El Capitan

Fromester’s guide to the latest operating system from Apple

MacOS X (10.11.x) El Capitan is the next release version of Apple’s operating system for desktop and laptop computers.

Release Date: 30th September 2015

El Capitan Review Apple NotesEl Capitan Review Split ViewEl Capitan Review Apple New cursorEl Capitan Review Apple MetalEl Capitan Review new spinning beachball

Another polish and a bit of work under the bonnet, this update is cosmetic with a speed boost for most Yosemite users and also includes some ‘snappier’ ways of working which you won’t know you need until you see someone else using them.
Here’s a quick summary of just some of the new features of El Capitan:

  • Split screen has been brought to new life with Apple’s Split View which easily divides your full screen between two apps and great though it is, I suspect most people will continue to struggle moving windows around with the mouse.
  • Notes is updated with the ability to include more than just text in your notes — you can now include Maps, pictures, videos and URLs.
    CAUTION: iOS9 wants to convert your existing Notes to the new format which will prevent synchronisation with your other devices until they have been upgraded to iOS9 and El Capitan.
    You can still upgrade to iOS9 and choose to upgrade Notes later on when you have upgraded your Mac to El Capitan.
  • Metal is a new graphics core technology which speeds up graphic performance. Gamers will be pleased and Photos should be quicker to load, in fact this should produce an overall performance boost when launching or switching between apps.
  • Photos gets an update with some tweaks to help you organise your photo library. Most of the existing user complaints about the Photos app are addressed with Extensions from third parties providing Photos with more and better editing tools.
  • Safari comes with some minor new features — such as, making it easy to find the window or tab that is playing audio so you can mute it, Airplay web video without mirroring your whole desktop, pinning your favourite web sites such as Facebook and Twitter to keep them up to date in the background (this will no doubt be another cause of the “why is my mac so slow” question).
  • Maps now includes Public Transport information, but only if you are in London.
  • Beachball — If the beachball image has been a regular visitor to your Mac then you’ll notice the newly designed beachball for El Capitan, something new to look at when you Mac goes slow.
  • Other improvements include updates to full-screen Mail, a gimmicky large cursor for when you lose track of where it is, an updated Disk Utility, some useful Spotlight enhancements and a new system font called San Francisco which is the same one used on the Apple Watch.

System Requirements — If your Mac runs Yosemite it will work with El Capitan

Overall, its another upgrade that will eventually need to be on your Mac in order to stay up to date. Apple seem to think we all live in a 4G world with a giant broadband connection where documents, music, video and photos can quickly be uploaded and downloaded at home, office and mobile. For UK users in rural areas you’ll need to avoid network bottlenecks by turning off some of the default settings.

Do you need to upgrade? If you want to use some of the new features and if you have an iPhone or iPad with iOS 9 then go ahead and update now.

If you’d like some help with upgrading to El Capitan on your Mac(s) and tailoring iCloud to suit your setup then please get in touch.