Feast your eyes on all the features you can enjoy in the latest edition of OS X
Upgrading to OS X Yosemite brings a raft of new features, the most obvious being the new-look interface. While not wholly different from previous incarnations, the new style has received a mixed reception. Apps such as Calendar and Contacts no longer mimic real-world objects, a style some thought hammy. Many apps feature a blurred transparency effect with interface elements that react to the colour of the desktop or objects behind them. The Dock is a translucent rectangle, rather than like a 3D shelf.
Radically for Apple, OS X’s system font has changed for the first time. Out goes Lucida Grande and in comes Helvetica Neue. There are new-look icons for many of Apple’s apps, which come in two styles. There’s the familiar circular icon produced to Jony Ive's icon grid, and a new rectangular one with a 9° tilt.
Yosemite also introduces a ‘dark mode’. When enabled, the menu bar and the Dock take on a different look with a black background and white text.
Another striking interface change is that the behaviour of the Zoom button (the green button found at the top-left of most windows) has been changed. Now when you click that button, most apps switch to full-screen mode. Some Mac users find this odd and disconcerting. Holding down å while clicking the green icon reverts to the traditional behaviour of toggling the window between two sizes – typically the one you’ve chosen and a perceived best fit for the content.
OS X Yosemite isn’t just a visual refresh. Three big new features are Handoff, AirDrop with iOS, and Instant Hotspot, all of which integrate your Mac with nearby iOS devices. You will need a relatively recent Mac to access these features, because they rely on a combination of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 LE. This is the latest version of Bluetooth (the LE stands for Low Energy). You can check whether your Mac is compatible by choosing > About This Mac > More Info, and checking if the model name listed is within the ranges listed at support.apple.com/ kb/PH18947.
If your Mac isn’t compatible with these features, you may be able to activate them by connecting a Bluetooth 4.0 LE adaptor to your Mac and using a hack known as Continuity Activation Tool (http://bit.ly/continuityhack).
Another great, but resource hungry, new feature is the upgraded Spotlight, which now combines search results from apps, files and metadata on your Mac with content from online sources. Sources include Wikipedia, Bing Web Search, and content from the Mac App Store and
iTunes Store. If you find these new search results intrusive, or don’t want to be upsold on iTunes content while searching your computer, then open System Preferences, click the Spotlight icon and, on the Search Results tab, deselect the options you don’t like.