MacOS Sonoma is about to be unleashed and you're probably curious as to what it entails. Although this release isn't quite as profound and game-changing as previous releases, it does offer a number of key features that could dramatically change how you interact with the desktop, the Safari web browser, and more.
Let's dive into what's new, so you're not taken by surprise when Sonoma is released on September 26, 2023.
All about the widgets
The biggest change you'll find in Sonoma is widgets. Very much like iOS, you will now be able to add widgets to your MacOS desktop. These widgets will come from a gallery that offers a number of possible options, such as a podcast player, light/home controllers, media players, and much more. These widgets will be interactive and can make your life a bit more efficient and fun. Some widgets will also be informative, such as calendars and to-do lists.
When you add a widget, it will automatically be placed in an open spot on your desktop, grouping with other widgets to create a well-designed layout. Those widgets will also adapt to the look of your desktop, based on the color of what's behind them, all the while maintaining a high level of readability. Widgets will also fade into the background when you're focusing on something else on your desktop. You can opt to set the color preferences for your widgets, in case you don't like the way they look, based on your current desktop wallpaper.
MacOS Sonoma will also allow you to access your iPhone widgets directly from your Mac. With this feature, you'll be able to add the same widgets on your desktop as you have on your iPhone for better continuity.
There are a number of enhancements that will make your video conferencing even better. The biggest change comes by way of the new Presenter Overlay feature, which keeps you front and center when sharing your screen. So instead of others in the conference only seeing your screen, they'll see your screen and either a small or larger version of you. The effect more closely captures the feel of a live presentation and will help to better personalize the conferencing experience.
The small overlay places you as a floatable bubble over the shared screen. You can move the bubble to a specific spot, so you're not in the way of any important information.
There's also a new screen-sharing picker that allows you to easily share an app (or multiple apps) when on a video call.
The new video conferencing app also makes it possible for you to better control the composition of your video. This works if you're using either a Studio Display or an iPhone as your camera and makes it possible to adjust the frame using zoom or pan controls, or even keep yourself automatically centered in the frame.
Safari gets profiles
If Safari is your browser of choice, Apple has a very cool feature in-store with Sonoma. The upcoming release allows you to create profiles for specific topics. You might create a profile called Work and one called Personal. Each profile will exist separately, which means bookmarks, history, extensions, tab groups, cookies, and favorites will not cross-pollinate.
You can also easily switch between those profiles as you work, so you never have to worry about your work and personal browsing interacting with one another.
Searching in Safari is also much faster and more user-friendly in Sonoma. And for those who like to use web apps, you'll be able to add them to your MacOS dock.
The new version of Safari also includes enhanced security in the Private Browsing mode. When you're not using a Private window, Safari will lock it. As well, the new version of Safari completely blocks known trackers from loading on pages and even removes any tracking information added to URLs as you browse.
Another feature that many users will find helpful is the ability to create a group and choose a password (or set of passwords) to share. Each password will always remain up-to-date for the group, so you don't have to worry about informing them to update.
With this feature, you could create a Family group and share all necessary passwords with every member of the group.
The upcoming version of the Message app makes it much easier to find what you're looking for. With the ability to combine search filters, you'll be able to more easily narrow your search parameters, which will greatly help those with a large number of messages to search.
There's also a new catch-up arrow that allows you to immediately jump to the first message you haven't viewed in a conversation. The app also allows you to swipe right on any message to reply.
The newest iteration of the Message app also allows you to more easily share your location directly from the plus button. And when a contact shares a location with you, you'll be able to view it directly within the conversation.
Here's a list of other features coming to MacOS Sonoma.
View full-width PDFs, directly from the Notes app. You can also link related notes together.
Start in Notes and finish in Pages by sending a note to Pages via the Share button.
A new stickers drawer makes it easier to collect and access Live Stickers and Memoji from one convenient location.
More accurate autocorrect.
Game Mode automatically gives games the highest CPU and GPU priority for better performance and to reduce latency with wireless peripherals.
Communication Safety includes protection for sensitive videos and photos.
Sensitive Content Warning allows you to blur sensitive photos and videos before you view them.
Expanded Lockdown Mode helps protect against more sophisticated cyber attacks.
Higher Performance mode in Screen Sharing uses the advanced media engine in the Apple silicon chips to enable better performance over high-bandwidth connections.
Reminders automatically sort Grocery Lists into categories.
Moving between Apple devices with AirPods is now much faster.