Apple will be rolling out OS X El Capitan Wednesday as a free update for Mac users. Once El Capitan launches, you'll be able to find it in the Mac App Store. The new operating system will support all Macs introduced in 2009 and later, as well as some Macs introduced in 2007 and 2008.
Apple gave us a tour of its latest operating system during its WWDC 2015 presentation in June. These events always make the company's latest software and gadgets look mind-blowing, don't they? Well, soon enough you'll be able to update your Mac and take El Capitan out for a spin yourself, getting a sense for whether this new operating system will change your life as much as it seemed it would a few months ago.
Some Mac users were dissatisfied with the last OS X update Yosemite, which, among other issues, came with a Wi-Fi bug that made it difficult to get connected and stay connected. Because of that, it's understandable that Mac users might be wary of downloading this latest update.
But what could make El Capitan worth a download? Well, the name of this new update should give it away. As you can probably figure out, "El Capitan" means "captain" in Spanish, and the idea seems to be that the new features included in this update should give you more control over your Mac experience — ultimately allowing you to use it more efficiently and to more seamlessly integrate it with all those other iOS devices you have lying around.
So in honor of the new El Capitan release, let's all put on our captain hats and dive into these new features, shall we?
1. Split View Could Make Your Screen Feel Bigger
Those of us who don't have a giant iMac monitor know that configuring windows to have more than one open at once can be a real challenge. Apple's introduction of Split View into El Capitan should make that struggle a little less real. Split View automatically fills your screen with two apps that you'd like to have open at the same time so you don't have to mess with resizing windows or switching back and forth between apps. Sounds like a multitasker's dream.
2. More Control Over Mission Control
With all of your windows laid out in front of you, Mission Control can sometimes be a mess on your Mac. El Capitan cleans it up a bit by arranging all of your windows into a single layer and in the same relative location, so it's easier to spot the one you're looking for. You can also move windows into their own desktops by dragging and dropping them at the top of the screen. Mission Control could make it easier to accomplish these missions.
3. A More Comprehensive Spotlight Search
Spotlight is supposed to make finding things on your Mac easier, but sometimes it can seem to operate less like a spotlight and more like a flickering flashlight. The El Capitan update should streamline Spotlight a bit more. Spotlight now recognizes natural language with the El Capitan update, so you can essentially speak to your computer as if it were a human.
Apple gives "email from Harrison in April" and "presentation I worked on yesterday that contains budget" as examples of searches you can now perform in Spotlight. Spotlight search is not limited to the information contained in your computer. You can also use it to search for information on stock prices, weather forecasts and the score from last night's baseball game — as well as web videos, for when you need a break from compiling that report.
4. Next-Level Notes
Apple's Notes app isn't just about text anymore. With El Capitan, you can add some multimedia to your messages, such as photos, videos, URLs and map locations. You can also view all of your note attachments through the new Attachments Browser and click on each one to go directly to the note it's in. It's easier to create checklists in Notes, too. With all of your notes working with iCloud, you can access them, make changes and save them on any synced iOS device — because who in this world is at the desk 24/7?
5. Easier Navigation In Safari
Forget bookmarks. The pin is in when it comes to El Capitan. You can now pin websites you frequently visit in Safari onto the left side of the tab bar for easier access. Speaking of tabs, it can be a pain to search for the one that's playing some annoying sound from a webpage. Safari's Smart Search field now lets you configure the sound coming from your tabs more easily by allowing you to find those with sound, mute the one you don't want to hear or mute them all. AirPlay will allow you to play a video from a web page on your TV with Apple TV and just the video — so you can keep your Facebook stalking under wraps.