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June 5, 2018

MacOS Mojave brings Dark Mode, stacking, and a redesigned App Store to Macs

by John_A

Kicking off its annual software developer conference today in San Jose, California, Apple announced software updates and new features to its platforms. “Today is all about software,” CEO Tim Cook said at the beginning of his WWDC keynote this year before announcing that MacOS 10.14 will be called Mojave.

Mojave will be released this fall as a free update to all Mac users, and it will be available as a developer beta starting today for those brave enough to put up with potential bugs to get an early peek at the new exciting features that will debut with this release.

MacOS falls to the dark side

Taking inspiration from the desert after which MacOS Mojave is named after, Apple Senior Vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi showed off the new Dark Mode for MacOS, which turns the operating system black, a feature that’s useful if you’re working in darker environments or want to focus on content development — like editing photos and videos or writing code.

With Dark Mode, it’s not just the menu bar or the dock that’s going black, but the darker theme is applied across the operating system as it’s applied to the chrome around your windows, the side bars, and even content inside the windows, Federighi noted.

While Dark Mode can be manually switched on, it can also be applied automatically through a feature called Dynamic Desktops. Similar to how Night Mode can be automatically set on the iPhone and iPad with iOS, Dark Mode can also be timed to appear. MacOS can now automatically apply new desktop settings and views, including Dark Mode, through the day, so you can end your day with Dark Mode. The desert wallpaper even shifts to night, to emphasize the new mode.

New productivity tools like Stacks and Quick Look

Desktop Stacks is a new feature that’s aimed at helping you manage desktop clutter on MacOS. Rather than have files and folders scattered all across the desktop, you can now toggle the settings in MacOS to automatically group similar files together into Stacks. Content can be grouped according to date, content type, and categories, like photos.

Essentially, Stacks are like folders that are automatically created on the desktop, and files that are dragged or saved onto Mojave’s desktop will automatically be moved into Stacks to keep things organized. Like folders, you can scrub through your Stacks to preview the content.

The MacOS Finder and Quick Look features are also getting revamped to make it easier to get things done when you search for them. Quick Look gets a new gallery view, which essentially turns it into a Photos app for your MacOS files, allowing you to make quick actions, like editing and marking up files. A new side bar shows the file details like the EXIF information for photos.

With Quick Look, you’ll also be able to mark up content without even having to open up apps. You can add signatures to PDFs, trim videos, and even rotate and crop images right from Quick Look.

Capturing screenshots tools and security in Safari

Taking a screenshot or adding a photo or scan to your workflow is now easier with Mojave. Thanks to the Continuity Camera, you can use your iPhone to capture a photo or insert a scan into your presentation with a simple click. A new screenshot menu allows you to capture a screenshot, which will show the preview in the corner. Launching that preview takes you into Quick Look, which displays markup menus. And now, you can also create screen recordings with the new screenshot tool. So long QuickTime!

“One of the reasons why people choose the Mac is because of our commitment to privacy and security,” Federighi said.Capitalizing off of recent data security scandals, like the ones that recently plagued Facebook, Apple also updated its approach to privacy on the Mac. Highlighting its efforts in this area, MacOS will now popup with warnings when a system app requires access to the camera and microphone, to your messaging history, and your Mail messages.

Safari has also been overhauled to reduce fingerprinting and tracking on the web. Now, the Mac will make it difficult for websites to identify you by using standard fonts, making all Macs look the same.

A revamped MacOS App Store

Apple also introduced a redesigned App Store for the Mac. The Mac App Store now borrows from the iOS App Store, with a new Discover tab to surface new apps. Apple also announced that Microsoft will bring Office 365 to the Mac App Store and Adobe will make Lightroom CC available for download as well.

Though Federighi confirmed that Apple has no plans to merge MacOS and iOS together, iOS apps will be coming to the Mac in a new way. Developers will have access to the new SDK to port their iOS apps to the Mac in 2019, and Apple will make it easy to make iOS apps feel natural on the Mac with keyboard and mouse inputs, windows that can be resized, scrolling, and support for various display sizes.

The first of these were made in-house: News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home. These apps have been ported from iOS over to MacOS as an example of how to utilize the updated APIs.

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