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El Capitan FAQ: Everything you need to know about OS X 10.11

Roman Loyola | Sept. 14, 2015
This fall, Apple will release OS X El Capitan, which is version 10.11 of the Mac operating system.

Okey dokey. What about Notes?

Notes 4 is a different app from the previous version—it does a lot more. You can now create checklists, and notes can have embedded audio and video. The new Attachments Browser lets you easily spot the photos, video, sketches, map locations and more within your notes. All the data can be access between your Mac and iOS devices. 

Good, good. What’s up with Maps?

Maps 2 finally gets public transit information, but this feature won’t be available in many cities when El Capitan is released. This is probably more of a feature you’ll use with iOS, but it’ll be a limited one at the start. 

Next app: Photos. Tell me about it.

Photos hasn’t been out for very long, so the version in El Capitan is version 1.1. It has support for third-party image editing extensions, so you can do more with your photos while in Photos. You can also edit image data and better album sorting options.

What about performance enhancements in the system. What is this “Metal” thing?

You can never have too much speed, huh? Apple says that apps launch 40 percent faster than before, and switching apps is quicker. The company also says that the first mail message in Mail 9 will appear faster, and opening a PDF will have a 4x improvement.

As for Metal, it’s Apple’s name for its graphics core technology. Metal actually made its debut with iOS 8 last year, and now it’s on the Mac. Apple says Metal is 50 percent better at system-level graphics rendering, and that it dramatically improves draw call performance.

In plain English: Metal will improve graphics performance, so your apps and games will look awesome.

Ah, cool. Are there any new security features?

There are. The new System Integrity Protection works against malware by locking down more parts of the core system. Unfortunately, this could break some legitimate software utilities that you use. 

Finally, what about Siri? Is it on the Mac? Can I sit in front of my computer and tell it what to do, like “Find the nearest pizza joint” and it’ll show me the results, and then I can call that place and order a sausage and anchovy pizza? Or, can I, like, sit in front of my Mac, and ask “What does the fox say?” and Siri will reply by saying “Fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow!” and I’ll slap my knee and heartily laugh?

Siri’s not on the Mac, and it won't happen with El Capitan. You'll have to order your pizza the old fashioned way. Chacha-chacha-chacha-chow!


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