macOS High Sierra – Should You Upgrade?
Posted by Timothy Platt on Sep 30, 2017
macOS High Sierra – Should Your Small Business Upgrade?
This week, Apple released macOS version 10.13 – also known as High Sierra. As such, it’s the successor to version 10.12 – Sierra. As with all macOS updates, it’s free, but before you upgrade, let’s discuss the new features this release contains and whether this is the right time to upgrade or not.
Firstly, High Sierra is considered a foundational update. It’s providing a lot of “under the covers” improvements and upgrades – that will reap benefits down the road – once software developers incorporate the new capabilities these upgrades provide.
Features of macOS High Sierra
Some of the new features include:
- A Brand-New File System – APFS or the Apple File System, is an all new re-design of the underlying structures and processes used to store files on your computer. Why is this being upgraded? To provide for better performance, reliability, and new capabilities down the road. What’s the immediate useful feature for business? Not much, really. This is more of a foundational upgrade that will bear fruit in the future. It has also been noted that some applications seem to have compatibility issues with APFS.
- Photos app – There are numerous updates to the Photos application, but we don’t often see this app being used as a business-critical tool.
- Safari Web Browser – Mac’s native web browser receives updates to block tracking cookies used for ads. It will also block those annoying auto-play videos that are becoming increasingly more popular on the web.
- Improved video compression – via High Efficiency Video Coding (also known as HEVC and H.265) newer Macs will support more efficient video playback. H.265 will provide for up to 40% more compression than the previous standard, and this results in smaller file sizes, and better streaming playback. This feature requires a very recent Mac, with at least an Intel sixth-generation Skylake processor.
- Graphics Improvements – The Metal 2 programming framework will allow new and updated programs to benefit from improved graphics and other visual features. This will require that software vendors update their programs to use this new API (Application Programming Interface). Similarly, support for Virtual Reality (VR) headsets improves – with the SteamVR and the HTC Vive VR headsets specially being supported.
- iCloud Sharing – You can now share any file in your iCloud drive with someone else, using a simple link. This is a capability that other cloud storage systems such as OneDrive and Google Drive have had for quite some time. Generally, we don’t see too many businesses wanting to use iCloud for document sharing purposes, although the addition of this feature now makes this a possibility.
- Other updates – there are a host of other minor updates. The Siri voice is now more natural and expressive, for example. Mail search is better, and the FaceTime application can capture “Live Photos” – capturing a short moving image in addition to the static snapshot.
So, as you can see, there’s not a lot of end user improvements that would be considered critical for your small business.
Is It Time for Small Business to Upgrade to 10.13?
Given that there are few end user focused improvements, and the fact that this release involves a major update of the underlying file system – and there appear to be some limited application compatibility problems, we definitely recommend that you hold on upgrading until version 10.13.1 or 10.13.2. There is little to be gained, for the average small business, by upgrading immediately and being subjected to the process of finding the bugs this release may contain.
From a security perspective, the 10.11 and 10.12 releases of macOS are still fully supported, and Apple is releasing security updates regularly.
Next Steps on Technology Decisions
If you need help with your technology decisions – we’re the right partner for you. We have in-depth understanding of all the technology used by small business – networks, servers, cloud, Windows, Apple, Mac, Android, and more. And we’re here to help – please give us a call at (407) 268-6626.
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