macOS 14 is codenamed Sonoma. The system was presented at the Apple WWDC developer conference in the summer of 2023. macOS Sonoma comes with a host of new features. The main focus is on widgets, video conferencing and Safari settings.
What does the word “Sonoma” mean in macOS Sonoma?
Traditionally, for the latest versions of macOS, the name has geographical roots; this time, Sonoma County in California, the centre of local winemaking, was chosen.
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Which Macs support installing macOS Sonoma
List of Mac computer models that can install macOS Sonoma:
- iMac (2019 and newer)
- Mac Pro (2019 and newer)
- iMac Pro (2017 and newer)
- Mac Studio (2022 and newer)
- MacBook Air (2018 and newer)
- Mac mini (2018 and newer)
- MacBook Pro (2018 and newer)
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Desktop widgets in macOS Sonoma
Now widgets can be placed anywhere on the screen (details). Previously, they were tied to the Notification Center. There is a new gallery for selecting widgets; they are becoming more and more similar to their iPadOS counterparts. These mini-apps themselves have become more useful – you can use them to start podcasts, turn off the lights, and do many other useful things. Continuity lets you transfer widgets from your iPhone to your Mac without installing the corresponding app on macOS. And when you open an application, window, or use the Stager function, widgets will go into the background without interfering with your concentration on the main task. As soon as you change the wallpaper, the widget’s color adapts to it.
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New video conferencing features in macOS Sonoma
At one time, the MacBook webcam was an accessory, but not a critical one. Apple didn’t even focus on quality. But now video conferencing has become an important feature that cannot be ignored. Accordingly, new operating systems make this tool even better and more efficient. The Presenter Overlay feature allows you to overlay video of a speaker on top of a shared screen, as if using chroma key. In this case, you can choose two options for overlays: large and small.
With a large overlay, the focus will be kept on the character and their screen will be shown on a separate layer. By hovering the cursor over the shared screen, you can turn the pointer into a moving bubble. You can use it to move around the screen, highlighting important details.
3D visual effects can be provided with simple hand gestures, your interlocutors will see the work of augmented reality: hearts, confetti, fireworks and much more.
The new screen selector will allow you to share an application or even several directly during a video call from the working window.
You can control the composition of your video by selecting iPhone or Studio Display as the camera. The controls allow you to adjust the frame by changing its scale or creating a panorama. The Recenter feature will automatically place the speaker in the center of the frame.
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Changes to Safari in macOS Sonoma
The user can now create browsing profiles (detailed), such as “Work” or “Personal”. They will each have their own browsing history, bookmarks, extensions, tabs, favorites and cookies. This will allow you to separate work settings and scenarios from personal ones. And you can switch between profiles right while watching and very quickly. Search in Safari has been accelerated, making the results even more relevant and easier to read.
Web applications have arrived in your Dock. Any site can be added there and then be opened using the simplified Safari interface. You can also launch the application using the “File” menu. Web applications are accessed in the same way as other applications, with the ability to receive notifications from them. At the same time, site developers themselves are not required to rework their resources.
Safari offers password sharing with your trusted contacts. To do this, you just need to create a group and select a set of accounts for it. Passwords will be available to everyone on this list; anyone can be deleted at the right time. And the collection of passwords for websites will be updated simultaneously for everyone, synchronization will occur on registered devices.
Private browsing has also changed. It now blocks unused browsing windows and also prevents known tracking tools, including those added directly to the page URL.
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Changes to Messages in macOS Sonoma
Search filters have appeared in Messages.
They help you find the message you need faster by narrowing your search. Thus, a contact’s name can be combined with a search query in a specific conversation. The catch-up feature helps you quickly jump to the first unread message in a conversation. And by swiping right on any message, you can quickly reply to it.
Now the plus button will allow you to quickly share your location by viewing it directly in the chat.
Stickers in Messages have a new selection interface. The new box will contain both live stickers and notes. At the same time, the stickers are synced with iCloud, so they will be available on your iPhone, iPad and Mac.
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New features for working with PDF and Notes in macOS Sonoma
Autofill will allow you to fill out documents much faster. The user will be able to securely transfer information from contacts directly into the corresponding fields of a PDF file or scanned document.
You can view the full-size PDF directly in your notes by switching between its pages. And you can store multiple PDF files in one note for quick access to related documents. You can create related notes: a trip route, a list of recommended places to visit.
Using the Share button, you can send work you started in Notes to Pages. Setting fonts, graphics size, and adding video to the document will allow you to create a truly effective document.
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Game Mode in macOS Sonoma
There are now more games available for Mac than ever before. Recent releases include Stray, Fort Solis, DEATH STRANDING DIRECTOR’S CUT, SnowRunner, World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, HUMANKIND™, The Medium, Resident Evil Village: Winters’ Expansion, No Man’s Sky, Firmament, Disney Dreamlight Valley, Dragonheir: Silent Gods, ELEX II and Layers of Fear. And it’s no coincidence that macOS now has Game Mode. It optimizes system performance, allocating maximum processor and video core power to gaming tasks, reducing the load on background processes. Using wireless accessories, AirPods and controllers, will significantly reduce the delay in data transfer.
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Other changes in macOS Sonoma
Keyboard typing has received improved, refined autocorrect. Automatically corrected words are now temporarily underlined to help you understand what the system did. With one click you can return to the original version. Sentence ending predictions will be offered as you type.
The new video screensavers will look great on large Mac displays. The slow motion playback of high quality images is literally mesmerizing. And after logging in, these screensavers can become your desktop wallpaper.
Once again, Apple has placed a lot of emphasis on privacy issues. Photos and videos received improved protection. Focus is on sending and receiving content in the system-wide photo picker and third-party apps. In Messages and third-party apps, you can blur sensitive or intimate photos and videos before viewing them.
You can choose which photos to share from your app, leaving the rest of your library protected. You can allow an app to add events to Calendar without being able to view your information.
The blocking mode has been expanded to help counter cyber attacks. The developers recommend activating this mode on all Apple devices, including the Apple Watch.
Other changes include improved accessibility features with the ability for users with speech loss to synthesize a voice similar to their own and use it in FaceTime calls and conversations. iPhone hearing devices will be able to work directly with Mac. The new system will make it easier to adjust text size for easier reading, automatically pause animations on web pages, and provide a new experience using voice control of the device.