Secret Mac OS Sierra Tips and Features to Maximize Your Mac Experience

Delivered in the summer of 2016, macOS Sierra has become a revolutionary operating system which introduced lots of great features. iCloud Drive, Optimized Storage, Siri virtual assistant, Apple File System, and serious security improvements are just a few of its gimmicks. The successor to Sierra, macOS High Sierra delivered performance enhancements and technical updates. If you’re new to Mac computers, most certainly you’re looking for a user manual containing the full list of top macOS Sierra tips and hidden features. Or, you might want to get the best advice on how to use macOS High Sierra. In this handbook for dummies, you will find all of the above!

Mac OS Sierra Tips

What's New in Mac OS Sierra?

So, what can Mac OS Sierra do? People new to Mac devices may want to know how to use specific features or master the secret system tweaks. Let’s have a brief roundup of the new things in Mac OS Sierra edition.

Auto Unlock

It is possible to unlock Mac devices using Apple Watch instead of typing in your password. Just wear the Apple smartwatch within the range of your computer.

Apple Pay checkout

With macOS Sierra online shopping and electronic payments have become easier than ever. Tap on the Apple Pay logo to check out using the connected Apple device.

iCloud Drive

iCloud Drive has received several extended capabilities like Desktop and Document folder sync. With its help, it is possible to access user files across multiple Apple devices and online.

Optimized Storage

Users can reclaim the disk space on their computer by storing rarely used files in the iCloud.

iTunes update

iTunes 12.5 has acquired the new look and feel as well as includes updated Apple Music design.

Siri virtual assistant

Thanks to macOS Sierra, Apple’s digital assistant Siri has made it to Mac computers. It is a universal helping hand in performing routine operations on your Mac.

Universal Clipboard

Universal Clipboard lets users copy any content from one device and paste it to another device.

Photos app update

The Photos application has obtained facial recognition capability. Also, it can search for people, locations, and things. The Memories feature creates slideshows based on places and times.

Apart from the above features, macOS Sierra can stun users with software updates and great usability tweaks.

Sierra Picture in Picture

MacOS Sierra Picture in Picture

First introduced in iOS 9, the Picture in Picture feature has later been added into macOS Sierra. It has nothing to do with iPhotos, or its newer Photos version. With its help, Mac users can view videos played in Safari browser or iTunes over the other windows. To turn this feature on, click on the icon located in the bottom-right corner of the video in iTunes or Safari. After Picture in Picture activates, the video pop out window will show up, so it is possible to move it around the screen.

Picture in Picture is available for YouTube videos as well. After you right-click the icon under the YouTube video, an option saying “Enter Picture-in-Picture” will show up. Note that Picture in Picture video doesn’t support YouTube playlists, so the video stops after it reaches its end.

MacOS Sierra Siri Digital Assistant

Siri is Apple’s virtual assistant first released as a stand-alone application on iOS devices. In 2016, macOS Sierra has made Siri available to Mac users, who can now operate Apple’s digital assistant using special voice commands. The word ‘Siri’ is an abbreviation for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. It is an extremely personalized service adaptable to individual language usage. Not only does the virtual assistant answer any questions or provides recommendations, but also uses internet services to process specific user queries.

Sierra Siri

Mac OS Sierra Shortcuts

Don’t like wasting time when working on your Mac? Interrupt intense typing sessions to use a mouse or touchpad hinders the workflow? Users of macOS Sierra can seriously boost their work productivity using pre-set keyboard shortcuts or create their own. The scope of actions performed with the help of keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys is mind-blowing:

  • copy, paste and cut files or textual content;
  • move files to Trash;
  • open, minimize and quit applications;
  • go to specific folders;
  • put your Mac to sleep;
  • search for files and apps on your device.

To assign custom keyboard shortcuts, users should go to Apple menu -> System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts.\

MacOS Sierra Safari Browser

sierra features

The Safari 11 browser available in both macOS Sierra and High Sierra has turned the internet game around. The latest browser update has brought numerous privacy and security improvements:

  • prevents media content from playing automatically on websites;
  • allows users to configure content blockers, page zoom, and autoplay for specific websites;
  • improves user privacy by preventing cross-site tracking;
  • enables shared authenticated login sessions.

Most importantly, users of Safari 11 blocks third-party cookies and website data to prevent cross-site user tracking. Users get better online privacy with a lot less advertising.

How to Use Tabs in Mac OS Sierra

The tabs galore in macOS Sierra allows using tabs instead of multiple application windows. Formerly, tabs were available for Finder applications only. Sierra has introduced tabs for the onboard apps like Mail, Maps, and TextEdit. Apart from that, iWork applications like Keynote, Numbers, and Pages can use tabbed windows. Tabs are available for third-party document-based applications. To use tabs:

  1. Open several application windows.
  2. In the menu bar click Window -> Merge All Windows. After that, all application windows will merge.
  3. Use keyboard shortcuts to navigate between tabs.
  • To open a new window, press Command-N;
  • To close a window, press Command-W;
Merge All Windows

If you are an active Safari user, the tabs feature will look familiar. Some apps have a + button at the end of the tabs row. Pressing the button will create a new document in a new tab. To navigate between tabs in Safari, users can utilize keyboard shortcuts:

  • Control-Tab or Shift-Command-] - switch to next tab;
  • Control-Shift-Tab or Shift-Command-[ - switch to the previous tab;
  • To navigate between tabs in Chrome or Firefox try using a Command-Option-Arrow key combination.

Mac OS Sierra Shared Desktop

macOS Sierra allows using the inbuilt screen sharing to establish a connection between Mac computers within a single network. Screen sharing allows access to a remote Mac computer, troubleshoot an issue on someone else’s device, or collaborate with other users on a project remotely. To arrange screen sharing, do the following:

  1. In the Apple menu-> select System Preferences -> click Sharing.
  2. Tick the checkbox next to Screen Sharing. If Remote Desktop is on, deactivate it prior to switching on Screen Sharing.
  3. It is possible to define who can share the screen:
  • All users: If someone besides you can access a given Mac, any user would be able to share screen of your computer. The two exceptions are sharing-only users and guest users.
  • Only these users: Sharing the screen is allowed to particular users.
  1. If you choose Only these users, press the button. It is possible to choose specific users out of Users & Groups, Network Users or Network Groups.
  2. To make extra screen sharing settings, press Computer Settings. Choose one or both of the below options:
  • Anyone may request permission to control screen

Users could ask for permission to avoid entering username and password.

  • VNC viewers may control screen with password

The VNC viewer app can be used to perform screen sharing by entering a specified password.

In Conclusion

Both macOS Sierra and High Sierra offer users enhanced performance and exquisite security features. If you are still using earlier Mac OS versions, upgrade your operating system to access the newest applications and ensure better data protection. Learning about the macOS Sierra tips and tricks will help faster transition and will help you become a true Mac power user in mere moments.