In Depth

Apple’s MacOS High Sierra: seven new features you may have missed

Auto-play videos and adverts that track your online habits are a thing of the past in the update

Apple’s latest software update for its Mac computers has finally been released, bringing with it a host of performance improvements and new features.

Some of the standout additions of the update, which is called MacOS High Sierra, come in the form of an improved filing system and a streamlined version of the Photos app.

But there’s a bunch of smaller features that only diehard Apple fans will be able to spot. Here are seven new additions in High Sierra that you may have missed:

1. You can now edit live photos

The Live Photo option blends images and videos together to create a short moving picture when you take a photo. It’s a system that’s been around since the iPhone 6S launched in 2015, but Apple has never allowed users to edit Live Photos.

All that changes with High Sierra. Tech Crunch says you can “filter, crop and adjust the colour” of the moving pictures in the Photos app. Simply find a Live Photo in the app and click the editing tool button.

2. Safari will block ads that track you

Certain websites have adverts that place small trackers, called cookies, on your computer to monitor your browsing habits. This helps ad makers tailor their content to reach more users.

Pocket-Lint says a new feature in Safari allows you to disable ads that track your online habits. This means “you won’t see that product you looked up on Amazon shown to you for days on end when you visit other sites.”

3. Auto-play videos can also be blocked

Logging on to Facebook often presents you with an abundance of auto-play videos, which can be annoying if your computer’s audio is switched on. 

But in High Sierra, says Pocket-Lint, auto-play videos can be deactivated. This can be done by heading into the Preferences menu in Safari and turning auto-play videos off. 

4. Video streaming is smoother

High Sierra comes with a new form of video technology called High Efficiency Video Encoding that makes it easier to stream content, says Mac Rumors.

The website says this comes with a 40% improvement in video compression, which will save “valuable storage space” on your Mac and make streaming less taxing for your computer.

5. It’s VR compatible

Those looking to view virtual reality (VR) content on their Mac are in luck, as Apple Insider says High Sierra will be compatible with the technology.

Macs themselves don’t have enough power to run VR content, but the site says High Sierra allows users to connect external graphics cards to their laptop or desktop computers to boost their performance. SteamVR is available to download now, but it may take some time for a variety of VR videos and games to appear.  

6. Siri can play music for you

Siri has received multiple tweaks in High Sierra, which include improved sounds that make it sound “less robotic and more like natural human-speak”, says Mac World

One of the biggest new additions to the voice assistant is you can now ask it to play music for you. To do so, the website says you need to open Siri and give it a command such as “play some music”. You can even ask for a specific genre of music to play and ask for details of when certain songs were released.   

7. You can take Live Photos in FaceTime

Mac Rumors says you can capture Live Photos of someone you video call using the FaceTime app.

Pressing the camera button at the bottom of the calling screen records a Live Photo of the person you are talking to, the website says. Once you press the button, both participants receive a notification that a photo was taken and it’s added to your Photo Library.

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