macOS Sonoma’s public beta is now available, showcasing Apple’s continued push towards a unified user experience across its devices. Following the trend of recent macOS releases, Sonoma brings the look and feel of iOS even closer to the Mac. The new update introduces a lockscreen reminiscent of the iPhone, reinforcing the sense of continuity between Apple devices. Additionally, users can now add widgets to their desktop, a feature borrowed from iOS. While the practicality of desktop widgets may be questioned, it undeniably adds to the iPhone-like aesthetics on the Mac.
Beyond the visual changes, Sonoma brings improvements in video conferencing capabilities. The new features, compatible with FaceTime and Zoom, include Presenter Overlay, which allows users to overlay a video feed of themselves while sharing their screen during presentations. This feature offers the option to either display the entire body or a smaller bubble containing the speaker’s face, which can be moved around in real time.
Furthermore, new 3D reactions, such as hearts and thumbs-down, add an element of fun and expressiveness to video calls.Safari, Apple’s web browser, also receives updates in Sonoma. One notable addition is the introduction of profiles, a feature that aligns Safari with similar functionalities already present in Chrome.
Profiles enable users to have different sets of bookmarks, history, tab groups, cookies, and favorites, which can be synced across devices. Users can even label profiles for specific use cases like Work and Personal, enhancing organization and productivity. Additionally, profiles can be associated with specific Focus modes, further customizing the browsing experience.Other notable features include a new Game Mode aimed at improving gaming performance on macOS, search filters in the Messages app, a high-performance mode in the Screen Sharing app, and an enhanced autocorrect language model.
However, the most noticeable change in Sonoma is its striking resemblance to iOS, even in areas where the iOS-inspired design may seem less practical for a computer.While Sonoma’s direction towards Continuity and iOS-like design may not resonate with everyone, Apple enthusiasts can download the Sonoma public beta to experience and provide feedback on these upcoming changes. It remains to be seen how third-party developers will leverage the desktop widgets feature, and whether they will unlock new and exciting use cases.
As Apple continues to bridge the gap between its devices, macOS Sonoma paves the way for a more integrated and cohesive user experience across the Mac and iPhone ecosystems.