It’s that time of year again, when an Apple user’s thoughts drift to upgrading their operating system. macOS 10.14 Mojave, iOS 12, watchOS 5, and tvOS 12 are now all available for free download. The only thing you need to do is decide when to install each.
(Note that we say when and not if. There’s no harm in delaying major operating system upgrades until Apple has had a chance to squash early bugs. But waiting too long puts you at risk from security vulnerabilities and prevents you from taking advantage of new features.)
Upgrading your Mac to macOS Mojave
The hardest upgrade decision comes with macOS 10.14 Mojave. While the last version of macOS—High Sierra—was a refinement upgrade, Mojave introduces lots of new features. Some people’s eyes will appreciate Dark mode, and the Dynamic Desktop changes subtly throughout the day. More practically, Stacks help organize files on cluttered Desktops. The Finder’s new Gallery view also makes browsing images easier. Quick Actions in the Finder’s Preview pane and in Quick Look let you work on files without even opening them. Apple have significantly enhanced macOS’s screenshot and screen recording capabilities as well. Apps like Home, News, Stocks, and Voice Memos have been introduced after making the jump from iOS.
However, these features are bound to come with quirks and bugs, and Mojave’s new privacy and security controls may cause problems for older software. We recommend waiting until at least version 10.14.1 or even 10.14.2 before upgrading your OS. There’s nothing worse than upgrading to Mojave and then realising the app you use daily isn’t compatible yet! If in doubt, our engineers or Google can provide an answer.
Older iPhone running slow? Upgrade today!
iOS 12 is a different story, particularly if you have an older iPhone or iPad. That’s because Apple has focused on improving performance for such devices, all the way back to the iPhone 5s. If your device is bogging down, iOS 12 may give it a new lease on life.
A new feature called Screen Time is interesting too. It helps you track your usage and set limits if you’re unhappy about how much you’re glued to your screen. It even works for your entire family, so it could make dinner less device-intensive!
A beefed-up Do Not Disturb lets you keep your iPhone from nagging you so much. New features also let you tamp down excessive notifications more easily. Finally, if you do the same things repeatedly, Siri Shortcuts can help you create your own Siri voice commands.
Our take is that iOS 12 is a good upgrade. Don’t pull the trigger instantly, since Apple may discover important bugs in the first week or two, but after that, upgrade when you have time to play with the new features.
watchOS 5, well worth the upgrade
First things first, watchOS 5 is linked to iOS 12, so you can’t upgrade your Apple Watch until your iPhone is running the latest. But, as soon as it is, set your Apple Watch to upgrade that night.
Most of the changes revolve around the Workouts app. Automatic detection of running workouts, a new Yoga workout, activity competitions, and more! Other new features include a Walkie-Talkie app, the arrival of Apple’s Podcasts app, a smarter Siri watch face, and improved notifications. Simply put, there’s no downside to watchOS 5.
Last, but by no means least, tvOS
tvOS 12 is the easiest to agree to install. In truth it’s a minor upgrade, with just a few new features. The most noticeable is a new aerial screensaver of Earth from low orbit, made by the crew of the International Space Station! You can also tap the touchpad of the Siri Remote while an aerial screensaver is playing to see where it was taken. When you start trying to type a password on the Apple TV, a notification on your iPhone will prompt you to autofill that password. And finally, the Apple TV 4K gains support for Dolby Atmos soundscapes. Once again there aren’t really any downsides. So install tvOS 12 when it comes out, or let your Apple TV do it automatically.
As much as change can be hard, we’re excited about Apple’s new operating systems. Like you, we probably won’t end up using all the new features, there are just so many! But many will enhance the experience of being an Apple user, and help make your experience just that bit better.