macOS High Sierra could be considered a minor upgrade, but it comes with some major new features.
Apple gave macOS 10.13 the "half-step" name of High Sierra with the tagline, Your Mac. Elevated. Basically, what that means is Apple didn't make a lot of big changes, but the changes it made are pretty impressive. There are some great new features in Photos, Notes, and Safari. Plus, Apple has added support for virtual reality and improved file compression for audio, video, and standard documents on your Mac with HEVC, HEIF, and APFS.
Here's a list of all the major changes in macOS High Sierra you can read about while you're downloading the update on your Mac.
What's new with VR on Mac in High Sierra
With the update to High Sierra, Apple added software support for virtual reality on those Mac computers with hardware capabilities. Unity, Unreal Engine, and SteamVR will support Mac systems over the next few months. If you've got yourself a VR headset, like HTC Vive, you're about to get your VR game on!
What's new in Photos in High Sierra
Some of the most noticable changes in High Sierra come in the Photos app on Mac. Just like in iOS 11, you can edit and create new mini GIF style clips with your Live Photos. Add filters, adjust lighting, and trim length of your Live Photos, then give them some Bounce, Loop, or Long Exposure for extra fun. There are also some new advanced editing tools in the Photos app on Mac that provide additional tools for adjusting white balance, levels, curves, and more.
What's new with Notes in High Sierra
Notes gets incrementally better with each operating system update. In High Sierra, Notes gets a table creation tool so you can build out more productive rich notes. My favorite feature in Notes is the ability to pin important notes to the top of your list. This also exists in iOS 11, so you can sync your pinned notes across your devices.
What's new in Mail in High Sierra
Mail's updates may be minor, but they are no less important. In High Sierra, you'll get better results when searching for a specific email. Recommended results show up in a new section in your mailbox called "Top Hits."
You can now use a dual-window Split View of the Mail app. Similar to two-window Safari, you can open Mail in Split View on one side of your full-screen and compose an Email in a separate window on the other side.
What's new in Safari
Safari is more secure than ever before in High Sierra. With website tracking customizations, you'll be able to block websites from tracking you across sites you visit. Autoplay can also be disabled for specific sites, or across your entire web browsing experience. If you hate autoplay videos on CNN, but don't mind them on Facebook, you can disable them on one site, but not have to disable it for the other. Speaking of customization, you can customize each website you visit with specific options, like content blockers, autoplay, Reader View, and more.
HEVC and HEIF: Everything you need to know
Apple's under-the-hood updates are actually the most significant ones. There's been some huge improvements on shrinking your files, while still making them as robust as possible. With HEVC and HEIF, you'll get double the compression on your photos and videos at half the space. HEVC makes it possible for you to download and edit your 4K videos at 40 percent the size without losing quality. HEIF does something similar, and also provides the ability to store groups of images as single files. These changes will work together with JPEG files and H.264 files, so you'll barely notice the difference (except that you'll notice how much faster you can access and edit your larger files).
APFS: Everything you need to know
APFS, or Apple File System, is the document and data version of HEVC and HEIF. It is a faster way to access your documents, and a better way to store them. It reduces file and data bloat on your Mac so you can make room for all those 4K videos.
What's new with Siri
Siri's update doesn't do a whole lot more in terms of function, but it's a whole lot different than Sierra's virtual assistant. Starting with voice. Siri's been updated with a much more natural-sounding voice. It's so much more natural sounding that its ... unnatural. Siri also has some Music enhancements. It can start a playlist for you based on your activity, like working out or having a BBQ.
If you ran the beta on a Fusion Drive Mac
You may have heard some hubbub recently about APFS and Fusion Drive Macs. If you installed an early beta of High Sierra on a Mac with a Fusion Drive and converted your drive to APFS, you're going to have to convert back to HFS+. It's a bummer, but it's gotta be done (unless you can afford to set your Mac aside for a few months until a High Sierra update adds APFS support for Fusion Drives). We've got a basic guide for converting back to HFS+ with a link to Apple's support page.
Apple apps that you won't be able to use when you upgrade
Apple made some deep changes to the Mac software, and as such, some older apps won't work with your Mac anymore. Check third-party developers for information regarding your favorite apps. Apple also sunsetted some of its older pro apps, like some apps for Final Cut Studio and Logic Studio. Be sure to check out the list before you update to High Sierra, just in case one of your must-have apps will no longer work with your Mac.
Do you have any questions about macOS High Sierra?
If you're still wondering about what's new in High Sierra, take a gander at our coverage. You can also leave a comment below and we'll try to help you out as best we can.