After last week’s successful launch of iOS 12, it’s now the Mac’s turn to receive its yearly software update in the form of macOS Mojave. Version 10.14 of macOS includes loads of new features to help make your life on the desktop easier.
New features include things like the long-awaited Dark Mode, great for working in dimly lit environments, Stacks, a feature that lets you quickly tidy up your desktop. Mojave also includes a refined screenshot interface, and apps that were previously exclusive to iOS like Home, Voice Memos, Stocks and Apple News.
Needless to say, macOS Mojave is a major new update for Mac users. Watch our hands-on video walkthrough inside for a full look into what’s new.
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Special thanks to MacPaw, creators of CleanMyMac X, for sponsoring our macOS video walkthrough.
Dark Mode is the flagship feature for this year’s macOS update, as it brings a long-awaited native dark interface to the Mac. The benefits of Dark Mode go beyond pure aesthetics, as the darker interface is easier on the eyes when working in dimly lit environments. Not only do many first-party apps — Finder, Safari, Calendar, Messages, etc — have support for Dark Mode, but third-party apps can incorporate support as well.
Working alongside macOS’ new Dark Mode capability, Dynamic desktop is a time-shifting feature that changes the look of your desktop wallpaper based on the time of day in your location.
Six new accent colors
Users have long been able to change between blue and graphite accent colors in macOS, but in Mojave you’re now able to choose between six additional colors. This setting influences the color of UI accents like radio buttons, dropdown menu arrows, etc.
To change the accent color, go to System Preferences → General, and select the desired color. Options include the original blue and graphite colors, along with new red, orange, yellow, green, purple, or pink colors.
I’ve always struggled with maintaining a tidy desktop. As much as I try, it inevitably becomes an unorganized mess with the passage of time. Stacks is a new feature in macOS aimed at people like me. It’s designed purely with desktop organization in mind, allowing you to quickly group multiple desktop items by kind, date, or tags.
Stacks allow you to go from a cluttered desktop to an uncluttered desktop in just a few clicks. You can then scroll through stacks to quickly find a particular item, or quickly expand a stack just by clicking on it. And if you have Stacks enabled, any new item that you add to your desktop will be automatically added to its appropriate Stack to keep things nice and tidy.
The Finder receives three notable new updates in macOS Mojave, starting with a brand new Gallery View that allows you to see big previews of your files for easy identification. Think Quick Look, but far more visually appealing and useful.
Another new Finder upgrade is Quick Actions. These shortcuts live up to their name by allowing users to quickly take action on files directly from the Finder interface. With Quick Actions, users can perform one click operations to create PDFs, trim video, or rotate images. And Quick Actions let you perform operations on multiple selected files simultaneously.
The last big Finder upgrade has to do with how much metadata is presented directly from within the Finder interface. When viewing files, you can now see all of the associated metadata or customize the specific metadata that you wish to see.
Quick Look enhancements
Quick Look now allows you to perform actions on the file without fully opening the file in a supported app. Quick Look actions include the ability to mark up, crop, and rotate images and PDFs, trim audio and video files, and share files via AirDrop, Mail, etc.
The Screenshot utility in macOS has always been far and beyond offerings from competing desktop platforms, but with macOS Mojave, Apple is aiming to make it easier to take and manage screenshots.
A brand new screenshot utility, accessible via the Utilities folder or via a keyboard shortcut (Shift + Command + 5), provides an on-screen user interface that’s dedicated to taking screenshots. If you’re familiar with the old Grab tool that’s been around since before Mac OS X, you’ll have an idea of what to expect. The Screenshot utility is similar to Grab, but considerably more refined and powerful.
After taking a screenshot, you’ll notice that a thumbnail of the screenshot now appears in the bottom right-hand corner of the display. The screenshot thumbnail allows you to open it and mark it up, and/or drag it to a particular destination without ever needing to save a copy. If no action is taken on the screenshot, it’ll automatically save to the default destination.
In addition to capturing screenshots, the new utility allows users to record the screen. The screen recording feature isn’t going to supplant more advanced apps like ScreenFlow 8, but it’s a handy tool to use for occasional screen recording needs.
