Smart New Functions & Features of Apple’s New OS X Yosemite

Diehard Apple users are raving about the smart new functions and features of Apple’s newly released OS X Yosemite. Optimized for use with Apple’s already popular iOS devices, OS X Yosemite is an operating system that not only makes life easier, but also changes the way we think about doing comprehensive work on multiple devices. 

Released to consumers in October 2014, OS X Yosemite is Apple’s eleventh major operating system for laptop and desktop computers. Due to the incredible popularity of smaller iOS devices (including iPhones and iPads), Yosemite’s most prevalent new functions are specifically designed to appeal to users of multiple Apple devices. Any user with multiple iOS devices will love the integrated design and will fully appreciate Yosemite’s smart new features.

Altered Design

Users with iOS devices will immediately notice iOS design elements are adopted by their Mac when upgrading Yosemite. All of the dock icons have been upgraded and no longer feature 3D shading, which were prevalent in previous icon designs. Another noticeable change will be the translucent elements of certain interfaces. A translucent sidebar also gives you an uninterrupted user experience by allowing you a glimpse of what is going on behind the active window.

While some design changes are big, others lie in the details. Tighter, more streamlined toolbar designs may not seem like an obvious change, but seek to create a sleeker overall design. Control buttons including checkboxes and pop-up menus provide for a cleaner, more streamlined look as well. Even the system font has been updated, altered to a more legible typeface for a more consistent Mac experience. Overall, Yosemite offers a more modern, crisp look that reflects the aesthetic of current iOS devices.

User Functionality

Anyone with an iPhone will also recognize the Notification Center feature, which allows for a fast, at-a-glance look into the day’s upcoming events. This translucent sidebar is available by simply swiping on your track pad and provides you with an invaluable user experience. By synching with your calendar and other apps, it provides a concise summary of important information, including reminders, birthdays, stock prices and weather forecasts. Adding widgets allows for a customized Notification Center experience.

Mac users are no doubt already familiar with Apple’s popular and easy-to-use Spotlight feature, which searches a device for files, photos, and emails. Yosemite, however, features a more intuitive Spotlight experience than ever before.  With a tighter menu design and auto-complete suggestions, the improved Spotlight Search now also pulls information from maps, Wikipedia, online movie listings, iTunes, and more. This means no matter what you are searching for, you will find it easily in a visually stunning preview.


Continuity is an incredibly important Yosemite feature that allows for seamless integration between computers and iOS devices. This function creates a brand new, fully integrated Apple user experience. Unlike Yosemite’s design features (which are purely surface-level), the Continuity functions truly re-defines what it means to use multiple devices on an everyday basis.

The most exciting example of this is Yosemite’s Hand Off feature, which lets your Mac and iOS devices communicate with one another so that you can always pick up where you left off. Whenever devices are turned on and within close proximity of each other, they automatically communicate and share information. This means, for example, if you begin writing an email on your iPhone, you can open your Mac and find it waiting there for you to complete. This integration isn’t just limited to apps (which include Mail, Maps, and Messenger, among others), but is also on Safari by opening up an app’s corresponding website. This convenient system integration allows you to fully expand your Apple experience, making your separate devices work together as one.

Perhaps most useful example of this is the ability to make phone calls and send text messages from your Mac (provided, of course, that you have an iPhone that running iOS 8 or higher). After a quick initial setup, you will be notified of incoming calls on both your Mac and iPhone, allowing for you to choose which device to answer the call. Text messages work the same way. A “Messages” app allows you to compose or reply to SMS/MMS messages through your Mac simply by clicking any phone number that appears in your contacts.  Keep in mind, however, that the Continuity feature only works with newer devices that generally date from 2012 or later.

File Sharing Systems

Air Drop, the peer-to-peer file-sharing device that Apple introduced years ago, is also enhanced to share files with iOS devices. This allows you to not only share files with yourself (any device registered with your Apple ID), but also send files to the iPad or iPhone of any other user that accepts the download.  This highly intuitive file sharing system automatically updates when an Internet connection is present, meaning you never have to worry about an out-of-date file being present on any of your devices.

Air Drop works in conjunction with the new iCloud Drive, a feature Apple has introduced on Yosemite as a response to the already popular Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive. The iCloud Drive allows you to retrieve the latest versions of stored files on devices including your Mac, iPhone, iPad, and even a Windows PC. Yosemite provides 5GB of free online storage, which is low compared to its competitors, however upgrades are available for a reasonable fee.

Family Sharing is another file-sharing function that is perfect for multiple users of the same Apple ID. After setting up your account and registering your credentials, up to 6 members of your family will be able to purchase and share content through your Apple ID. This function allows not only for family members to share music, books, and other content purchased through the iTunes store, but also allows families to easily sync their calendars, send each other reminders, and help other family members find lost devices. Family Sharing proves to be a function that is less about sharing content and more about allowing members to communicate through their various devices.


Yosemite is free for Mac users to download. It essentially encourages the use of multiple Apple products to work flawlessly in conjunction with one another. Having a more standard, across the board operating system allows Apple users to find an enhanced experience on all of their devices. Yosemite is essentially the last step in creating a unified, flat operating system that aligns Macs and iOS devices. Yosemite’s smart, exciting new functions and features will quickly come favorites for any loyal Mac user.

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