Is it a good time to download the new OS?

By Don Reisinger
September 26, 2017

Apple’s macOS High Sierra was made available on Monday, and already, there are some strong opinions about the company’s latest desktop operating system.

In just the past 24 hours, some people have celebrated High Sierra’s new, zippy file system and say that the operating system’s new Safari browser improvements make surfing the Web far less annoying. But there are also sporadic complaints about graphics performance in the software, and a newly discovered security flaw is making some people nervous.

In my experience, macOS High Sierra has held up well, and generally delivers a better experience than last year’s macOS Sierra. But it’s certainly not perfect.

Here’s a look at the good and bad in macOS High Sierra:

Good: Apple File System

Unarguably, the biggest change to come to High Sierra is the new Apple AAPL File System.

Essentially the foundation on which High Sierra is delivered, Apple File System makes accessing, combining, and exploring files and folders much, much faster. It also dramatically improves the operating system’s responsiveness and broader performance.

Anyone looking for better Mac performance will love what Apple File System does to High Sierra.

Bad: A New Security Woe

Unfortunately, macOS High Sierra apparently shipped with a security flaw that would allow hackers to access user passwords stored in the operating system’s Keychain credential vault. Those credentials are shown in plain text and not encrypted, so malicious hackers could access an unsuspecting victim’s account information.

To protect yourself, you should only download programs from trusted sources. But look for Apple to patch this hole in a future software update.

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Good: There’s No Learning Curve

There’s no real learning curve with macOS High Sierra. After the operating system is downloaded to a Mac, it feels like Sierra and other previous macOS versions.

That means users should feel right at home in High Sierra and not need to worry about hits to their productivity.

Bad: There’s No Learning Curve

There’s another side to the “no learning curve” angle.

By delivering what amounts to a nearly identical operating system, Apple has made few major changes to High Sierra’s consumer-facing side. Sure, the operating system has big under-the-hood changes, but all of Apple’s apps feel the same, and the company played it safe this year.

It’d be nice to see Apple take some real chances with its operating system design in the coming years.

Good: A Generally Outstanding User Experience

Overall, it’s hard to find fault in the general user experience. Apple’s macOS High Sierra has nice features, feels fast, and just works.

Although Microsoft has made great strides in improving its Windows 10 user experience, Apple still has an advantage in delivering something that customers can get real value out of.

Bad: Some Odd Problems

Although they’re not widespread, some users are reporting some oddities when using macOS High Sierra.

On Twitter, a few folks are complaining of a “jitter” problem, with the screen bouncing. Others say macOS High Sierra crashed and will now force them to reinstall the operating system and start from scratch.

Again, the problems don’t appear to be widespread, but they could crop up. So if you haven’t downloaded macOS High Sierra yet, consider backing up your Mac to ensure you don’t lose data.

Final Thoughts

So, what’s the final word on macOS High Sierra? Like every other operating system released in recent memory, your mileage may vary.

Chances are, you’ll find that High Sierra offers faster performance, but you might also run into some issues.

So, decide for yourself if the relatively minor risk is worth it. If not, sticking with macOS Sierra isn’t such a bad thing.

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