Apple has unveiled the future of OS X - revealing some of the features of OS X 10.10 Yosemite. In this article we'll sum up the key facts we know about OS X Yosemite so far, and we'll update it with up-to-date info as soon as Apple releases more information.
If you want to read about the changes in iOS coming with iOS 8 read all about it in our iOS 8 FAQ.
Read our OS X Yosemite preview
When will Yosemite be available?
We go in to more detail about the launch date of Yosemite in this article. You can expect Apple to launch the new version of the Mac operating system this autumn - but you can apply for access to the beta this summer, more info below.
How much will OS X Yosemite cost?
How to pronounce Yosemite
Being the Brits that we are, the first time we saw Yosemite written down we weren't 100% sure how to say it. Yo! Semite, clearly wasn't the way, and nor was Yose-mite. Of course if you know of the National Park in America the name will be familiar, but if not, it's Yo-sem-i-tee. There, now you know.
How to get the OS X Yosemite beta
Developers can already get their hands on the OS X Yosemite beta, but what about the rest of us? Apple started allowing non-developers to download beta versions of OS X Mavericks this April, and now, with the launch of Yosemite, Apple is allowing interested consumers to sign up to take part in the Beta program. If you are one of the first million people who sign up for the public beta of OS X Yosemite at www.apple.com/osx/preview you will be able to get your hands on Yosemite this summer – but note, you will be a tester providing bug reports so don't expect a polished operating system.
Opening up the beta program this way should allow Apple to get much more data, and theoretically that should result in a better system when it is ready for launch. Third-party developers will also benefit as they will be able to test their software publically on Yosemite before it is released, which should mean that your essential apps will work when the new OS is ready to go live.
What are the system requirements for Yosemite?
We have listed the system requirements here: Will your Mac be able to run Yosemite? Check the list of requirements here.
Is Yosemite like iOS 7?
OS X Yosemite does seem to have received an iOS 7-inspired visual makeover, with a flatter look, but this facelift wasn't the most significant aspect of the iOS OS X integration.
Much more significant are the changes Apple has made to make iOS and OS X work better together, Apple is referring to these new features under the banner of Continuity.
New OS X Features: Continuity
Continuity is a handful of features that aim to make it easier to work with, and switch between, all your Apple devices, Mac and iOS. Apple intends to make switching between your Mac and your iPhone or iPad as seamless as possible, so you can use the best device for a particular task.
Thanks to Apple's efforts in this area AirDrop now works between iOS and the Mac. AirDrop is Apple's method for sharing files between Macs and iOS devices, but although AirDrop was available for both platforms, it wasn't compatible so you couldn't just AirDrop something from your iPhone to your Mac, or vice versa. There is nothing more annoying that plugging your iPhone into your Mac to copy over a screen shot to illustrate a feature you are writing, so we absolutely can't wait for Apple to implement this.
But it doesn't just stop at that. Apple has also introduced Handoff. This new technology means that all your devices are linked up in such a way that OS X and iOS 8 know exactly what task is being performed on each device, so that if you started writing an email on your iPhone, but then decided that it would be better to write it in Mail on your Mac, you can switch over to your Mac, click on the Mail icon in the Dock, and Mail will open up the message you were in the middle of composing.
Similarly, if you are viewing a webpage in Safari on your Mac, a Safari icon will appear in your iPad's lock screen. Simply swipe it and the same webpage will open in iOS.
Some of the new Continuity features bring your iPhone to your Mac. For example, when your iPhone is nearby and a call comes in your Mac will not only alert you to the call, it will display caller-ID information and allow you to accept the call using the speakerphone on your Mac (or reject the call if necessary). You can even initiate phone calls on your iPhone from your Mac via Contacts, or if you click on a phone number on the web, or in an email.
You will also be able to view and send SMS text messages on your Mac, not just iMessages. This means that all your text messages – whether sent via iMessage or via standard text message will appear on your Mac (so there won't be holes in the conversation). You will even be able to send and receive text messages from your non-iPhone touting friends.
In another effort to improve communication between iOS devices and Macs, Apple has made it easier to share a cellular connection from an iPhone to a Mac. Instant Hotspots makes it easier than ever for a Mac user to join the network being shared by their iPhone. The iPhone appears in the Wi-Fi menu - select it and the iPhone will set up a secure Wi-Fi hotspot that you can connect to. Your Mac will show your iPhone's signal strength and battery life, and it will even disconnect from the network when you aren't using it, so you won't be needlessly eating up data and battery life on your device.
With many apps now available for both iOS and Mac OS X it can be frustrating when they aren't easily shared between the different devices and different applications – for example, a PDF saved to iCloud via Preview on your Mac can't easily be opened in any other application on your Mac, or your iOS device. That is changing with iCloud Drive.
iCloud Drive is more like DropBox, rather than stored documents being associated with an app, you will be able to see all your iCloud-stored documents – even those you have manually dragged into the iCloud folder. Some documents associated with a particular app will be stored in app-specific folders, but everything will be visible. Any data in the iCloud folder will be synced and available on all your Macs, and on all your iOS devices, and you will be able to open the documents in your apps of choice.
Apple is even making iCloud Drive available for Windows.
New features in OS X Yosemite
Apple revealed a number of new features in the WWDC presentation on 2 June. We expect to see more over the next few months. Here are a few:
New OS X Features: The Dock
The Dock also gets a flatter look, with new icons – including a more modern looking Finder icon and a iOS style iTunes icon. Even the trash can gets a redesign. The transparent elements you'll see around the new OS also make an appearance here.
New OS X Features: Dark Mode
There is also a new Dark Mode option, we only saw a glimps of this in the presentation, but it tones down the bright colours of the OS so that you see less obtrusive grays and blacks. It's perfect for those who use their Macs in dark environments.
