Photographs: Courtesy Apple
Photographs: Courtesy Apple

Five things to know about Apple OS X El Capitan

The new operating system for Mac computers comes with a bunch of under the hood improvements

Apple’s new operating system (OS) for Mac computers is now available as a free upgrade. The iMac (mid-2007 or newer), MacBook Air (late 2008 or newer), MacBook (late 2008 Aluminum, or early 2009 or newer), Mac Mini (early 2009 or newer), MacBook Pro (mid/late 2007 or newer) and Mac Pro (early 2008 or newer) are compatible with the new Mac OS X El Capitan OS.

There are a lot of performance enhancements you would expect from an operating system that is an evolved version of its predecessor rather than being an all-out revolution. This will be good news for users who still have slightly older Macs—apps will load quicker, switching between them will be snappier and files will take less time to open.

El Capitan also has some new features, and improvements for the existing apps. For example, users can split the screen space equally and use two apps at the same time. The system font style is also being changed to make reading more comfortable. The Safari web browser will also add a speaker icon on the URL bar to mute music coming from any tab. The OS X 10.11 El Capitan will also see improvements in graphics, which will help speed up gaming performance and quicken the app launch time by 1.4 times, as compared with Yosemite.

We look at the five big features that will be a part of OS X El Capitan, and how they will make things easier for you.

Enhanced spotlight

Spotlight search will get more contextual too—instead of just searching by file names, it allows use of more generic search terms such as files edited last week. The idea, Apple believes, is to use your natural conversational language to search for what you need. Now, Spotlight can search for the latest stock prices, weather updates and forecasts for your current location or cities around the world, as well as sports scores, schedules, and even web videos. This will be very welcome for users who always end up using the search feature to find folders and files.

Magic of Metal

Apple has redone the framework of how apps interact with the power plant—the processor and the graphics. Called Metal, this new upgrade can quicken up app launch time by as much as 1.4 times, app switching is faster by two times and the entire experience seems smoother and snappier. Since the graphics are being handled in a different way behind the scenes, the apps and content on the screen will look beautiful, particularly on the gorgeous Retina Display MacBook. This will certainly be most evident on the newer and more powerful Macs, but even the older iMacs and MacBooks will get a fresh lease of life, thanks to snappier performance.

Redone Mission Control

Mac OS X has a feature known as Mission Control. It is a part of OS X Yosemite, and was there in OS X Mountain Lion and even before that. However, in El Capitan, the entire thing has been given a complete overhaul. There is now more space to show all the windows of browsers and apps you may have opened on multiple screens. And it is simpler to drag and drop any window into a particular desktop space.

New Notes

Apple has scrapped the Notes app we saw all this while in the OS X, and worked on it from scratch. The net result: we have something that will pretty much push Evernote away. There are many more styling and editing features: ability to create checklists, add URLs within a note as well as save content directly from the web browser and Maps. A separate attachments browser will give you quicker access to photos and other stuff you may have pinned on to various notes. Everything saved in Notes will be available across all your Apple devices, the iPhone and iPad included.

Better Mail

Apple arguably struggled a bit to get the Mail app right in OS X Yosemite, and has come up with an improved version for El Capitan. There is hope that a bunch of background refinements and some new features will solve the niggles that plagued Mail earlier. There is closer integration with the Calendar app, allowing users to save potential events and meetings from within the mail itself. Contacts will also be auto-suggested and saved. There is better handling of the inbox too, allowing users to switch between composing a mail and reading a new mail that has just landed with much greater ease than before.

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