8 Hidden Features of macOS Sierra

While a lot of people are talking about major new additions to macOS Sierra, there are some minor new features as well. Take a look at some tiny features that may make a huge difference to some users.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: 8 Hidden Features of macOS Sierra.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. On today's episode instead of focusing on some of the big new features in Mac OS Sierra let's take a look at some of the little things, the tiny additions, that may be useful to you.

So let's start off by looking at a very tiny change in the Finder that a lot of people are really going to like. Here I'm looking at a list of Documents and Folders inside a folder. What a lot of people want is to be able to separate the folders from the files but not go to the extreme of arranging everything by kind.

You now can go into Finder, Preferences and under Advanced you can select Keep folders on top when sorting by name. Now the folders are first and the files are after it.

Now while picture in picture video is very useful on iOS, on Mac we've always had windows so we could be looking at a video like this online, we could shrink the window down and do other work at the same time. But we have true picture in picture ability now.

When you're viewing a video in Safari, and it works in iTunes as well, you get this picture in picture button here. It only works if the video is just basic H264 video presented in the web browser. If you're looking at a special interface like YouTube presents you may not see this button. So it's not going to work everywhere.

But when you click it you get a little picture in picture window that you could move around to each corner. You can even drag the edges to make it a little smaller. You can take it back into the app that you're in. You can hit a play button. Then, of course, we can hide Safari here completely and the video still stays. So I can launch another app and do something else and I can put the video in any corner that I want and continue to watch it. Anytime I want to jump back to Safari I hit this button and it brings Safari up again and puts the video back.

So on Macs we're typing with real keyboards. But on an iPad or iPhone we're using virtual keyboards and we get a little cool thing where at the end of a sentence you can, instead of hitting period and then space you can do two spaces and then get a period. Well, you can have that now too on a Mac if you go into System Preferences, under Keyboard, Text, Turn on Add period with double-space. Now you get the period when you hit the spacebar twice.

Unfortunately, the Messages app doesn't get all the cool bells and whistles that you get in iOS. But there are a couple things that you get. The first is you get big emoji. What does that mean? Well if you type a regular text message and add emoji to it nothing changes. It's the same. But if you only include emoji and no regular text the emoji is sent as big.

Now one feature Macs do get from iOS is the ability to use TapBack which simply allows you to respond to a message like this with a quick action. So I'm going to click and hold and you get these icons here. You can just respond with one or more of them. So a simple thing like a thumbs up and it appears like this and it is how the person that sent it to you also sees it. So you can do that. You can also Control click and you get a tapback option there as well.

Now here's something that's going to make lots of people happy. Have you ever wanted to rearrange these icons here at the top but have been frustrated because some allow you to move them and some don't. Well now you can move almost all of them. So, of course, you can move the third party ones and you can do that using the Command key and then dragging. You can drag them in any order that you want. You can use the default ones like Time Machine, the WiFi there. You can even use the User there, even Spotlight and even Siri. You can't move Notifications though. That's always going to be in the upper right.

Like many I've always hated that the default text size in Notes is pretty small. While you can change it in a new Note you just have to change it all over again. But now you've actually got a preference here for the default text size. So you can set it to be bigger and when you create a new note it's automatically big.

There is one more I want to mention but it's kind of hard to demonstrate. It's the Shared Clipboard. So if you have multiple Macs or maybe an iPhone or an iPad and they're all logged in using the same Apple ID, if you Copy on one device, say a piece of text or even an image, and immediately Paste on another device you'll Paste from across the devices. Now it's a little imperfect when I tried it out because of course you have to wait a second or two for the copy to be realized on the other machine and also it expires after some time.

So if you copy something on your iPad and then later on in the day you sit down with your MacBook you're not suddenly going to be surprised with what's on your Clipboard. It only lasts about two minutes or so. But still it's going to be a useful feature for a lot of people especially when you want to transfer that critical little piece of text from one device to another.

Comments: 17 Responses to “8 Hidden Features of macOS Sierra”

    Jan E. Wille
    3 years ago

    Hi. – I installed Sierra yesterday, and the things you show in this video works on my iMac – except one : I can’t move icons in the top menu bar?.

    3 years ago

    Jan: Are you holding down the Command key while dragging them? Command, not Control.

    3 years ago

    Always useful info. No questions, just wanted you to know how much your efforts are appreciated. Thanks Gary!

    Adam Snyder
    3 years ago

    Excellent clip Gary. Very helpful.
    I appreciate a video like this to sum up some small features.
    I really like the feature of keeping folders on top, as I’m always using Windows PCs at work I like Finder to look similar as Explorer does.

    Henrik Joergensen
    3 years ago

    Hidden new features, You forgot to tell that you can now take back up automatisk off, so you can now make manual time machine backup.

    Henrik Denmark

    Roderick C. Wahr
    3 years ago

    Gary, just wanted to thank you. My 1st time here. You’re doing an excellent job explaining new things! Thanks a lot.

    3 years ago

    Thanks for the the very informative videos Gary. I really get a lot out of them. Keep up the good work.

    3 years ago

    Gary , excellent as usual. I really liked this function to keep the folders at the top. Just thought I would let you know that when I changed the setting on my MacBookPro running 10.12 nothing changed until I restarted the system. Not sure if that is a bug or the way it is suppose to work.

    3 years ago

    Henrik: That’s actually not new. You could always turn off Time Machine and the. Manually back up. All they did was change the wording so instead of turning off Time Machine you are now turning off the automatic setting of Time Machine. But it is the same. It was just confusing before.

    Ian Leckie
    3 years ago

    Hi Gary! Thanks as always for your tips! Regarding shared copy & paste I couldn´t get get it to work between my iPhone SE (iOS 10.0.2) and newly-installed Sierra on my 2013 iMac until, after much tinkering, I found out that you have to turn on “Handoff” in Settings > General on the Mac, and Bluetooth has to be turned on too on both devices. This might save others a lot frustration!!?? I do wish Apple could have told us this, but maybe I just missed it…:-)

    John Stires
    3 years ago

    ‘Copy between devices’ fails between iOS 10.1 on iPhone 6s+ & iPad and OS X 10.12 on my mid 2010 MBP, the latter being on the list of devices that ‘should work’ (Apple). It works between iOS devices (using Notes, e.g.,) but not between them and any program on the OS X MBP.

    Cheryl Applegate
    3 years ago

    Hi Gary, I wanted to install the period double click feature, but when I went to keyboard, text.. the option wasn’t there. Any ideas????

    3 years ago

    Cheryl: Are you using Sierra? (Just checking). Maybe it depends on the keyboard? Look under Input Sources. I’m using ABC – Extended.

    Linda DesGroseilliers
    3 years ago

    Gary, I tried to move the wi fi indicator in the top menu bar. I used command/click and drag. Heard a poof sound and the icon is gone. How do I get it back?


    Linda DesGroseilliers
    3 years ago

    Oops! Never mind – figured it out myself!!! Yea me!

    Roni Kobel
    3 years ago

    Thanks, Gary! Love your videos! But when watching your videos, I don’t see a picture-in-picture option! Boo! This this one of the exceptions you talked about?

    3 years ago

    Roni: Yes. Since I use YouTube for video and YouTube embedded content doesn’t have this option yet, there’s not much I can do.

Comments Closed.