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    macOS Sierra: Should You Upgrade?

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    Amit Srivatsa
    Amit Srivatsa Sep 27, 2016

    macOS Sierra — the latest instalment of the OS powering your Mac was released last night for public download. As can be expected, there are a host of new features – some amazing, some pretty meh. The big question, of course, is should you upgrade?

    Here’s a quick run down of the new operating system. Read it and decide for yourself if it’s worth the effort of upgrading to macOS Sierra.

    An incremental upgrade

    macOS Sierra is one of the most incremental (or least substantial) upgrades in the last four or five years. Versions like Snow Leopard or Mavericks were huge updates, fundamentally changing how the OS looked and felt. Sierra, on the other hand, is a compilation of minor changes, the biggest one of which is the name being changed from OSX to macOS.

    A dependent upgrade

    A host of new features (like the integrated Apple Pay, the new iMessage sync, and the Apple Watch auto-unlock) are all dependent on you having the latest iPhone and/or Apple Watch. Apple wants to create a complete, uninterrupted ecosystem where switching from device to device is seamless. However, in the process, Sierra becomes dependent on other devices. So if you don’t have the iPhone 7 or the Apple Watch Series 2, you’re losing out big time.

    An iOS-ish upgrade

    Speaking of seamless device services, the universal clipboard is probably the most useful and most functional feature in Sierra. You copy a text/image/link on your iPhone and it’s magically available on your Mac or iPad to be pasted anywhere you want. And it works the other way round too.

    Although I don’t plan on upgrading to macOS Sierra, I am going to miss this feature. It takes the overlap between macOS and iOS even further and deeper.

    A sluggish upgrade

    If your system was shipped with Mavericks or later, then you should definitely upgrade. It won’t change the user experience by much, nor will it hinder any of your old habits. At best, you will get some cool, new features, like Siri.

    However, if you have an older machine, one from before mid-2013, you should think long and hard before upgrading. The Macs that shipped with Snow Leopard/Lion/Mountain Lion are most likely to be bogged down by the new software.

    TL;DR?

    macOS Sierra is a minor upgrade. There’s nothing substantial to be gained from it, especially if you’re not planning on buying the iPhone 7 or Apple Watch Series 2. Of course, there’s nothing to lose either by upgrading to Sierra. So if you have a newer Mac (2014 or later), go ahead and upgrade, but don’t expect to be wowed much by it. However, if your machine comes from the 2011 era and it came loaded with Snow Leopard or Lion, then you might want to hold off and save yourself a bothersome and sluggish experience.

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