7 best features of MacOS High Sierra

On Monday, Apple previewed the next version of its software that powers your Mac as part of WWDC, its annual developer conference. Many features include behind-the-scene updates to make your Mac and its apps faster, more secure and more enjoyable. Here are seven that got our attention.

1. VR and AR creation, finally!

Apple finally gets into the virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) game with High Sierra. The new OS will support more powerful Mac hardware aimed at creative professionals, especially those creating VR and AR content. Apple even announced ARkit, a new platform for developers to create augmented reality experiences for iOS devices.

2. Autoplay blocking

Safari got a number of improvements, but the standout feature is the ability to block autoplay videos. Specifically, Safari enables you to customize controls, settings and preferences for individual websites. For example, you can turn off autoplay videos for a site, but still let the site have access to your location and set a default page zoom level of your choosing.

3. To GIF or not to GIF

The Mac’s nativeĀ Photos app got a number of new features including the ability to edit Live photos with three new effects: Loop, Bounce and Long Exposure. Loop is Apple’s answer to a GIF and lets you edit Live photos for the perfect repetitive loop. Long Exposure adds a DSLR-like effect for motion blur and Bounce lets you edit the action in your Live photos to play it forward and backward in a loop.

4. iCloud remembers your Messages

Setting up a new Mac can be a mix of fun and tediousness. Unless you are restoring from a backup, your Messages app is essentially a blank slate. High Sierra changes this by using iCloud to store your message history. Now all of your old Messages will be available on your new Mac.

5. Stop advertisers from tracking you

Safari has a new feature called Intelligent Tracking Prevention which uses machine learning to find advertisers that track you and remove the tracking data they leave behind. So if you buy a pink patent leather collar for your dog on one site, you won’t see ads for the same collar on other sites.

6. Bigger video, smaller package

High Sierra supports what Apple calls high efficiency video coding (HEVC) aka H.265 for videos. This means as new devices let you capture more HD and 4K videos, the quality of that video will be preserved better without taking as much room on your device.

7. Photo edits stay with your photos

You can now open a picture in third-party apps like Adobe Photoshop and Pixelmator directly from Photos.Your edits save automatically as you go back-and-forth between apps.

MacOS High Sierra is available to developers starting today and will be released this fall.