04302017

MacOS Sierra: What You Need to Know

The latest OS from Apple adds some pretty powerful features that can help your business get work done.

MacOS Sierra is a solid upgrade for Apple desktop and laptop business users. While some changes and tweaks are relatively insignificant, there are a number of items included in the upgrade that help to improve productivity, whatever your industry.

Siri Finally Lands on Desktop

Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant app, has been hugely popular with iPhone and iPad users, both at home and for work since her inception in 2011. It hasn’t been available on desktops until now. Now all you need to do is click the appropriate icon on the top right corner of your desktop or summon Siri using voice commands. You can then use Siri to save time and boost productivity, getting the app to set meetings, update your schedule, search for things, retrieve a specific email or file, and more.

Enhanced Continuity

Apple users have long complained that the mobile and desktops didn’t really communicate as well as they could. OS Yosemite saw the introduction of Continuity features such as Handoff, that allows you to send in-progress files, emails and web pages to any other device that’s signed into the same iCloud. Among the general Continuity improvement updates that aim to reduce errors, Apple provided automatic file syncing between connected devices logged into iCloud with MacOS Sierra. The introduction of Universal Clipboard lets you copy text and images from your Apple mobile device to your Mac, making it easy for you to switch between devices.

Auto Unlock

To save you time and boost security, Apple introduced Auto Unlock with MacOS Sierra. With Auto Unlock activated, you pair your desktop or laptop with your mobile device via Bluetooth. Then, whenever your computer detects the presence of your connected mobile device, it will unlock itself, saving you having to enter your password every time. And, when your mobile moves out of range, your desktop will lock itself.

Storage optimization

For users who find themselves filling up their hard drives too fast, Optimized Storage is a useful, time-saving feature. When a file hasn’t been used for a predetermined period, this utility automatically moves the file to cloud storage. And, for those who don’t want to have to clear their temporary files on a regular basis, Optimized Storage takes care of that, too, deleting pointless files such as web caches and inactive downloads.

Better Encryption Choices

We all know that, if we conduct business online, use online services, or have any kind of online presence, our files, personal and business data are at risk from unscrupulous individuals. So, with MacOS Sierra newly enhanced encryption choices, we have more control over keeping sensitive data secure. This update includes no encryption and single-key file and metadata encryption. You also have the choice of using multi-key encryption, which can conduct metadata, per-file or per-extent tasks.

Ditching Directory Syncing

Apple’s Portable Home Directors used to let users maintain a copy of home folders locally and on a network. It helped you get files offline, but it lead to a flawed syncing process where folders would be hidden or the FileSyncAgent would crash. Apple eliminated the ability to make portable home directors with MacOS Sierra. Instead, users will have to create mobile home directories instead. With the new system, the network account is cached locally and the home folder will not sync with the network home directory. 

VPN Changes

Apple got rid of its weak virtual private network protocol, PPTP by removing support for those connections in both iOS 10 and MacOS Sierra. The OS will now automatically remove PTTP connections. Users will need to upgrade to a more secure, user-based authentication. Sierra will support L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2/IPSc, Cisco IPSec and SSL. More may be added later. 

Photo credit: Apple

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