MacOS Mojave update announced with dark mode, redesigned App Store, Apple News, and more

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The next version of macOS will be called Mojave and will come with a bunch of new features including a dark mode, more organizational options, and desktop versions of several iOS apps. Apple CEO Tim Cook said Mojave’s new features are “inspired by pro users, but designed for everyone.”

The new version was announced today at WWDC, Apple’s annual developer conference. A public beta will likely start this summer, with a final release coming in the fall.

Here’s what’s new:

Dark mode

At long last, Apple is adding a dark mode to macOS. It turns the dock, task bar, and the chrome around your apps into a dark gray. Does this add any real functionality? No. Does it look great? Yes. And that’s all dark modes have ever been about.

Mac App Store redesign

The Mac App Store is getting a long overdue redesign. The new store takes a lot of cues from the iOS store, which was redesigned last year. It now has more big billboards calling out new apps and collections, as well as some of the editorial content that Apple has been putting together about different apps.

Will this reinvigorate the slowly dying store? It’ll likely take more than the redesign alone. But Apple has two big partners coming on board with an app each: Microsoft will launch Office 365 and Adobe will launch Lightroom CC through the store.

Apple News, Voice Memos, Home, and Stocks

As it’s done frequently over the past several years, Apple is bringing more of its iOS apps to the Mac. The apps don’t appear to be doing much they can’t on the iPhone, but being able to sync your files across devices is always a big help.

Desktop stacks

Apple is adding a new way to clean up our messy desktops: a feature called “stacks.” These are basically just folders dedicated to specific file types, but they automatically collect files that ought to go in them. So you’ll have stacks dedicated to PDFs, images, movies, and so on. Clicking on them will pop the files open onto the desktop so you can browse through them.

Security controls

Apple is adding even more pop-ups to let you control what apps have access to your information and hardware. These are all pretty familiar to iOS users, but they’re not as common on the desktop. So now you’ll get asked if an app should have access to your location, photos, contacts, microphone, and so on all across the OS, which is a big deal.

Safari privacy

Last year, Apple started blocking websites from tracking you in Safari. This year, it’s adding the ability to block social networks like Facebook from tracking you across the web using “like” buttons. It’s also trying to disguise your Mac in other ways so that companies have a harder time tracking you.

Finder updates

There’s now a new view in finder called “gallery view” that lets you scroll through small previews of your files, while having the selected file appear larger at the top. It looks like a smarter take on Cover Flow, which was always flashier than it was useful.

Apple is also adding ways to view metadata inside a finder window and quick actions you can perform on files, like rotating a photo or assembling multiple files into a PDF.

Markup + screenshots

You’ll be able to mark up documents and make small changes inside of Quick Look, which should make the feature an even quicker way to deal with your files. Taking a screenshot will also automatically present you with a button to mark them up.

Dynamic Desktop

These seem to be live wallpapers that change occasionally throughout the day. Apple only gave one example: a photo that changed from day to night as time went on. It’s not clear if you’ll be able to add your own backgrounds here or if you have to use Apple’s.

macOS has felt fairly stagnant in recent years, as Apple puts more and more of its efforts into the much more widely used iOS. In fact, many of macOS’s biggest updates have been features that put the operating system in sync with the iPhone and iPad by porting over some of their apps. Last year’s update, High Sierra, included so few new features that there was hardly a reason to upgrade.

Developing. Check out our Apple WWDC live blog for the latest updates!

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