Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference is just over a month away. It used to be WWDC was just a conference for developers, yet in recent years it’s become a media and fandom event. That’s because, though Apple doesn’t unveil any new iOS devices at the event, they always show off the first previews of their next major software releases.
This year’s WWDC is sure to showcase iOS 11, which is always the main OS Apple shows off at the event. Yet for many Mac diehards, the most exciting thing about WWDC is the chance of a glimpse at the next version of macOS, Apple’s desktop operating system. Surprisingly for being this close to the event there’s been a complete lack of leaks and rumors surrounding the next release of macOS.
Last year the operating system saw a big makeover, plus a name change (from OS X to macOS)–but that doesn’t mean there’s still not more to do. Here’s our wishlist of the top features we hope the next version of macOS (numbered OS X 10.13) will feature–and as always, please tell us your most wanted features in the comments.
MacOS 10.13 Wishlist: A More Advanced Siri On Mac
Last year Apple finally added Siri to macOS. And while it was a nice addition, it’s a feature not many people use. That’s because Siri is still underpowered compared to other AIs. As with our iOS 11 wishlist, we’re hoping Apple beefs up Siri on the Mac too. We’d like to see an offline mode in Siri so you can use it without an internet connection. Also, text-based Siri input would be nice so you can type queries into Siri. Finally, a more robust contextual Siri engine would be nice so Siri can follow along with you in a conversation and not just answer single queries.
MacOS 10.13 Wishlist: Apple News App
Apple’s News app on iOS is one of the best designed and most powerful mobile newsreaders. We’d love to see Apple take that design and port it to macOS as a standalone app, so we can not only browse the news, but also sync your saved stories to our desktops.
MacOS 10.13 Wishlist: Synced Notifications Between macOS And iOS
With Continuity and Handoff you can begin many tasks on your Mac and pick them up right away on your iOS device (or vice versa). But one thing you can’t do is sync notifications across devices. We’d love for this to be an ability in macOS 10.13 and iOS 11. This way, when you’ve already checked Mail messages on your iPhone the notification for that message would also be cleared on your Mac.
MacOS 10.13 Wishlist: A Completely Revamped iTunes
Apple has a software hit with the new Photos for Mac app, which is a complete revamp of the old iPhoto app. You can tell the company really but the time and effort into designing the app from the ground up. Here’s hoping Apple will do that to iTunes next. iTunes is ironic in that it’s one of the most frequently used apps, but it’s also one of the most loathed. That app is over 18 years old and hasn’t seen a complete rethink since it was invented. A new UI along with a massive speed boost would be a good start.
MacOS 10.13 Wishlist: Better Spell Check
This sounds like a stupid request, but macOS NEEDS a better spell check function. Don’t think so? Open up a document in Pages and run spellcheck. Now open the same document in Microsoft Word and run spellcheck. You’ll see just how superior Word’s spell check and grammar features are. There’s a lot of things I love about Apple’s Pages, but I stick to Word because Microsoft has the spell check functionality down pat.
MacOS 10.13 Wishlist: Updated Dashboard
Almost every aspect of macOS/OS X was redesigned in Yosemite–except for Dashboard. For some reason Apple left the UI of Dashboard, which has been around since OS X 10.4, untouched. The stock and weather widgets look the same as they always have. As a big Dashboard user I see this as a huge fail. Here’s hoping Apple updates the look of Dashboard widgets in macOS 10.13. I’m also hoping Apple doesn’t kill off Dashboard in macOS. Now that Notification Center supports widgets–and the fact that Apple didn’t update the look of Dashboard’s widgets in Yosemite–could be a sign that Dashboard isn’t long for this world.
MacOS 10.13 Wishlist: A Better Mac App Store
I try to buy all my apps through the Mac App Store because it’s easy to install them and get updates for them. But man, searching the Mac App Store sucks. Search is slow and the results often don’t show what you’re looking for. Tabbed browsing would be a big plus too, as would the ability to sort your list of past purchases by date originally purchased, name, date last downloaded, date last updated, and more. Another plus would be adding a screensaver section to the store and a widgets section to the store.
MacOS 10.13 Wishlist: Improved Spotlight
Spotlight in macOS is a great utility. But Apple could take it a step further by taking a cue from Flashlight, the open source Spotlight plugin engine that allows developers to write extensions for Spotlight. I won’t go into too much detail here, but if you download the free Flashlight you’ll see what I mean.
MacOS 10.13 Wishlist: Password Protect Folders
This is another small feature request, but an important one. I want the ability to password protect individual folders and documents. Some apps allow you to password protect documents, but that depends on the app’s developer. What I want is the system-wide ability to password protect any app or folder by right-clicking on it, choose “Protect with Password” and then setting a password. Many Macs are used by multiple people in the same house and while you can set up multiple user accounts, it’s often easier just using one account for the whole family. But the last thing anyone wants to their kid accidentally opening an important financial spreadsheet or folder full of private documents.
MacOS 10.13 Wishlist: System-wide Dark Mode
With OS X Yosemite, Apple finally added a limited “Dark Mode” to the operating system, which means you can now turn your menu bar “dark”. This allows users to replace the white menu bar and dock with a darker version. Professionals love this because if they are editing video, photos, and doing other graphics work, the dark elements of macOS allow them to focus more on their work. While the menu bar dark mode was nice, it would be great to see a system-wide dark mode for the Finder and all apps.
MacOS 10.13 Wishlist: Sync Photos People Albums Across Devices
The Photos app on macOS is pretty robust–but one frustration remains: if you set up People albums on Photos on a Mac (or other iOS device) they will not sync over iCloud Photo Library to all your devices. Other albums do, why not People?