New OS X Features: Notification Centre
Notification Center gains a slightly new, more translucent look. It also offers a new Today view for an at-a-glance look at what you have coming up in your Calendar, Reminders, and the Weather. It's similar to Notification Center in iOS 7, but in addition to showing the Today preview, it lets you add widgets for weather, stock information, reminders, social networking, and a world clock. Third parties will also be able to offer widgets though the Mac App Store. This might finally put the often-ignored Widgets from Apple's Dashboard in front of people.
New OS X Features: Spotlight
Spotlight arrived with Mac OS 10.4. Until now it has primarily been used to search your drive for data. You can also search for dictionary definitions, and search the web, but few people use these latter two features. Spotlight is getting its first major overhaul in Yosemite. The most obvious change being that it pops up in the middle of the screen, rather than at the top right corner. It also gains some useful skills.
New features include the ability to search via Spotlight, not just for documents on your Mac, but also for apps from the App Store, iTunes media and iBooks, and news from popular websites. It also taps into Internet sources, so you'll also see results from Bing, Wikipedia, and Maps, so you could search for a movie and see local showtimes. Similarly, if you search for Yosemite it will show you the location in Maps as well as the Wikipedia page. You can also perform unit conversions – from centimeters to inches, for example.
Spotlight can also do an instant unit conversion: type in miles and it gives you kilometers, for example.
New OS X Features: Calendar
Calendar gets a new look week view, an all-new day view, and a new sidebar for user location information. You can view the day's meetings on the left, and the accompanying details on the right.
New OS X Features: Messages
Messages, which made its way from iOS to OS X a few generations ago, also gains some improvements in Yosemite. You can now choose to add and remove people from an existing Group Message and change the name of the thread at any time. You can also see the location of each member of the discussion, if they choose to share it, which is a little like Find My Friends. If you want to leave a Group Message you can. Just set that thread to Do Not Disturb using the toggle. You can also view all the media attached to that discussion without the chit-chat.
The new Soundbites feature lets you record an audio clip and send is as part of a Messages conversation.
Messages also gains a new look with a translucent sidebar and a titlebar that reacts as you scroll content underneath.
New OS X Features: Mail
Apple is making some much-needed changes to Mail.
In Yosemite you will be able to sign PDFs and make marks on images using the new Markup Feature from within Mail. With Markup you will be able to edit and annotate attachments on the fly, replying without ever leaving Mail.
You will be able to add signatures, draw lines, shapes and arrows, add text and cartoon bubbles. You can even zoom in on part of an image. If you have a trackpad you will be able to draw using your finger.
That's not the only new feature in Mail. Apple is introducing a new way to share photos and files via email that is designed to get around limits to message and attachment size. Rather than upload your file to a remote server and then sending a link to that file for the recipient to download, as we do currently, in Yosemite you will be able to sent an email with a large attachment without a second thought. When you add a file to Yosemite Mail OS X uploads the file automatically and invisibly and then, as long as your recipient is using Mail in Yosemite, OS X will download it automatically and invisibly at their end. If your recipient is on another platform, or using another email client, the message will include a download link for the file. This system – Mail Drop – will work with files up to 5GB in size and those files will be encrypted in transit.
New OS X Features: Safari
There are significant tweaks in Safari in Yosemite. It gains a cleaner interface with simpler navigation controls. Many of the functions you normally see in the toolbar have been hidden, but they are still there.
For example, the Favourites grid now only becomes visible when you click on the smart search field. Click on the icon to be taken to the site. This means you can get instant access to all your favorite sites from inside the search field.
Also new is a smart search field and Sharing and Tabs buttons. Click on the Tab View button in the top-right corner of a window and all the open tabs will be displayed. If you have multiple tabs open from a single site you will see those thumbnails stacked. You will also see the tabs you have open on your other devices when you click on Tab View. Swipe thought the tab bar to find what you are looking for. This bird's eye view of all your tabs makes it easier to find the tab you are looking for.
Safari has also got extended searching capabilities in what we can't help but see as an assault on Google. Enter a search term in the smart search field and you will see both Google and Bing results, as well as results from Wikipedia, Maps, your news feed, and iTunes.
So, if you perform a search you can see not just a Google search result. Search for Ansel Adams, hit return and you will see a regular old Google search, but also a Spotlight suggestion and a snippet from Wikipedia.
Safari also gains a Private Browsing mode that will not track your browsing habits. You can already turn on Private Browsing in Mavericks Safari, but the new Safari in Yosemite will allow you to create a window and devote it, and its tabs, to private browsing. You will be able to tell which window is private by its colour.
In Yosemite Safari you can subscribe to an RSS feed in a site and that RSS feed will show up in Shared Links. There is easy access to the sidebar for bookmarks, reading list, and shared links. Speaking of which, sharing something is quicker than before. When you click to share a webpage, click Share from the Safari share sheet and you will see a list of recent recipients, so you can send with one click.
Read more about Yosemite in our Yosemite Zone
- 10 cool new features in Photos for iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite
- 10 amazing new Messages features in OS X Yosemite and iOS 8
- Complete guide to Continuity in iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite
- New Calendar features in iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite
- Get more from Spotlight in OS X
- 12 great new Safari 8 features that you won’t have heard of
- 10 Mac OS X Yosemite tips and tricks
- Complete guide to Apple’s Health and HealthKit
- 10 amazing new Messages features in OS X Yosemite and iOS 8
- New features in Mail for OS X Yosemite
- How to make Notification Centre in OS X useful
- Step by step guide to Safari in Yosemite
- How to set up parental controls in Yosemite