Why you should upgrade to macOS Mojave Apple makes it impossible to download
Roman Loyola looks at Mojave’s best new features
MacOS Mojave is finally here. As we saw in our review on page 4, it’s not a major revamp, but it does add new features that can help you be more productive with your Mac. That being said, you may be hesitant to upgrade. After all, what you’re using now works fine, and why risk the potential for problems? We hear you, and if you don’t want to upgrade right away, you’ll be fine. But in case you’re on the fence, here are a few reasons why you should upgrade to Mojave now.
1. Dark Mode is easier on the eyes
The first new feature Apple discussed at the 2018 WWDC unveiling of Mojave, the first feature that the Mojave website highlights, and the first feature I’m covering here is Dark Mode, which uses darker colours for user interface elements like the toolbar and menus. Being first implies a sense of importance, but to some, Dark Mode may seem like an odd feature to highlight first. “So the Mac uses dark stuff. So what?”
Think about how you use your Mac (or computers in general). When you’re looking at a computer screen, you’re basically staring at a light source. And if you’re like me, you do almost all of your work all day long while staring at this light source. With a traditional Mac UI, you’re usually using windows that are predominating bright white, and staring
at the light for a while can cause eye fatigue. Dark Mode feels a lot more comfortable to me, though I don’t feel more or less fatigued at the end of the day. (That’s probably due to the fact that I make it a point to take quick ‘screen’ breaks every 30 minutes or so.) Some people think Dark Mode helps you focus on what you’re working on; I can’t say I agree or disagree, I don’t notice a difference in where my attention is at. But while I’m working, being in Dark Mode feels more pleasing, and I now have a preference for it. I’m also looking forward to more apps offering Dark Mode interfaces.
2. Continuity Camera
Before Continuity Camera, it took a bit of effort to get a photo or scan on to your Mac. With Continuity Camera, the process is a lot more efficient.
In apps that support the feature, all you need to do is click in the area where you want your image to appear, and then go to the File menu and look for an option to import a scan or photo from your iPhone or iPad. Select it, and an indicator appear in your Mac app and your iOS device’s camera automatically launches. You can then snap a picture or ‘scan’ your document, and the result is automatically inserted in your document. So easy. Unfortunately, this feature doesn’t allow you to select a picture that’s already on your iOS
device for placement in your document, but maybe that’s for a future update.
Continuity Camera works right now with Mojave’s bundled apps, such as Notes, Mail, Messages, and in the Finder. It also works with Apple’s Numbers, Pages, and Keynote. Look for third parties to add this functionality soon.
3. Improved security features
Security isn’t a glamorous topic, but there are a few new security features that make Mojave an attractive upgrade. Because of what I do for a living, I’m often downloading and trying new software, sometimes from developers with whom I’m not familiar. So I run a few utilities to keep an eye on what’s going on with my Mac. One of the utilities I use is OverSight, which flashes an alert any time an app wants to access the Mac’s FaceTime camera and microphone.
An OverSight-like feature is now built into Mojave that can alert you when an app wants to access the camera and mic, as well as iTunes device backups, Time Machine backups, your Mail database, your Message history, your Safari data, and other data. Even better is that Safari in Mojave has improved Intelligent Tracking Prevention. What this does is that it blocks attempts to track the websites that you visit. If you trigger one of these tracks (often by clicking on a comment button, or when you Like something on Facebook), Safari posts an alert to let you know that you need to allow tracking to continue on.
Mojave also has more features for managing password, such as the ability to create strong passwords, the ability to automatically enter in a security code that you get vis SMS, and password auditing. These are great features, but as a longtime 1Password user, I don’t think I’ll be giving it up for Mojave’s built-in features. I prefer 1Password’s management tools, even though it means I’m not being efficient about my password usage.
4. Quick Look for quick image edits
As the family documentarian, it’s my job to take pictures and videos of family events. But I don’t just shoot and then file away the results; I look at the images and videos and edit them. Usually, they’re easy edits, but it feels like a hassle to preview a file to see if it needs to be edited, and then open those files that do in an app.
