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Apple today released macOS High Sierra, a week after iOS 11. macOS version 10.13 is now available on the Mac App Store as a free download.

During its WorldWide Developers Conference in June, Apple announced High Sierra, which then became available through a beta version for developers. The update brings refinements to the operating system to improve video performance, enable VR apps, and add new features to native apps like Safari and Photos.

Notably, High Sierra uses the Metal 2 framework to improve visuals and add capabilities for VR and machine learning. The update also includes High Efficiency Video Coding, or HEVC, which the company says can compress video 40 percent better than H.264, the current standard.

Beyond those under-the-hood improvements, High Sierra brings the Apple File System the company released for iOS in March. That’s right — Macs have been using the same file system for some three decades.


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Also worth noting is that Safari now has features that block autoplaying videos and discourage the collection of cross-site tracking data. Photos, meanwhile, receives improved face detection, better organizing features, and Aperture-like editing tools; meanwhile, Siri gets what Apple describes “a more natural voice.”

In short, High Sierra is less major OS upgrade than a refinement of its predecessor, Sierra — as Mountain Lion was for Lion. It’s the latest incremental improvement in macOS, not so much packed with new features than enhancing a Mac’s ability to handle ever-evolving technologies.

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