Get the free upgrade to MacOS Sierra

Apple has ditched the “X” from its desktop operating system, but otherwise it is business as usual as the company brings its iOS mobile features to its line up of computers. The new MacOS Sierra will install and run on hardware dating from 2010, including MacBook Air and Pro models, Mac Mini and the mighty Mac Pro. Users with a 2009 MacBook or iMac should also be able to enjoy Sierra, but the newer your Mac, the better things will run. Look out for the update message on your system.

Get ready to upgrade

While Mac upgrades are generally smooth in-place updates, remember to back up any data, photos and personal files – either to iCloud or an external drive if something does go wrong. The new Sierra OS does bring automatic backup to the cloud, so that will be one less thing to worry about in future updates.

What’s new with Sierra?

Siri on the Mac is the big new feature of Sierra, bringing voice interaction and control to the desktop. Apple’s mobile voice assistant can help search for files (e.g. “find invoices”) and photos (e.g. “find pictures from Paris”) from your drives, or process information requests and much more.

A neat log-in feature sees Apple Watch owners able to unlock their Mac just by wearing the smartwatch near it, which is a step up from voice or retina recognition on Windows PCs. Perhaps the most useful update for desktop users is the arrival of tabs for any application. No longer a Safari-only trick, you can work on multiple text files, spreadsheets, photos and other objects open within a single app, without cluttering the desktop and making any active projects easy to find and move between.

Also helping out in this respect, as you move content between all these apps and tabs, is a universal clipboard to improve cut and paste across the Apple ecosystem. Pictures, data, or web links, regardless if taken on your iOS devices or the desktop, are now universal, so you can grab something on your iPhone and instantly copy it to your Mac.

These and many other features make Sierra a valuable upgrade for your office teams or the home Mac user.