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MacOS 10.13, thoroughly reviewed (arstechnica.com)
100 points by hellcow on Sept 25, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 17 comments

> "I just wish ... what’s here felt even half as adventurous as what’s happening on the iPad."

I don't.

I don't want my desktop to feel adventurous, not even half-adventurous. I want it to be an efficient tool for getting the job done.

Please, desktop OS-manufacturers, resist the lure of adventuring new bells and whistles, and invest that time optimising, smoothing corners and making everything more efficient.

Totally agree, I personally feel this has been the case with 10.13, there hasn’t been any annoying / over the top ‘jazz’ that gets in the way of my workflow and it’s certainly a lot faster than previous macOS versions welcomed by Metal 2’s dramatic latency improvements.

But avoiding adventure might lead to a dead platform and us having to migrate.

> Changing filesystems, adding external graphics support, adding support for new image compression formats, and updating the graphics API to support VR are all important, and none of them are small tasks. But the UI doesn’t change, apps get only minor updates

I disagree. Recently, I formatted my macbook pro and decided maybe I don't need all these "new features" in Sierra and would be fine with Mavericks.

Turned out it is more complicated than that.

- The external screen renders better under Sierra than Mavericks. I didn't notice the change since it happened gradually and I don't know which version triggered it. But it was annoying enough to notice.

- The battery life under Sierra is much better. I noticed a 10-20% extended lifetime.

- Some apps would not work.

- I missed the Sync between my iDevices. I didn't know that it didn't exist in Mavericks.

- Finder is more responsive in Sierra than Mavericks

I really came to appreciate Sierra after that reset to Mavericks. In fact, I couldn't work with it and decided to upgrade. What High Sierra brings to the table is "unnoticeable" UI wise but makes your workflow easier.

These small improvements performance wise makes your work easier and better. On the longterm they accumulate and are making macOs still the best OS I have ever interacted with.

Just a clarification, since it isn't clear from your post:

Mavericks is 4 versions old (10.9), Sierra is current version (10.12), High Sierra is the on that adds these features you're talking about (10.13). In between were Yosemite and El Capitan.


The following bullet "I missed the Sync between my iDevices. I didn't know that it didn't exist in Mavericks." Holds true for 10.11 at least for Notes. It most likely that other apps don't work either. I have 10.11 & 10.12 installed on my current machine so I have experienced the deprecation(or whatever it is) of the APIs that causes apps to stop working.

If you're not on Mavericks anymore it's a moot point, but IIRC HiDPI scaled resolutions were disabled on most external monitors. However, there was a terminal command to enable them.

I still miss John Siracusa's annual Mac OS Ars Technica reviews, which were the go-to destination to understand the nitty gritty details of every new release. The last one he did was for 10.10 (Yosemite) in 2014. But to his credit Andrew Cunningham has done a great job picking up the reins.

I find that Ars has some of the best in depth reviews when it comes to both hardware as well as software, and their intersection. Many other places just seem to do reviews for the clicks, but these are much more informative.

I just wish their site wasn't down right now so I could give it a read before updating.

> For “Continuity” features like AirDrop and Handoff, you’ll need a Mac with both Bluetooth 4.0 and a 5GHz 802.11n or 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter:

  -MacBook (Early 2015 and later)
  -iMac (Late 2012 and later)
  -MacBook Air (Mid 2012 and later)
  -MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 and later)
  -Mac Mini (Late 2012 and later)
  -Mac Pro (Late 2013)
> And Apple Watch unlocking requires 802.11ac because of the way the software determines the distance between your watch and your Mac. This narrows the support list further:

  -MacBook (Early 2015 and later)
  -iMac (Late 2012 and later)
  -MacBook Air (Mid 2012 and later)
  -MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 and later)
  -Mac Mini (Late 2012 and later)
  -Mac Pro (Late 2013)
> Finally, support for Metal and Metal 2 requires a relatively modern GPU. These Macs all include integrated or dedicated GPUs that support the API, though some earlier Mac Pros can also support it with an upgrade to a more modern GPU:

  -MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  -MacBook Pro (2012 or newer)
  -MacBook Air (2012 or newer)
  -Mac Mini (2012 or newer)
  -iMac (2012 or newer)
  -Mac Pro (Late 2013)
I appreciate the attempt at a specific list of models compatible with each feature. But this appears to be the exact same list twice, followed by a less-specific version of the same list a third time.

I know that second list is wrong because I own a Mid 2012 MacBook Pro retina and it has 802.11n (not AC) and doesn't support Apple Watch unlocking.

I was disappointed that I had to search for how to enable the caching services. That's done via the "Sharing" part of system preferences.

This is one of the features that was only in the Server option but is now available for free. We have a Mac Mini that's an iTunes server and always on. So I expect it will work great going forward for caching apps, music and photos.


Anecdotally, after updating from 10.12.6 to 10.13 on my maxed-out 2017 15” MBP, transitioning between spaces and apps remains silky smooth, even when under heavy CPU load, which wasn’t really the case previously.

With the news of major windowserver glitches causing crazy flickering in Finder, as well as kernel panics for macs with nvidia cards, I think I'll wait this one out.

FWIW, I have a 15-inch Late 2013 MBP with an NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2 GB, and have experienced neither of these issues. Just an anecdote for balance.

I'll second that report for that model - no issues.

Oh, that's great to hear - just the type of data point I was interested in. Might consider this sooner or later then :)

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