, who not only support website icons on your tabs, but also have better security. For example, websites cannot track your specific Mac when the native web browser is used.
If you are ready to go to the next version of macOS, you can download macOS Mojave today. And luckily we can show you how to download and install macOS Mojave.
macOS 10.13 High Sierra compatibility
Fortunately, because macOS High Sierra did not really shake things up, the entry barrier did not change. MacOS High Sierra even has much more mild requirements than Mojave, so it should be popular for a while. As long as you have one of the following Mac models, you can upgrade to macOS High Sierra (if you have not already done so).
- End of 2009 iMac or newer
- End of 2009 MacBook/ MacBook (Retina) or newer
- Mid 2010 MacBook Pro or newer
- End of 2010 MacBook Air or newer
- Mid 2010 Mac Mini or newer
- Mid 2010 Mac pro or newer
- 2017 iMac Pro
Keep in mind that if you want to take advantage of the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVE) benefits of macOS High Sierra, you need a Mac that supports at least a sixth-generation Skylake processor from Intel. Unfortunately, that comes down to everything that was released before 2015, but on the other hand, everything else that macOS High Sierra brings to the table is a fair game.
macOS 10.13 High Sierra functions
Beyond the Hackintosh users who are concerned about the newly enforced security checks on EFI firmware that are automatically implemented every week, Apple has unveiled some great new features with macOS 10.13 High Sierra.
The new and improved Safari is one of the most important improvements: it puts the tracking of ads and the automatic playback of videos in their tracks. But MacOS High Sierra also brings Spotlight Search to the Mail app, along with allowing the Mail app to display a split view for the compose window. And as an extra bonus, macOS High Sierra takes 35% less storage space.
Photos ' s also sees improvements, with a better sorting tool. This is due to a better layout, improved face recognition via neural networks and improved synchronization on all Apple devices. All this makes the macOS High Sierra photo experience better than ever before.
The editing tools have also been improved, making it easier than ever to improve the quality of your photos without learning the intricacies of Photoshop or Camera RAW. And of course you can count on Instagram-like filters being part of this.
One of the biggest changes that comes with macOS High Sierra is with the file system. It dumps the HFS – which Apple has been using for some 30 years – and now uses the Apple File System (APFS).
Every Mac that has been upgraded to macOS High Sierra automatically receives these file system updates with the exception of those sporty Fusion Drives and older HDD ' s. Similarly, all new Macs will be pre-formatted for APFS.
To be precise, APFS is a 64-bit file system that supports native encryption and faster metadata processing. This may all sound a bit technical, but it means that your Mac will feel a lot faster, while you are also more secure and transparent about the nature of your files and folder contents. Unfortunately, this comes with Apple ' s confirmation that 32-bit apps will be discontinued in later versions of macOS High Sierra.
The update also brings HEVC, or H.265, video compression to the Mac. Apple claims that this new standard can compress 40% more video files than the previous generation H.264 standard. The end result is a faster video stream with higher resolutions – ahem, 4K – and smaller video file sizes when stored locally.
VR is finally coming to the Mac
One of the biggest bits of news about macOS High Sierra is that it will finally bring support for virtual reality headsets. Namely, the HTC Vive and Steam VR will work with Macs using the new operating system this fall.
To use such a device, however, you need at least a 5K iMac or MacBook Pro, or any other Mac that can run the new operating system with an external GPU solution. Support for such devices is part of the macOS High Sierra package, but will not be active until later this year.
The good news is that macOS High Sierra offers a number of improvements to its graphical API that make up for the scarce GPU support. Metal was a step forward for hardware-accelerated 3D graphics, but with Metal 2, Apple promises less CPU load, as well as proper machine learning and better Xcode profiling / debugging in macOS High Sierra.
Perhaps even more important is the fact that MoltenVK was recently brought to Mac by the Khronos Group. An implementation of the open-source Vulkan API, it would bring frame rate gains to 50% in Dota 2. Because it is also cross-platform – supported by both Windows and Linux and Apple devices – MoltenVK is likely to expand on a larger scale video makers are taken over.
- Images Credit: Apple
Joe Osborne and Gabe Carey also contributed to this report
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