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18 New Mac 'El Capitan' Features Apple Didn’t Mention

·Tech Critic
18 New Mac 'El Capitan' Features Apple Didn’t Mention

The features you’ve just read about aren’t any surprise, because Apple showed them off onstage last week. But the developer release of El Capitan actually has a ton of tiny tweaks Apple didn’t mention:

  • New Safari status bar. The status bar (the strip that shows you the Web address of the link you’re about to click) is now translucent, and it vanishes entirely when you’re not actually pointing to a link. 

  • Keyboard shortcuts for tabs. In Yosemite, the keystrokes Command-1 through Command-9 opened the first nine Favorites (bookmarks). In El Capitan, you can, if you prefer, have those keystrokes switch among your various open tabs instead.

  • iCloud Drive transfer progress indicator. In a Finder window’s sidebar, you now see a progress wheel, so you’ll know when your local copies of what’s on your iCloud Drive have been backed up to the Web.

  • Silent clicking option. If you have a MacBook with one of the new “force touch” trackpads, there’s a new option in System Preferences that lets you click completely silently. (On these trackpads, the actual click you “feel” is an audio fakeout anyway.)

  • Auto-hide menu bar. If you like, you can make the Mac’s menu bar disappear until you move your mouse to the top of the screen. It’s the way the menu bar works in full-screen mode now—but in El Capitan, you can have it work that way even when you’re not in full-screen mode, for a little extra screen space.

  • Disk Utility. Apple gave its 800-year-old disk-maintenance program, Disk Utility, its first overhaul in ages. Not only does it now show what’s eating up your disk space, but it no longer has a Fix Permissions button (a time-honored troubleshooting button in times of glitchiness). Apple says that OS X now fixes permissions automatically every night, and every time you install a program.

  • New Color Picker. The Color Picker dialog box, a longstanding element of many visually oriented programs, has had a makeover, too. The Crayon picker, for example, is now the Colored Pencils picker. And the most often-used colors get their own swatches right at the top, so you don’t have to keep remembering “the blue I’ve been using is three down and four across in the color grid.”

  • New title-bar option. You can now specify what happens when you double-click a window’s title bar: either zoom (enlarge) it or minimize it.

  • Light sensor. In Displays preferences, a new “Ambient light compensation” checkbox controls whether or not your laptop’s screen brightness adjusts with the room brightness.

  • “Rename” in the shortcut menu. When you right-click a file or folder icon, the Rename command is now one of the choices.

  • Choice of font in Reader. In Safari’s Reader mode (no ads or blinking—just pure type on a clean background), you now have a choice of typefaces. 

  • Strikethrough in Mail format bar. In addition to icons for Bold, Italic, and Underline, there’s a new one for Strikethrough. 

  • San Francisco font. Apple has now designed a single typeface family for all of its products: Mac, iOS, Apple Watch. It looks a lot like the Lucida Grande the Mac’s been using for years, but Apple says it’s even more readable.

  • Photos editing extensions. Photos, the photo-management app, can now accept plug-ins from other companies.

  • “Recently Deleted” folder in Notes. You’ve got a safety net now.

  • 3-finger drag moved. The option to drag an icon by swiping your trackpad with three fingers is now in System Preferences > General > Accessibility > Mouse & Trackpad > Trackpad Options.

  • Find my Friends widget. The old Dashboard is still in El Capitan; in fact, there’s a new widget there that lets you find your friends (if they’ve permitted you to track them).

  • File copy resume. If you were copying some files, but had to shut down your Mac or put it to sleep, OS X is now smart enough to resume the copying next chance it gets.

  • Redesigned “spinning beachball of death” cursor. Apple haters, insert your own joke here.

Read Pogue’s full review of OS X El Capitan here