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The Best New Features in macOS Sonoma

by Kyle Meranda

Apple’s latest update, macOS Sonoma, might not be stealing the spotlight like iOS 17, but it brings some significant changes to the Mac experience. From improved web browsing to enhanced video conferencing, Sonoma offers exciting new features for Mac users.

First and foremost, macOS Sonoma was released on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT). Compatible Mac users can find the update in System Settings or System Preferences under Software Update.

One of the standout features of Sonoma is the ability to convert websites into standalone apps. With Safari, users can now turn any website into an app that appears in the dock with its own icon. This feature simplifies the overall browsing experience and supports native notifications.

Additionally, widgets, a longtime feature in macOS, have been given a makeover. In previous versions, widgets were hidden away in Notification Center, making them less convenient to access. With Sonoma, widgets can now be placed anywhere on the desktop and are interactive. Users can interact with widgets without opening their respective apps, whether it’s playing music or checking off a to-do item.

Sonoma also brings the visually stunning screensavers from Apple TV to Mac. Alongside a redesigned Lock Screen resembling the iPad, Sonoma offers a vast collection of screensaver/wallpaper hybrids showcasing beautiful landscapes and cityscapes. These moving wallpapers transform into still desktop backgrounds once the Mac is unlocked.

Apple is making strides to boost gaming on Mac with Sonoma. The new Game Mode reduces latency between Bluetooth game controllers and AirPods audio and provides games with additional CPU and GPU resources for improved performance. With more games coming to the Mac and the power of Apple silicon, this could be the year of gaming on the Mac.

Video calls receive quality-of-life improvements in Sonoma. A new Presenter Overlay feature seamlessly integrates live video with presentations, allowing users to appear as a small circle anywhere on the screen or take up the entire screen next to a digital presentation. Animated video reactions based on user actions, such as giving a thumbs-up or sending hearts, add a fun element to video conferencing.

Safari also receives notable updates in Sonoma. Profiles, similar to those in other browsers like Chrome, allow users to switch between different profiles with their own tab groups, account logins, and synced private tabs. Private browsing mode now disables all website and user tracking, ensuring privacy, and locks tabs when the window is inactive.

Finally, many new features from iOS 17 make their way to the Mac in Sonoma. This includes the new Messages features, sticker support, automatic PDF form filling, enhanced PDF support in the Notes app, and more.

Overall, macOS Sonoma may not command the same attention as iOS 17, but it brings meaningful changes to the Mac experience. From turning websites into apps to improving video calls and gaming capabilities, Sonoma enhances productivity and enjoyment for Mac users.

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