macOS Sierra public beta

If you have just downloaded the public beta of macOS Sierra, you may be wondering how to find all of the new features waiting for you to play with. We've got a list of everything you can look forward to with the public beta, what doesn't work yet, and how to report bugs.

New features in the public beta of macOS Sierra

macOS Sierra pubic beta

There are plenty of small and under the hood features to keep an eye out for, but there are definitely some tentpoles that you can get excited about.

Siri on the Mac

Do you see that colorful little icon in the upper right corner of your screen? Click on it. It's Siri. You can also find Siri in the second position in your dock. Or, trigger the virtual assistant by pressing and holding command and space on your keyboard. macOS Sierra lets you customize the keyboard shortcut, including the combination fn and space.

When you hear that familiar beep, you can start talking. Ask her to create a calendar event for you, or get her to search the web for pictures of your favorite celebrity, or ask her the score of last night's game. You can pin Siri search results to the Today view of your Notification center.

Universal Clipboard

If you have the public beta of iOS 10 installed on one of your devices, you'll be able to use the new Universal Clipboard feature with macOS Sierra. That means anything you copy on one device, you can automatically paste using the other. So, if you copy a link in Safari, a photo, or even a video on your Mac, you can then move to your iPhone and paste what you copied into Messages, an email, or whatever you may want to paste it in to. Just make sure you paste within two minutes or the target device will revert to its own clipboard.


Though Messages on the Mac isn't going to be as full-featured as it is on iOS 10, you will still be able to take advantage of some of the fun new features. You can see rich links, and even pictures or videos when available, right inside the chat window. You can also use the new Tapback emoji feature to react to something that was said in a chat. You can't send them, but you can view stickers, sketches, heartbeats, taps, handwritings, and invisible ink messages in Messages on macOS Sierra.

iCloud Desktop & Documents

If you set up iCloud on your Mac after installing the public beta of macOS Sierra, you will be able to see all folders and documents in iCloud Drive, even on devices that don't have the newest software installed. Go ahead. Try it. Open iCloud drive on an iPhone or iPad running iOS 9.3. You'll see a couple new folders, one's called "Desktop," and the other's called "Documents." These folders sync everything on your macOS Desktop and in your Documents folder.

If you have two Macs running macOS Sierra, you'll notice that both desktops have the same files and folders on them. So, you'd better keep your desktop tidy or it's going to get difficult to organize everything.

Optimized storage

Open Finder > Applications > Utilities > System Information and you'll notice there is a new feature there for optimizing the storage on your Mac. You can turn on Store in iCloud to keep files and photos in iCloud and only keep recently open folders on your Mac when storage is low. You can also automatically remove iTunes movies and TV shows you've already watched and enable automatic trash removal, which deletes any items in the trash after 30 days. When you need more space, review older documents stored on your Mac to Reduce Clutter.


Apple has added some fancy deep-learning technology to the Photos app for Mac that will make it "look" through your images and tag objects in them so you can search much easier. So, if you have a horse or lake in your picture, you can search for pictures by the lake or when you went horseback riding and Photos will find them for you.

There is also a new editing tool in Photos called Brilliance, which automatically brightens shadows and lowers highlights, and a few more tweaks. It is built into the Enhance tool, but you can access it separately using a new slider in the Light tool.

Markup is now available in Photos, too. So, you can scribble all over that picture of your dog digging through the trash before sending it to your favorite social networking site to be giggled at.

Always wished you could pick one specific image from Live Photos to save separately? Well, now you can. You also can crop, enhance, filter, add effects, and more.

Check out the Memories section for automatically curated slide shows of events that have taken place. Photos collects groups of images and video clips from specific dates and places and displays them for you in a beautiful layout.


That's right, you can watch a movie or video while you are working on a document or browsing the internet, or sending an email. When you load up content in iTunes, Quicktime, or YouTube, you can reduce the size of the screen and make it hover on top of all windows.

Apple Music

Apple Music has been completely redesigned from the ground up with a new look and a few new features.

Shareable Notes

You can collaborate with others by sharing Notes with them. Your work will take place in real time and you'll be able to see what others are editing while you are working in it, too.


Safari extensions and content blockers are now stored in the Mac App Store. So, those browser widgets you've been using — for 1Password and Pinterest, for example — are now part of the Mac App Store. They will be much easier to find and install now that they are all searchable in one location.

Check out our recent posts about macOS Sierra for more information on what to look for now that you've downloaded the public beta.

Features that are not yet available in the macOS Sierra public beta

macOS Sierra Auto Unlock

Auto Unlock

Though it technically has been enabled in the public beta of macOS Sierra, it is only compatible with watchOS 3, which is only a developer beta (and likely won't have a beta release for the public). So, unless you are a developer, you're going to have to wait until the fall to test it out.

Apple Pay on the web

Again, Apple Pay on the web is technically enabled on macOS Sierra, but merchants will not be able to enable it until the fall. So, as much as you may want to shop 'til you drop with one-tap pay, you'll still have to wait a little longer.

Memories movie editor

One of the Photos app's biggest new features is the Memories section, where automatically curated slideshows are created. Apple calls these movies. They appear at the top of any Memory you select.

On iOS, you can edit these Memories movies by changing the music, rewriting and picking a different font style for the title, and selecting images to add or remove from the slideshow.

Right now, the editing feature is not available on macOS Sierra. Just to be clear, there is no indication that this feature is supposed to be in macOS Sierra. So, we aren't holding out hope that it will be available this fall, either.

All of the fun stuff in Messages

Yes, you can see rich links and react to comments with Tapbacks, but you don't have access to stickers or apps. You can't share a heartbeat, sketch, or tap. You can't handwrite messages or use the bubble and background effects or most of the other cool things that you can do in Messages on iOS 10. You can see all of them from your Mac, but you can't use them.

How to report bugs in macOS Sierra

Feedback Assistant

It is your duty as a public beta tester to let Apple know when something isn't working correctly, and we don't mean complaining about it on Twitter. If there is a feature that isn't performing as it should be, let Apple know using the Feedback Assistant that will automatically be installed when you add the public beta of macOS Sierra.