Apple today began releasing macOS Sonoma 14 to the general public after a lengthy testing period following its initial announcement at WWDC 2023. The new major macOS release comes more than a week after Apple released iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and watchOS 10 to the public.
macOS Sonoma introduces a number of new features and refinements across the board for the Mac. These include a new Apple TV-like animated screen savers with aerial views of natural sites and major cities, interactive widgets that can now be pinned directly onto the desktop, a new Game Mode for maximum performance when gaming, and much more.
Users who wish to download macOS Sonoma can do so by navigating to System Settings -> General -> Software Update on their compatible Macs. macOS Sonoma is available for the following supported Mac devices:
- iMac: 2019 and later
- iMac Pro: 2017
- Mac Pro: 2019 and later
- Mac Studio: 2022 and later
- Mac mini: 2018 and later
- MacBook Pro: 2018 and later
- MacBook Air: 2018 and later
macOS Sonoma New Features
macOS Sonoma introduces a new screensaver and Lock Screen experience with slow-motion aerial videos that elegantly transition into the user’s desktop when they sign in and unlock their Mac. The Lock Screen gets a design tweak too, bringing it more in line with iPadOS 17.
Widgets are also getting a new look and place on macOS Sonoma, as users can now pin them anywhere on the desktop instead of being limited to the Notification Center. Widgets continuity means that users can easily move widgets from the iPhone to the Mac without having to install any Mac apps. Interactive widgets from iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 are also available as part of macOS Sonoma, allowing users to perform quick actions directly from widgets.
macOS Sonoma introduces a new Game Mode for Apple silicon Macs, which prioritizes CPU and GPU resources to games instead of background tasks. The sampling rate has also been updated for gaming controllers, now at double the rate of prior macOS releases. Game Mode also enables lower latency when using AirPods, and requires no extra optimization from developers. New AirPods features such as Adaptive Audio, Conversational Awareness, and improved Automatic Switching are also supported.
macOS Sonoma introduces many improvements to Safari. Profiles on Safari allow users to maintain separate spaces for separate work and personal tab groups. Safari on macOS Sonoma also adds support for web apps, which can now be pinned directly in the Dock. Private Browsing is greatly enhanced on macOS Sonoma, which now locks out the window when not in active use, while also adding even more advanced blocking against tracking and fingerprinting.
Video conferencing gains new enhancements on macOS Sonoma. A new Presenter Overlay feature displays a cutout of the presenting user on top of the content being shared. Reactions allow users to express their feelings towards the shared video content through quick effects by simply recreating a reaction through a hand gesture. A new Screen Sharing picker makes it easier to share app content during video calls through a new button.
Remote workflows are made even faster through a new high-performance mode which greatly reduces audio latency while delivering high frame rates. A new color reference mode and support for up to two virtual displays make it easier for professionals to access their workflows from anywhere.
macOS Sonoma also introduces smaller improvements across the board:
- Enhanced PDFs: PDFs now appear inside the Notes app in full width, and forms can now be filled quickly with AutoFill
- Siri: Users can simply toggle Siri using a new “Siri” keyword
- Passwords: Users can now share, add, and edit passwords with a defined group through iCloud Keychain with end-to-end encryption. One-time verification codes received through Mail now autofill in Safari
- Messages: All-new stickers picker with upgrades across the board to search, reply, and groups.
- Reminders: Smart grocery lists make weekly trips to the store more convenient. Lists can be organized into sections with a new horizontal column view.
- Keyboard: An all-new smarter autocorrect with inline completions for quicker and more accurate typing. Enhanced speech recognition allows more accurate Dictation.
- Privacy and Safety: Communication Safety is now available to AirDrop, the Photos picker, incoming calls, and FaceTime messages. Sensitive Content Warning prevents unwanted exposure to graphic media in AirDrop and Messages, incoming calls, and FaceTime messages, with easy access to block the sender or to seek further resources for help.