(The update is rolling out now, it may take some time to propagate across all App Store regions)

Pixelmator for Mac today updated to version 3.6 optimized for macOS Sierra and the new MacBook Pro Touch Bar, as well as a handful of other enhancements for the photo editor. Pixelmator 3.6 includes support for the latest macOS Sierra APIs, like Universal Clipboard and Tabs. Tabs enable users to edit multiple Pixelmator documents in a single window. As promised at the Apple event, this update brings a contextual row of Pixelmator editing tools into the Touch Bar present in the new MacBook Pros.

The update also includes new ways to make selections, including a content-aware Smart Refine, a live preview Quick Selection, wide color image support, and more.

The Pixelmator team have a reputation of adopting the latest changes to Apple’s platforms quickly and 3.6 continues that tradition, with comprehensive support for macOS Sierra and the Touch Bar. The app supports the new window snapping behaviour in Sierra, so the edges of palettes and inspectors align when close together, Universal Clipboard integration to seamlessly copy elements between Pixelmator for Mac and Pixelmator for iOS, and the addition of Sierra Tabs.

For the first time, Pixelmator users can open multiple canvases at the same time without spawning a jumble of windows. Tabs keep everything in one view, in the same way as tabbed browsing in Safari makes it easier to manage surfing the web. You can even drag-and-drop layers between the tabs to quickly move a layer from one document to another.

For new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar owners, Pixelmator has added rich Touch Bar integration. It shows the most common tools by default and further options when working with a particular tool, like color palettes, selection refinements and much more. Pixelmator supports Touch Bar customisation too so you can adjust what’s available to suit your own workflow.


The Touch Bar buttons uses the same iconography as the Tools palette in the main Mac app; although Apple guidelines suggest not to use full-colour icons, I think the consistency is helpful here as it allows the eye to quickly pick out the corresponding options in the Mac app and Touch Bar together.

Wide color displays are also taken advantage of in this update, Retina iMac and new MacBook Pro users will see richer colors on their screen when handling 16-bit images with a broader range of color reproduction for greens and reds.

Version 3.6 also adds new a Smart Refine toggle when making selections. It uses content-aware algorithms to turn rough outline selections into precise cutouts, with edge-detection and texture-recognition algorithms.

Pixelmator will also smooth out the edges to better blend the superimposed area when copied to another image. There’s also a new live preview feature for the Quick Selection tool, as well as the usual spattering of performance enhancements and bug fixes.

The new Pixelmator for Mac is available now in the Mac App Store, priced at $29.99. The update is free for existing customers. The app is designed to sync effortlessly with the iPhone and iPad counterpart, available in the App Store for $4.99.

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About the Author

Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.