On October 16, Apple launched the latest version of OS X, named 10.10 Yosemite, which is available for free through the Mac App Store. As of October 20, it has received over 8,600 reviews with an average rating of four and a half stars out of five. Before you update your Mac, check the requirements first. In order to upgrade to Yosemite, your Mac needs to be running OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard or later operating systems. iMacs released after 2007 are supported, along with MacBook, MacBook Air, and Mac Pro models released after 2008. MacBook Pros and Mac Minis from 2009 and later are support as well. Handoff, Instant Hotspot, AirDrop, AirPlay, and Power Nap features each have their own system requirements.
One of the most compelling features in Yosemite is the continuity interface that allows you to pick up tasks from where you left off on your iPhone or iPad. Make sure that your mobile devices are running iOS 8 first. You can send cellular text messages and pick up phone calls through your Mac, so that you don’t have to look away from the computer to perform tasks that were previously relegated to your iPhone. In order to make a phone call from your Mac, you’ll need to sign in with the same iCloud account that you use on your iPhone. Both your iPhone and Mac must share the same Wi-Fi network. Calls can be initiated by a number of applications, including Contacts, Safari, Facetime, and Calendars, according to CNET.
Users can also take advantage of an Instant Hotspot, if your phone is hooked up with a data tethering plan. This allows you to instantly connect your Mac to the Internet without having to fiddle with tethering settings. The Handoff feature allow you to continue workflows across Apple-created apps, including Mail, Notes, Keynote, Pages, and Numbers.
Apple has completely ditched skeuomorphic design — that’s when elements like Notes look like actual paper or Calendars have leather-like textures. Instead, you’ll notice that your Mac apps have transformed to look more like the apps you’re used to on iOS devices. They’ve been completely overhauled as minimalistic and colorful apps. Even the system menus have become slightly translucent, mimicking the look of mobile device interfaces.
You can always enable “Dark Mode” if this translucent look bothers you. Just launch your System Preferences and choose “Appearance” from the General menu. Check off the selection that says, “Use dark menu bar and Dock” to enable a darker, opaque Mac menu interface.
If you haven’t been taking advantage of the Notifications menu in previous OS X releases, then take a look at the widget additions. You can now customize the Notifications menu to include utilities of your choice, such as social media shortcuts, world clocks, calculators, stocks, and more. Instead of swiping over to your Dashboard widgets, you can simply use them from the Notifications menu.
If you’re ready to update to OS X Yosemite, then back up your computer’s data and visit the Mac App Store to start the free installation. Don’t forget to also update your iOS devices too so that you can take advantage of the many continuity features.