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Our Quick Guide to What’s New in macOS 10.14 Mojave

Apple’s next Mac operating system, macOS 10.14 Mojave, will be available for free in the Mac App Store on September 24th, and it has new features you’ll want to try.

Visual Changes

The most noticeable change is the optional new Dark mode, which applies a light-on-dark look to windows. Turn on Dark mode in System Preferences > General, and your Finder windows take on this appearance, as do the windows of any app that supports Dark mode—most Apple apps do. Also new in the General preference pane is an Accent Color option that colorizes interface doodads like radio buttons and pop-up menu indicators.

In some apps, such as Mail and Maps, once Dark mode is on, if you don’t want that particular app to be in full-on Dark mode, you can brighten things up. In Mail, go to Mail > Preferences > Viewing and deselect “Use dark backgrounds for messages” to lighten the message pane. In Maps, deselect View > Use Dark Map to lighten the map area.

The default Desktop wallpaper of the Mojave desert looks great in Light mode, but with Dark mode, you may want to try another image that coordinates better. Look in System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > Desktop. Browse in the Desktop Pictures gallery to find new nighttime landscapes along with gorgeous color-burst and flower images, among others. Also, don’t miss the new Dynamic Desktops that change throughout the day.

A new Dock area shows the three most recently launched apps that aren’t already in the Dock. This area is immediately left of (or above, if the Dock is vertical) the section holding the Trash. If this feature is on—it’s the “Show recent applications in Dock” checkbox in System Preferences > Dock—you can use it to launch apps that you’ve used recently but won’t use regularly. (To add one permanently, Control-click its Dock icon and choose Options > Keep in Dock.)

Practical New Finder Features

Files on the Desktop can pile up, making a mess that’s difficult to sort through quickly. The new Desktop Stacks feature tries to solve this problem by grouping Desktop files based on criteria such as kind, date modified, and tags. Turn it on by Control-clicking the Desktop and choosing View > Use Stacks. Pick a grouping criteria from the View > Group Stacks By submenu. To open a stack, click it. Click it again to close it.

Apple has long offered four different views for Finder windows in the View menu and the Finder window toolbar. With Mojave, the new Gallery view replaces Cover Flow view. Although Gallery view works with any folder, it is designed for browsing images—click their icons at the bottom of the view.

The Preview pane, which you can display at the right of any Finder window by choosing View > Show Preview, has long displayed metadata details about the selected file. In Mojave, the Preview pane lets you edit the selected file—without opening it! Buttons appear at the bottom of the pane, offering Quick Actions appropriate to the selected file. For example, with a photo, you’ll see a Rotate button and a Markup button. Click Markup to add a callout to the image, for instance. Quick Actions are also available in the Quick Look window that appears when you select a file and press Space bar.

More Siri Options

Siri voice control picks up a few new features. Commands like “ping my iPhone” and “where’s my iPad” now work, assuming you’ve set up Find My iPhone on your devices (see our article It’s Important to Keep Find My iPhone Turned On at All Times—Here’s Why).

And, Siri can help you find the password to a Web site that you’ve saved in your iCloud keychain. Say something like “what’s my Strava password?”

Siri also now supports home automation commands in Apple’s Home app, so you can say things like “turn on the outdoor lights.”

Changes with Apps

Apple didn’t add any completely new apps, but Home, News, Stocks, and Voice Memos have been brought over from iOS. And, the iBooks ebook-reading app has been renamed Books and given a design overhaul. The App Store app also received a design refresh.

Continuity Camera, a neat iOS integration, lets you use your iPhone to insert a photo—or a scanned document—directly into a document. For example, you could scan a receipt into an email message that you’re sending to request a reimbursement. It may be available as a button, or via File > Import from iPhone or iPad.

You’ll find enhanced privacy controls in System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy. In Mojave, apps must request access to your Mac’s camera or microphone, and to data stored in Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, and Photos. Apps that can generally read and modify files, such as backup apps, may need to be added to Full Disk Access, and automation tools will request access to the Automation category.

Although it’s generally a good thing that Apple is giving you additional privacy controls, you may get a lot of authorization access requests, especially right after upgrading or from apps that haven’t been updated for Mojave. Only grant access if you recognize and are using the app that’s making the request.

Another new Privacy category, Advertising, lets you opt out of the ad tracking that Apple does in order to present you with targeted ads in News, Stocks, and the Mac App Store.

We’re enjoying Mojave, and we hope you will too. We’ll be writing more about its new capabilities in future articles, so stay tuned!

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