Apple has finally pushed out the MacOS Sierra update we've been waiting for since WWDC back in June and, with it, some useful new features. They can speed up how you work and find things, as well as helping you save space on your precious hard drive.
Perhaps the biggest new feature is Siri, which is just as useful as it is on iPhone, and the new Messages app has been revamped to make it more compatible with the all-new iOS 10 Messages app.
Read and watch on to discover some of the new features we've found most useful and convenient.
MacOS Sierra tips: Siri
Siri on Mac can be used for pretty much anything you can use it for on iPhone, except you can use it to find documents with specific names, or created at certain times and dates and much more.
How to activate Siri: Just like any other app you can launch it by clicking on the icon on your home screen dock, or hit CMD+Space and search for it in Spotlight like any other app. There’s also a small round purple Siri icon in the toolbar at the top of your home screen which you can click to activate the service.
How to use Siri to find specific files: Siri is actually a very powerful tool on Mac. You can ask Siri questions like “Find me documents with expenses in the title” and it’ll list any files which match the search.
You can also try “find me any documents I’ve worked on this week/this month/over the last two days”. In fact you can even make it more detailed by asking it specifically for Numbers, Keynote or Pages documents edited in any specified measure of time.
How to use Siri to find specific emails: As with the files, Siri is able to find your emails based on what is in them and who sent them. For instance "find any emails from Chris Hall" would give you a list of any emails sent to you by Chris Hall.
How to pin Siri results to the Today view: Whether you search for weather, sports schedules, or anything else, you can pin your Siri results to your Today view in the Notification Centre tab by clicking on the little "+" button in the corner.
How to drag and drop images from Siri: Give Siri a command like "search the web for images of the original iPhone" then you can simply drag and drop any of the individual pictures that appear in to an email body.
It's worth noting, the wording the command needs to include "search the web" otherwise, it'll try looking in your Photos app, or just perform a regular web search.
MacOS Sierra tips: Messages
Messages in MacOS Sierra didn't get as big an update as its iOS counterpart, but it did get a refresh to make it compatible with some of the new iOS app's features.
- iOS 10 Messages explained: What's new and how to use it
- Apple iOS 10 tips and tricks: See what your iPhone and iPad can do now
How to react to messages in MacOS Sierra: If you click and hold on an individual message you'll see a number of talkback/reaction options appear in a separate bubble above the message. Choose the one you want, and it'll appear next to the message in both the Messages app on your Mac, and on your contact's screen.
How to interact with effects in Messages on Mac: Effects like Invisible Ink still pop up on your Messages app screen in MacOS Sierra, even if you can’t actually send messages with effects. With Invisible Ink, for example, you can swipe away the glittery layer just by swiping your cursor across the concealed message.
MacOS Sierra tips: Optimised storage
One of the new features in MacOS Sierra is optimised storage, which frees you from having to worry about how space you have left on your hard drive, by automatically clearing out the dead wood or keeping it in the cloud instead.
Head to "About this Mac" which you can access by clicking the Apple logo in the top left corner of your toolbar on the home screen. Then click the "Storage" tab, then click "Manage".
Delete old files and documents: In the screen you’ve just accessed there’s a list of documents, apps and folders in the sidebar to the left. You can also get to it by clicking the "Review files" button at the bottom of the main menu.
Click on a category, then select any that are taking up large amounts of space then delete any files you don’t need by clicking the little "x" symbol. This can include iMovie, Photos and Garageband libraries as well as documents and apps.
Store photos and videos in the cloud: In the main storage management screen there’s a "Store in iCloud" option. Click "optimise" and it’ll automatically save your photos and videos to iCloud and optimise any photos left to take up less local space.
Get rid of old movies and Mail attachments: The "Optimise storage" option in the main menu deletes any old Mail attachments from your system, and can remove any iTunes Movies and TV shows you’ve already watched.
You can easily download them all again whenever you need access.
Empty trash automatically: To remove the risk of over-filling your Mac with trash, you can set the Mac to automatically remove any files from your trash that you haven’t accessed in 30 days. Just hit the "turn on" button.
MacOS Sierra tips: Window in window video
One of the cool new features in Safari and iTunes is that you can pop out video so that it appears in its own little window on your screen. You can switch between home screens, and even go to full screen apps and the video stays there, playing in the corner where you put it.
Activating it is simple, just look for the little pop-out icon within the video playing in Safari or on iTunes. You’ll find this on the control bar alongside the usual play/pause/skip/full-screen buttons. It looks like one small rectangle over-lapping another bigger one.
Using it on YouTube is a little trickier but still possible. All you need to do is right click twice on the video in YouTube and select "Picture in Picture" from the menu that pops up on screen.
MacOS Sierra tips: Continuity
MacOS Sierra features a couple of new Continuity features which help when you have iOS or WatchOS devices switched on, signed in to the same iCloud account and nearby.
Copy and paste between devices: If you have an iPhone, it’s possible to copy text or an image on your phone, then switch to your Mac and hit "paste" or CMD+V. Then whatever was copied on your phone will paste on to your Mac.
When it works, it’s magic. It works the other way around too, so you can copy from the Mac and paste to your iPhone or iPad. As long as both are signed in to the same iCloud account it works, you don’t have to do anything else.
Sadly, sometimes there’s a bit of a delay in pasting, especially when it’s a larger file.
Unlock your MacBook with Apple Watch: If you have your Apple Watch on you and unlocked, all you have to do to unlock your MacBook is open it. No passwords.
Get your desktop files on your iPhone: iCloud Drive now has a desktop and documents option. On your Mac, go to System Preferences>iCloud then click on "options" next to iCloud Drive.
The top option is "Desktop & Documents Folders". With this selected, when you access iCloud Drive on your iPad or iPhone, you’ll get folders with all the files currently present on your Mac Desktop and Documents folders.