macOS Sonoma new features:

Last month, Apple released the latest operating system for Mac, which is called macOS Sonoma, and is also known as version 14 of macOS. As is usually the case every fall, this year’s release introduces some new features to the Mac. And while this release does not introduce anything ground-breaking in my opinion, there’s a lot of small little tweaks and changes that make it a nice upgrade from last year’s macOS Ventura.

It is interesting to see how Apple continues to merge the Mac operating system and the iOS operating system. Slowly but surely, a lot of features from the iPhone and iPad are showing up on the Mac. Since the newer Macs are now using the same type of Apple Silicon processors as the iPhone and iPad, this makes a lot of sense. It also makes it much easier for people who already use an iPhone or iPad to switch to a Mac from a PC. So, as times goes on, we can expect to see more and more similarities between the Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

Here’s a rundown of some of the biggest changes you’ll get if you install the Sonoma update:

WIDGETS:

One of the biggest changes this year is the ability to add widgets right on your Mac desktop. Widgets are customizable blocks you can use from various apps on your Mac or iPhone, which allow you to quickly see information that’s important to you from those apps. For example, you could have a weather widget right your desktop which shows you today’s forecast, without the need to open the actual weather app. You can have calendar widgets, stocks widget, sports headlines widgets and much more depending on which apps you have installed on your devices.

image of mac widgets on Mac desktop

Widgets have been available on iPhone and iPad since 2020, and now they are available on macOS Sonoma. Previously, you could access widgets from the Notification Center in the top right of your screen, but the big difference is that now you can place them pretty much anywhere you want on your desktop, and you also have a lot more choices for customization of these widgets. They can be very small little squares, or big rectangles taking up big chunks of your screen. It’s up to you to customize however you like from the choices each app gives you.

NEW SCREEN SAVERS:

This update adds a very large library of new screen savers and wallpaper options, which do look beautiful. If you’re familiar with the screensavers that have been available in the Apple TV over the last few years, you’ll have a good idea of what these look like. They are slow moving videos in categories such as landscape, cityscape, underwater and earth. You can pick any one of these, or choose to have them shuffle automatically. Even though this is really just a basic cosmetic improvement, they are very well done and are quite enjoyable.

image of the new lock screen on Mac

PROFILES IN SAFARI:

You can now setup different profiles in Safari so that you could for example set up one profile for your personal web browsing and a different profile for work web browsing. That way, all your bookmarks, extensions and browsing history can be contained in each profile separately. This is similar to what you can find on Google Chrome, where using different Profiles has been available for some time.

INLINE PREDICTIVE TEXT:

With this feature turned on, predictive text tries to predict not only single words, but also multi-word chunks of phrases you’re going to type. And the more you use it, the better it gets at guessing what you’re about to type. The concept is fairly simple; as you’re typing, it shows you what it thinks you’re about to type, and if it predicted correctly, you can press the space-bar to accept the text and it fills in automatically. Personally, I have mixed feelings about this. If you’re someone who types fast on the computer, this feature can really get in the way and quickly get annoying. But for someone who types slow, I think this is probably a great feature. I still think this feature needs some work and will hopefully improve over time through updates. By default, inline predictive text is on, but it can be turned off going to System settings > Keyboard > and choosing Edit under Input sources. From there, you can toggle Show inline predictive text on or off.

SEAMLESS KEYBOARD INPUT AND DICTATION: This is one of the newest features available across the Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Previously you had to toggle back and forth between dictation or typing anywhere you could add text. But now, you can tap on the dictation / microphone icon in order to dictate something, but you can also still type something out using the keyboard if you want to. So, it is now a hybrid dictation and type input function, which can be very useful when you think that using dictation would mistype somebody’s name for example, and you don’t want to have to go back and fix it afterwards.

AUTOCORRECT NOW ALLOWS EXPLETIVES: Most of us are probably familiar with the autocorrect function editing explicit words and replacing them with sanitized replacements. Apple is finally allowing users to use cuss words and explicit language in their communications, without the need to go back and actually type out the bad words over and over again.

These are just some of just what I deem to be the most useful new features available with macOS Sonoma, but there’s a lot of other improvements and changes included in this update. You can check out the full list right here directly from Apple’s Sonoma page.

With macOS Sonoma, Apple is being pretty stringent on which Macs are compatible and are allowed to install the upgrade. In most cases, you do need a Mac that is from 2018 or newer, even though the iMac and Mac Pro requirement are for models from 2019 or older. In any case, the App Store will not allow you to install macOS Sonoma unless you have a Mac that is eligible for the upgrade.

There are ways to install macOS Sonoma on older, non-eligible Macs, which you can find pretty easily online, but I wouldn’t recommend doing so for most people. In many cases, an older Mac running macOS Sonoma might run into weird bugs and glitches because it’s simply not able to handle the operating system correctly. But if you need to operate an app that requires macOS Sonoma and all you have is an older Mac that is not eligible according to Apple, just know that there is workarounds.

Alright, hopefully that gives you a little idea of what to expect from this year’s new macOS release, and it may help you decide if you actually want to upgrade.