Mojave makes Quick Look most robust, providing simple editing tools so you don’t even need to open an app. Now when you preview an image (select it and then press the space bar), you can click on the
Quick Actions icon between the Rotate icon and the Open in Preview button, and a set of editing tools appears. You can rotate in 90-degree increments and crop images, and there’s even a set of Markup tools you can use to write notations. For audio and video, you can trim clips. If you are perusing through dozens and dozens of photos and videos, the new Quick Look Quick Actions helps a ton with simple crops and trims. It can be a real timesaver.
5. News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and App Store
If you frequently use the News, Stocks, and Voice Memos apps on your iPhone or iPad, then
you’ll probably find good use for them on your Mojave Mac. With the News and Stocks apps, your preferences can be saved to iCloud, so your topics, channels, watch list, and more are syncs between all your devices. Voice Memos can save your recording to iCloud so you can access them on any device.
Of these apps, I’ll get the most use out of the News app. It seems that people tend to rely on social networks to get their news, but with social networks, the people you follow are the arbiter of what shows up on your feed – and for a lot of people, that’s preferable. I like to have more control over the articles that are fed to me, and that includes topics that may not necessarily jibe with that of the people I follow. The News app
allows you to set your sources and subjects, so you can get a feed that’s customized to your interests.
Apple has also redesigned the App Store, so it’s easier to find apps. The company is also putting more effort into your ability to learn about new software, by featuring App Store editors’ picks and curated app lists.
Group FaceTime: Coming soon
If these reasons aren’t compelling enough for you to upgrade to Mojave now, there’s a feature coming soon that will make you want to upgrade: Group FaceTime. When it becomes available – Apple says it’ll be here later this autumn – you’ll be able to do a group chat with up to 32 people using a Mac, iPhone, or iPad. If this feature was available now (and it worked well), it would be the number one reason why you should upgrade to Mojave.
Beware installing macOS Mojave. Apple appears to have completely removed the ability to download the installers of older versions of macOS and Mac OS X from the new version of the Mac operating system.
Previously users could go to the Mac App Store, click on the Purchased tab and see a list of all the apps they had ever downloaded. This was particularly useful if a Mac user wanted to revert
to an older version of the OS, or run more than one version of the operating system (perhaps for testing, or because they were running old software).
It was previously possible to locate an older version of Mac OS X in the Purchased tab, re-download its installer, and then follow various steps to create a bootable installer on an external drive. This bootable installer could then be used to do a clean install of the earlier version of the macOS on the Mac. Now that Apple has updated the Mac App Store in Mojave, there is no longer a Purchased tab. Users can see some of their previously purchased items if they click on Store in the Apple Store and choose: View My Account. However, this will no longer show any older versions of macOS, though it did previously.
In 2017, when Apple introduced High Sierra, the company did remove Sierra from the Purchased list, which made it more difficult to revert to that version, but it was still possible to download the Sierra installer via this link that Apple provided. The link still takes you to a page for Sierra, but if you are running Mojave you will see an ‘Update not found’ error message if you try to download it.
We have checked the same link to the Mac App Store on a computer that hadn’t got Mojave installed and can confirm that it is still possible to download the installer.
We also tested the link Apple provided to download El Capitan back when High Sierra launched. That download also no longer appears to be valid if you access it in Mojave, with the
message ‘Update not found: The requested version of macOS is not available’ appearing. Again, we were able to confirm that El Capitan installer could be downloaded on a Mac running High Sierra and on one running Sierra.
To reiterate, it is possible to download the installer for an older versions the Mac App Store but only if you are running High Sierra or older. If you are running Mojave this will not be possible. In fact, Apple even states as much on its page about creating a bootable installer. It says: “To download macOS Mojave or High Sierra for this purpose, download from a Mac that is using macOS Sierra 10.12.5 or later, or El Capitan 10.11.6.”
This means we have to recommend that you download the installer for High Sierra, and any other installer you feel you may need in the future before updating to Mojave.
Luckily, we already have the various installers on our Mac. If you don’t have them available on your computer, then we recommend finding a Mac that hasn’t got Mojave installed, logging on with your iCloud ID and viewing the Purchased tab in the Mac App Store where you should be able to download the installer you require.
A familiar Light Mode window in Mojave...
...and a new Dark Mode window
You can scan images directly into Notes
Mojave lets you know if apps are trying to access your Mac’s microphone, camera, and other items
Crop a photo directly in Quick Look. No need to open an app
The News app in Mojave