Today Apple released version 10.9 of Mac OS X, codenamed “Mavericks.” The new OS includes several new features and enhancements over the previous version, “Mountain Lion.” The update is available for free for all compatible Macs from the App Store
Below you’ll find a closer look at some of the new features in 10.9.
iBooks sports most of the same features you’ve already seen on the iOS version. You can read a books in a variety of filetypes; browse the iBookstore for some new reading material from the New York Times Bestsellers list; and sync your notes, bookmarks, highlights, and reading progress to other devices via iCloud.
Maps will also be familiar to anyone who is used to Apple’s in-house mapping solution. The actual map data itself is mostly the same, and the features you’re used to, such as being able to look up a contact’s address or save bookmarked locations, are included. One new feature in the Mac version of Maps is the ability to plot out a route for a trip and then send it to your iPhone over iCloud. This pops up a notification on your phone which will take you to the Maps application on that device and start turn-by-turn directions for your route.
Lots of new features have been added to the Finder in Mavericks. One of the biggest points at WWDC was the ability to tag files, search those tags, and create smart folders based on tags and other criteria.
Perhaps a more important feature for many is tabbed Finder windows. Now each Finder window can support several Safari-style tabs to avoid having multiple windows open and scattered across your screen at a time.
Finally, the Finder joins a host of other apps to support full-screen mode. While full-screen mode was first introduced in 10.7, Apple never supported it in the Finder until today.
Several new improvements were made to the Notification Center in Mavericks, the most useful of which is the option to carry out certain tasks directly from the notification banners. For example, you can now reply to an iMessage or email by clicking a button on the notification rather than having to open Messages or Mail. Some apps support other actions, such as deleting an email without even reading it.
In Mavericks, you can also receive push notifications from websites. These notifications behave just like those from native applications, except they open a website instead of an app.
Notifications can also stack up on your Mac’s “lockscreen” now, letting you quickly see any new messages, emails, or other notifications that came in while you were away. This setting is customizable for each app in System Preferences to avoid any potential security issues.
Apple heard a lot of complaints from users who were dissatisfied with the way previous versions of OS X handled multiple monitors. Many of those issues have been addressed in Mavericks, which finally allows the use of separate full-screen apps on different monitors at once.
Another major improvement to multi-monitor support include separate menu bars for each screen that change based on the apps running on that display rather than the currently-active application. Each monitor is completely independent of the others, although if you want the old behavior back, that’s available in System Preferences.
Safari has received some attention in Mavericks, but it’s nothing as substantial as the changes you’ll find in Calendar. Aside from the obvious performance updates, Apple has added two new features to their default browser.
The first is a new way to manage your bookmarks. Rather than opening a whole new page just to edit the location of a bookmark, you can now open a sidebar. Also located in the sidebar is a new “Shared Links” list that pulls shared links from your social networks and lists them for easy access.
The Top Sites view has also gotten a facelift and now sports a lighter background and flattened 2D grid.
The result is iCloud Keychain, a system that saves your passwords and credit card information securely in your iCloud account where only you can access it. The information is synced across devices and allows you to quickly generate, save, and auto-fill complex passwords that help prevent your accounts from being hacked.
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