Continuity Camera takes some of the inefficiency out of the process of taking photos with your iPhone or iPad for use on your Mac. Instead of launching the iPhone camera app, taking a photo and manually sharing it with your Mac, Continuity Camera allows you to invoke your iPhone’s camera app directly from the macOS desktop. Once you take a photo using Continuity Camera, the resulting image is automatically saved to your Mac.
Apple has added four new previously iOS-exclusive apps to the Mac with macOS Mojave, starting with the News app. Each of these apps are built using a new toolset that will allow developers to target both the iOS and macOS platforms.
The presence of the News app in macOS provides users with a reliable, curated source for all of the latest news. And because it syncs with the iOS version, you can pick up right where you left off on any iCloud-connected device.
Like the new and improved Stocks app on iOS 12, Stocks on macOS features ticker information as well as relevant news articles sourced from Apple News.
By far the most useful new app is the Home app, which allows users to control HomeKit devices directly from their Macs. Previously, there was no native method for controlling HomeKit from the Mac, which meant that you couldn’t use Siri on Mac to control your smart devices either.
The last app taken from iOS is Voice Memos, whose iPhone and iPad versions also received big iOS 12 updates. Most notably, all of your voice memos are now synced thanks to iCloud support, so the memos that you capture on your iPhone or iPad can be played on your Mac, and vice versa.
iPad users have been enjoying recent app functionality in the iOS dock since the release of iOS 11, and now Mac users get a piece of the recent app action in macOS Mojave. Of course, you can easily toggle recent app functionality by going to System Preferences → Dock, and checking or unchecking Show recent applications in Dock.
Mac App Store redesign
macOS Mojave includes the biggest redesign that we’ve ever seen for the Mac App Store. It’s a radical departure from the way the app used to appear and function, and like the iOS App Store, it’s all based around showcasing apps. Whether it be bigger photos, video previews, or editorial content, it’s clear that Apple wants the framework of the app to take a back seat to the actual content being offered.
Privacy and Security
One of the hallmark features of Tim Cook’s Apple is its focus on user privacy. Following the lead of iOS, macOS Mojave gains enhanced user privacy controls to request approval before apps can access your camera of microphone. Likewise, apps that wish to access Messages history or the Mail database will need user approval as well.
But security enhancements don’t stop there in macOS Mojave. There’s now enhanced tracking protection, which helps avoid the user fingerprints that advertisers create in an attempt to track you. There’s also intelligent tracking prevention for keeping embedded content like social media buttons, share buttons, and content buttons from tracking you without your prior approval.
Automatic strong passwords, a feature that’s found in iOS 12, also appears on the Mac. This security-oriented enhancement simplifies the process of creating, storing, and autofilling strong passwords. In addition, Mojave will alert you when it finds passwords that have been reused for multiple logins, giving you the opportunity to make them more secure.
Website Favicons in Safari
For years, Safari on Mac lacked Favicon support for tabs. It may seem silly, but this was one of the main reasons that I’ve been tempted to switch to Google Chrome. Favicons in tabs do a much better job of helping you to identify tabs at a glance, and for whatever reason, Safari lacked them until now.
To enable Favicons in tabs, you’ll need to go to Safari Preferences → Tabs → Show website icons in tabs.
Add Emoji in Mail app
You can easily invoke the Emoji picker in macOS by pressing Control+Command+Space, but macOS Mojave provides a handy emoji shortcut button directly within the Mail app interface.
Enhanced Siri requests
In macOS Mojave, Siri gains more powerful features, such as being able to control HomeKit devices, and finding saved passwords.
macOS Mojave includes several new desert-inspired wallpaper, with a couple of them being Dynamic Desktop wallpapers that change based on time of day.
Updating macOS is no longer performed via the Mac App Store in macOS Mojave. Instead, there is a brand new dedicated Software Updates panel in System Preferences for facilitating system updates.
Dark Mode will get a lot of the attention, and rightfully so, but there are plenty of other features within this year’s macOS update that will make life easier for Mac users.
As someone who often finds myself looking for specific files on a cluttered desktop, the new Stacks feature is a welcomed new addition. Other smaller improvements, like Favicon support in tabs, and Quick Look enhancements further emphasize the usefulness of Mojave.
For an even deeper look at the new features found in macOS 10.14, be sure to watch our previous video that covered over 50 new macOS Mojave changes.
What is your favorite new feature in macOS 10.14 Mojave? Leave your thoughts and opinions down below in the comments.