First impressions of working with macOS Sierra

Erik Eckel describes his experiences of using macOS Sierra in production. One of his favorite enhancements is the new file management feature.

Image: Apple

Almost every new operating system introduction is preceded by significant marketing hype. While loading beta software and release candidates used to bring me joy (what can I say, I was younger), time and experience have demonstrated it's often best to wait and load new OSes on production systems only once the new OS is finally released to, you guessed it, production.

Thus, September 20th found me dutifully downloading and installing macOS Sierra on the MacBook Air upon which my daily business operations are often dependent. Apple's OS upgrade process always impresses me with its ease and simplicity. Users need only open the App Store and click the prominently featured macOS Sierra banner. Follow the prompts and, depending upon your system (assuming it's of reasonable vintage and qualifies for the upgrade), and you should be booting into macOS Sierra quickly.

SEE: Screenshots: A complete roundup of new macOS Sierra features

Following the macOS Sierra upgrade, numerous independent applications called for updating. In addition to downloading and installing Pages, Numbers, and Keynote updates, Adobe Creative Cloud app updates also proved available. I downloaded and updated the Apple office productivity tools using Apple App Store's Update menu. I upgraded Adobe tools, meanwhile, using the Creative Cloud app. While the Adobe app updates don't look to be Sierra specific, I always recommend checking for and installing updates for applications you use regularly.

macOS Sierra users running VMware Fusion should update to version 8.5. The virtual machine upgrade includes support for the new Sierra OS, as well as Windows 10 Anniversary Edition.

Other applications for which updates were available--this time from within the apps themselves--included CleanMyMac 3 and MacPaw's Gemini 2. A MacPaw representative confirmed, via email, the Sierra-ready apps include several new tweaks and features to operate even better in the new OS. For example, Gemini 2 now includes proper iCloud file processing, improved duplicate file descriptions, and an improved, dynamic search. CleanMyMac3's update helps the utility better identify Sierra-specific log files and cache files, and it also includes bug fixes and other refinements.

Within a few days of installing Sierra, Microsoft Office prompted me to install updates for every installed application: PowerPoint, Outlook, Excel, OneNote, and Word. The version 15.27.0 updates do not look to be Sierra, specific, however, as they address security vulnerabilities. Again, following an OS update, I recommend checking for and installing any office productivity application updates, as these programs are so often used.

A quick tour through a few Sierra features confirms users can opt to unlock their Macs using an Apple Watch. The Security & Privacy menu includes the checkbox for Allow Your Apple Watch To Unlock Your Mac.

Apple's also included Siri for the Mac with the new OS. The Siri icon is automatically added to the Dock.

Another Sierra enhancement I found of immediate value is the new file management feature that helps optimize storage. Click the Apple icon, select About This Mac, and click the Storage tab to access the Manage button. The Manage button opens access to the new disk management utilities that simplify system administration and help free space both on the local disk as well as within the user's iCloud account.

In conclusion

While I've only been using the new OS for several business days, the upgrade proved smooth and straightforward. The system is running reliably with no noticeable hiccups or errors. And new features are providing welcome enhancements. If the long-term operation matches these initial macOS Sierra experiences, Apple's new OS will prove to be a hit.

While such successes have become the expectation among Apple professionals, it's worth noting OS upgrades are never a sure thing, and Apple deserves credit for getting another one right.

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