Apple is set to release OS X El Capitan to the world tomorrow, and as is usually the case with its new operating systems, the company has finally given reviewers the greenlight to make their opinions public.
For those wondering whether they should upgrade their Macs tomorrow afternoon, the reviewers generally agree that it’s well worth it, with big speed gains and improvements to usability making it easier than ever to get things done.
Below you’ll find a roundup of reviews for your perusal.
If you own a Mac, you’ll want El Capitan. This update simplifies the Mac experience, improving the tools you already use while promising improved performance to come.
El Capitan doesn’t look any different from the last version; instead, it’s a representation of all the little nips and tucks that Apple engineers wished they’d had time to put into the last version.
Unlike last year’s OS X Yosemite, the latest version of Apple’s Mac operating system isn’t teeming with new features and a whole new look. Instead, El Capitan refines the things that matter most in a computer: how fast our apps work and how fast we can work with so many of them open.
There was a time, only a few years ago, when OS X updates were fraught with should-I-or-shouldn’t-I peril, along with a real price tag. Those days are long gone. Should you update to El Capitan? Unreservedly yes—I’ve found it to be stable, it’s free, it’ll download and install itself on your Mac with nearly no intervention, and it’ll bring with it improved security, speed, and functionality.
The days of dramatic operating-system updates are over. El Capitan is as solid as the giant granite monolith that towers over Yosemite Valley. Upgrade, and get an improved Mac. It’s really that simple.
El Capitan follows in the well-worn footsteps of the Snow Leopard or Mountain Lion releases, which introduced some new features but largely focused on polish rather than pizzazz. That’s a good thing for a platform that’s as mature as OS X has become. iOS 9 is a similar kind of release compared to iOS 7 and iOS 8, and the result is the best x.0 version of iOS we’ve gotten in years. Given the breakneck pace of the yearly release cycles, these quieter years are a good opportunity for Apple (and users) to regroup.
With the possible exception of Split View multitasking, I’d be hard-pressed to choose a standout feature that really defines the OS. So, if you weren’t impressed with Yosemite’s flat design and tight integration with iOS, you won’t find much here to get excited about, especially if you’re considering making the switch from Windows, which has had split-screen multitasking for years now. If you’re a loyal Mac user, though, and appreciated the big-picture changes that came with Yosemite, you’ll likely welcome the various tweaks here too, especially those performance gains. Can’t ever have too much speed.
El Capitan is the spit-shine Yosemite needed. It’s faster, more powerful and intuitive, and works a lot better with iOS than the Mac ever has.
The visual and feature changes I found were all improvements, but really the update is all about speed.
There’s a lot to like about El Capitan, not least the price. As a free upgrade it’s a no-brainer, and though there might not be any one headline feature or improvement, it polishes away some of the rawer edges that were left behind in Yosemite. You might not use all of them beyond the honeymoon period post-install, but it could add up to a smoother overall experience if even just a few of the tweaks work their way into your day to day routine.
I said in my preview last June that El Capitan is Apple’s strongest argument yet that you should live inside Apple’s ecosystem of apps and services. After using El Capitan for a few weeks, I still think that’s true. But I’m also not willing to give my whole digital life over. There are still plenty of things that I can do with other services, add-ons, and third party apps that El Capitan can’t. But the gap is shrinking.