What just happened? Apple has released macOS 14 'Sonoma' with a host of new features and improvements over Ventura. The most notable addition in the latest version is the revamped desktop widgets that can blend seamlessly into the background by adapting to the color of the wallpaper. While widgets have been part of macOS for a while, they used to reside in the notifications sidebar in prior versions of the OS.
The widgets are now also more customizable, with users being able to select their on-screen placement. Using Continuity, your iPhone widgets can sync with your Mac when your iPhone is nearby or on the same Wi-Fi network. The widgets are now also interactive, enabling users to "complete a reminder, play or pause media, access home controls, and perform various tasks directly from the widget on their desktop." In addition, Sonoma brings Apple TV-like screen savers to the Mac for the first time.
Another exciting new feature is Game Mode, which promises to offer a better gaming experience for Mac users. While Macs are not usually known for their gaming chops, Apple says the new feature will deliver more consistent frame rates by ensuring games get the highest priority on the CPU and GPU. The company also promises that the Game Mode will reduce input and audio latency with wireless game controllers and AirPods.
Video conferencing is also getting an overhaul with macOS Sonoma, thanks to the addition of the 'Presenter Overlay' video effect that puts your avatar front and center during screen sharing in Facetime or third-party video-calling apps to add a personal touch to your presentations. In addition, users can trigger 3D effects like hearts, balloons, confetti, and more with simple hand gestures.
Sonoma is also bringing some notable upgrades to Safari, including a few interesting privacy features. The enhanced Private Browsing mode now locks your private browsing windows when you're not using them. It also "blocks known trackers from loading, and removes tracking that identifies you from URLs."
The browser allows people to create separate profiles for work and personal browsing, each with its own cookies, extensions, Tab Groups, history, and favorites. In addition, the 'Settings' section in Sonoma also adds a new 'Passwords' option that allows users to share passwords and accounts with trusted contacts.
MacOS Sonoma is now rolling out to a number of iMacs, Mac Pros and MacBooks from the last few years. Here's the full list of compatible devices:
- iMac 2019 and later
- Mac Pro 2019 and later
- iMac Pro 2017
- Mac Studio 2022 and later
- MacBook Air 2018 and later
- Mac mini 2018 and later
- MacBook Pro 2018 and later