7 hidden features in macOS Sierra you may have missed

There’s a lot more going on in Sierra than you think.

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There’s a lot going on in macOS Sierra

Siri, Universal Clipboard, Auto Unlock with Apple Watch—these are just three of the features that Apple showcases for macOS Sierra, the latest version of the company’s Macintosh operating system that made its debut last Tuesday. We go over the marquee features in our review, but there are a few features that go unheralded. We’ll shine a little bit of the spotlight on them in this slideshow. These are less glamourous, but they make your Mac a lot easier to use.

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Messages: Per-conversation read receipts

Instead of having Messages send a read receipt for every conversation, you can do it on a per conversation basis. During a chat session, click on the Details link at the top right of the window. You’ll see information on your chat partner, and below you will find a checkbox for “Send Read Receipts.” Check the box to activate.

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Apple Mail: Quick filter

In your Apple Mail inbox, you’ll see a new icon of a circle with an upside-down triangle of lines. Click on it and “Filtered by” will appear it will filter your email based on what the blue text says. Click on the blue text to adjust the filter.

Reader @dogolaca points out that the quick filter will not appear if you are using classic view. To turn off classic view, go to Mail > Preferences > Viewing and then uncheck the box for “Use classic layout.”

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Coordinated alerts

So you’re sitting at your Mac, with your iPhone in your pocket and your iPad docked to your Mac, and you get a text message. In the past, you’d get a cacophony of alerts, one from each device. Now, with Sierra and iOS 10, the alert appears only on the device you’re using.

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Notes: Collaboration

The Notes app in Sierra has a new feature where you can invite others to edit and write in a note. Next to the Share button on the upper right is a button you can click to “Add people to this note.” Invites are sent via Mail Messages, Facebook, Twitter, and other methods.

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Time Machine: SMB support

Time Machine now includes support for the Server Message Block (SMB) network protocol. That means better compatibility with third-party network-attached storage (NAS) devices.

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Autocapitalization and period shortcut

In System Preferences > Keyboard > Text, you have two new options: “Capitalize words automatically,” and “Add period with double-space.”

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New dictionaries

Apple has updated its dictionaries. You can activate the new dictionaries in preferences of the the Dictionary app. The new dictionaries are:

• Traditional Chinese definition dictionary
• Danish definition dictionary
• Italian-English bilingual dictionary
• Dutch-English bilingual dictionary

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Other new features in macOS Sierra include:

• Autocorrect is better at learning proper nouns and non-dictionary terms
• Push email and calendar events for Exchange
• Right-to-left support for Arabic and Hebrew
• Safari extensions in the Mac App Store (coming soon)
• Safari plug-ins enabled per website
• Spotlight search improvements
• Transit support in Maps for Nagoya, Osaka, and Tokyo