Top 11 macOS Sierra Hidden Features

Siri in macOS Sierra

At the opening keynote of WWDC 2016, Apple unveiled macOS Sierra, the next version of OS X. Due to the limited time in hand and the sheer number of announcements there was, Apple had to skip on many of the little new but equally important features that it has added to Sierra. 

With the first developer beta of macOS Sierra already available, these little features are now slowly being revealed by developers and advanced users on various forums. So, let’s have a look at them.

#1 Apple File System

As we reported yesterday, Apple includes support for ‘Apple File System’ in macOS Sierra. This new file system from the company will supersede HFS+, which many consider to be in dire need of an update. APFS will be used by Apple in all of its devices starting from 2017 and across all its OS including tvOS, iOS, watchOS, and macOS.

The new file system packs in all the features of HFS+, and comes with its own set of improvements including being optimised for Flash/SSD storage, strong encryption, copy-on-write metadata, fast directory sizing, and more.

In macOS Sierra, Apple File System is included as a pre-release beta for developers. It will replace HFS+ in macOS and presumably other OS’s from Apple in 2017.

#2 RAID support

In OS X El Capitan, Apple removed support for RAID support that enraged many performance oriented Mac users. With Sierra, the company is once again bringing back RAID support to the OS.

RAID Support

#3 Resizeable Disk Utility

For some strange reason, the Disk Utility app in OS X El Capitan cannot be resized. Whether this was intentional or a bug remains unclear, but Apple has fixed this issue in Sierra as the Disk Utility window is once again resizeable.

#4 Optimised Storage

While unveiling macOS Sierra, Apple showed a video that highlighted the new optimised storage function of the OS. The demo saw Sierra freeing up more than 100GB of space on a Mac by removing old, unneeded files and moving the important ones to cloud. Apple did not mention what types of files will be touched by this feature, except for showing them in passing in one of the presentation slides.

To achieve its ‘magic’, the optimised storage feature in Sierra will automatically back up old mail attachments, spreadsheets, movies from iTunes that you have already watched, old JPEGs, spreadsheets, presentations, RAW files, iTunes U courses that are not being used, iTunes songs that you don’t listen to, and more.

macOS Sierra optimised storage

As for the fiels that will be deleted include redundant mail data, Safari web cache, inactive Mac App Store downloads, old iPhone backups, persistent logs, cached Map tiles, Quick Look thumbnails, iTunes IPSW files, and more.

#5 Missing ‘Anywhere’ option from Gatekeeper

This one can have some serious implications if true. The current beta of macOS Sierra does not have the option to install applications downloaded from unverified ‘Anywhere’ sources. Instead, Gatekeeper only provides the option to install apps from the App Store and identified developers.

While it is possible to install apps from unverified sources by pressing the Control key while opening that particular application’s installer file. Apple notes the lack of an ‘Anywhere’ option in Sierra’s release notes, so it is possible that the option will make a return in a future beta release.


#6 Notes app

It is now possible to set the default font size in the on macOS Sierra.

macOS Sierra Notes app

#7 Support for AMD Polaris GPU

The GPU kexts in macOS Sierra makes references to many AMD GPUs, with some of the device ID matching upcoming Polaris GPU from AMD. This hints at the next MacBook Pro from Apple using AMD’s Polaris GPU, though this should not be surprising given the close ties of the two companies.

#8 Safari extensions move to the Mac App Store

With Sierra, Apple is making Safari extensions a part of the Mac App Store. Instead of taking a user to a site dedicated for Safari extensions, users will now be directed to the Mac App Store to download extensions for Safari.

#9 Safari 10

Among other things, macOS Sierra comes with Safari 10. The latest version of Safari now shows thumbnails for bookmarks in the sidebar and the reading list UI has also received a slight revamp. When in fullscreen mode, opening a new window in Safari will automatically make it switch to Split View.

#10 New theme for Notification bar

The notification bar in macOS Sierra has a new white theme.


#11 iTunes 12.5

macOS Sierra comes with iTunes 12.5 that features a redesigned UI for some aspects of the player.


Read: Top 10 hidden features in watchOS 3

Noticed any other little change in macOS Sierra that we missed? Drop in a comment and let us know about it!

[Source: MacRumors Forums]