10 Useful New Features Hidden In The macOS Mojave Beta

Image: Apple

Earlier this week, Apple gave macOS 10.14 a name (Mojave), showed off some of its key features, and pushed out a developer preview to the world. We've been playing around with the brand new, rough-around-the-edges first beta of the new macOS, and these are some of the coolest and most useful features we've come across so far.


1) More permission controls

Image: Apple

Apps in macOS have to ask for permissions just like they might do on your iPhone or your iPad, but in Mojave this is being extended to the camera and the microphone parts of the system, too. You're likely to see a flurry of messages when you first install version 10.14.

As on previous versions of macOS, you can check and manage app permissions by opening System Preferences from the Apple menu, then Security & Privacy, and then Privacy. Untick any of the permissions listed to revoke an app's access to part of the system.


2) Ask Siri for your passwords

Screenshot: Gizmodo

As on iOS, Siri on macOS is getting the ability to find your passwords for you — the assistant app won't actually read out your Netflix password, within earshot of anyone who might be near you, but instead it will direct you towards the secure Keychain Access application.

So say "Siri, what's my Spotify password?", and a screen will pop up with your Spotify login credentials — if they're in Keychain Access/iCloud Keychain. Obviously, this means anyone with access to your computer can get at your passwords, but that's long been the case.


3) The DVD Player app gets an update

Maybe DVDs aren't dead after all, because the DVD Player app in macOS has emerged from several layers of virtual dust to get a 64-bit upgrade and Touch Bar support (as spotted by developer Brendan Shanks). The app also gets a new icon for the arrival of macOS Mojave.

Considering you can't actually buy an Apple computer with an integrated DVD drive these days, the update might have a limited amount of appeal, but if you do have an external drive hooked up and need to rewatch your DVD collection, then the option's still here.


4) View more metadata

Image: Apple

Apple is treating the Finder to some of the biggest upgrades in the Mojave update, including the new gallery view and quick actions that Apple showed off on stage during WWDC. One of the less obvious new tweaks to Finder involves the metadata shown by each file.

If you've got pictures taken by a digital camera or smartphone, you'll now see much more metadata alongside them, including aperture and exposure settings, as long as you're in the revamped gallery view. If this is too much information for you, click on Show Less.


5) Trim audio in Quick Look

Image: Apple

Onstage at WWDC, Apple showed off some of the cool stuff you can do in Quick Look in Finder, including trimming video down without having to open up a separate app. Well, this simple Quick Look trimming tool extends to audio files, too.

You need to have a file in the right format, one that Apple is happy with — think M4A not MP3 — but that caveat aside, you can hit Space with an audio file selected in Finder, then click on the Trim button to bring up an editable audio waveform in the same window.


6) Recently used apps on the Dock

Image: Apple

Perhaps to offer greater consistency with the Dock that's now available on the iPad, the Dock in macOS Mojave now separates recently used apps out to the right with their own slider. It's not a huge change, but it makes it a little easier to switch between open apps.

Accompanying that tweak is a new option in the Dock panel (inside System Preferences) called Show recents in Dock. If you don't like the new arrangement, untick this option to go back to the old Dock style.


7) Software updates get shifted

Image: Apple

In what is probably a sensible move, macOS software updates are getting moved back to a dedicated dialog inside System Preferences, after previously being available through the Mac App Store — perhaps a consequence of the big redesign that the App Store has got.

As far as the first beta goes at least, you can select System Preferences from the Apple menu, then click Software Update to see if your OS and other apps are up to date. There are also new options here for automatically keeping your software patched and updated.


8) Redesigned lock screen

The lock screen gets a slight visual tweak with macOS 10.14, with bigger icons and a bigger password entry field. At the moment, our Mac isn't showing the usual desktop wallpaper on the lock screen — just a blank white space — but that's beta software releases for you.

In theory, the lock screen should support the dynamic wallpapers that Apple has already mentioned, which change based on your location and current time of day. For now, only the official desert wallpaper supports this feature, but more will undoubtedly follow.


9) New colour accents

Image: Apple

One of the headline features of macOS Mojave is of course the new dark mode, which extends much further than it did in High Sierra. On top of that, users can also pick from a wider range of colour accents, chosen via the General tab in the System Preferences tab.

In the developer preview, we can see red, orange, yellow, green, purple, pink and brown, alongside the blue and grey options of High Sierra, or you can use a colour picker. As in previous versions of macOS, this controls elements like menu and button highlights.


10) Favicons in Safari

Image: Apple

Safari is finally, finally supporting favicons in macOS Mojave — those little coloured icons that act as thumbnails for websites in your browser's tab bar — and there's really no reason we can see why this wasn't switched on years ago, as it has been in every other browser.

It's still not enabled by default though, at least not in the developer preview we're using: You need to click Safari, Preferences, and then Tabs to find the option. Of course, Apple doesn't lower itself to using the actual "favicon" term, instead calling them "website icons."

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