Mac Productivity

10 macOS High Sierra Productivity Features You Should Know About

Khamosh Pathak 22-11-2017

From the outside, macOS High Sierra does not look like a groundbreaking update. Even judging by the name, it seems like a small upgrade over macOS Sierra.


But when you dig deeper, you find that this update is filled with new technologies and little features that put an end to longtime annoyances. Some of these new features will help you be more productive.

Here are the 10 new macOS High Sierra features you should know about.

1. Auto Reader in Safari

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Safari’s Reader mode Use Safari’s Reading List for Offline Reading on Your Mac & iPhone Want to share articles between your iPhone and Mac? Use Safari's Reading List. Read More gets a big update in High Sierra. You can now tell Safari to always open a webpage from a certain domain automatically in Reader mode. News sites are filled with distracting visuals around the content.

This little feature will considerably improve your reading experience because it’s just so fast in real life. Even before the page is fully loaded, the Reader mode kicks in and reformats the page for you. You can also enable this for all websites (when you do that, there is an option to individually delist websites at a later point in time).


To get started, right-click on the Reader icon and select Use Reader automatically on “”.

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To turn it all for all websites, go to Preferences > Websites > Reader and from the dropdown next to When visiting other websites, select On.

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2. Customize Settings on a Per-Site Basis

Safari now remembers individual settings for websites you frequent. Right-click on the URL bar and select Settings for this Website. You’ll see a brand new dropdown.

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Here, you’ll find the option to automatically enable Reader mode, enabling content blockers, page zoom level, and auto-play videos.

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The last one is pretty cool. You can tell Safari to never play any autoplay video from the website you’re visiting. Other options include only playing videos on mute or autoplay all videos. When you’re visiting a news site, it’s best to turn off autoplay.

To turn off Autoplay videos for all websites, go to Preferences > Websites > Auto-Play and from the When visiting other websites section, select Never Auto-Play.

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3. Pin Notes in Notes

In the last couple of years, Notes app has become my default note taking app How to Use Apple Notes as a Research Tool Apple's free Notes app can be an indispensable research aid on both a computer and mobile device. Read More . It does everything I need to do, quite elegantly (including cloud syncing). In that time, I’ve created hundreds of notes and dozens of folders. And I’m not a believer in archiving notes.


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Which is why the Pin Notes feature in High Sierra has been such a huge help. You can right-click on any note and select Pin Note. Now it’s going to be in the top of the list (for the relevant folder). At any given time, there are two to three notes that I’m actively working with. Pin Notes feature makes it easy for me to keep track of them.

4. Make Tables in Notes

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This is another little useful feature in the new Notes app. Click on the Table icon from the top and a 2 x 2 table will appear in the note. Right-click on the little menu buttons to add or remove more rows. This feature can help you quickly arrange data in tabular form. Right now, the Tables feature doesn’t support any sort of calculation. For that, you’ll still need to use a spreadsheet app The 7 Best Free Microsoft Office Alternatives for Mac Looking for a free Microsoft Office alternative for Mac? Check out these great substitutes you can use at no cost. Read More .

5. Use the Omnipresent Sidebar in Photos

Photos in High Sierra gets a big upgrade. There are new pro-level editing tools, support for editing in different apps, new memories categories and the support for editing Live Photos.

But there’s one new feature that’s going to save you time when you’re organizing your Photos library. And that’s the new omnipresent Sidebar. Unlike the previous versions, this one just stays there (unless of course, you’re editing photos).

macOS High Sierra Photos App

At the top of the sidebar, you’ll find your Library shortcuts — things like Photos, Places, People and so on. Below is a list of all your shared albums and all the albums and sub-albums you’ve created.

The omnipresent sidebar comes in handy when you want to quickly want to move a section of photos into a particular album. Now, no matter which view you’re in, just select the photos, drag and drop them to any album in the sidebar.

6. Type to Siri

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Siri on the Mac is more useful than you think Simple Siri Tricks and Commands You Have to Try on Your Mac While it can’t do nearly as much as it can on iOS, Siri for Mac can still be a team player. Read More . But the prospect of talking to your Mac not intrigue you. In High Sierra, you can switch to a text-only mode for Siri.

Open Preferences > Accessibility > Siri and check the Enable Type to Siri option.

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Now when you bring up Siri, a good old-fashioned text box will be waiting for you. Just type in your query (it doesn’t have to be in complete sentences), press enter and Siri will do its thing. Depending on which country you’re in and your accent, Siri may have issues recognizing your voice. Now that you’re typing things out, Siri is going to be more reliable.

7. Do More With Spotlight

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Spotlight has gained a few new tricks Search More Efficiently In Mac OS X With Our Top Spotlight Tips Spotlight has been a killer Mac feature for years, with Cupertino regularly schooling Redmond in the art of desktop search. Here are a few tips to help you find more on your Mac. Read More in High Sierra. It’s starting to turn into something closer to a web search bar instead of just a local search tool. Now, you can type in a flight number and you’ll see details right there.

Spotlight also has a tight integration with Wikipedia The Best of Wikipedia: 5 Apps to Find Weird or Interesting Articles Wikipedia can be fascinating, weird, or bizarre. These five unique tools will help you interesting pages on Wikipedia. Read More . When it can’t find anything on your device, it falls back to the most relevant Wikipedia entry (which is usually pretty helpful).

8. Go Split Screen in Mail

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If you use the Mail app on your Mac How to Add and Remove Email Accounts on Mac Here's how to add and remove email accounts on your Mac, allowing you to remove a Google account on macOS. And more! Read More , there’s now a reason to go full-screen. When you click the compose button in the Mail app when in fullscreen mode, the compose window now slides in from the right and Mail enters its own split-screen mode.

This seems like a trivial thing but if you spend hours a day in Mail, having the ability to access every other feature in Mail while the compose window is open, can be a huge time saver.

9. Collaborate with iCloud Files

If you’re looking for a cloud collaboration alternative to Dropbox Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. OneDrive: Which Cloud Storage Is Best for You? Have you changed the way you think about cloud storage? The popular options of Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive have been joined by others. We help you answer which cloud storage service should you use. Read More , you might just find it in the new iCloud Drive. When you want to share a file with someone, just right-click on it in the iCloud Drive library and select Add People. You can either invite them using an email address or just copy a link.

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When they receive the invite, they can either download a copy of the file for their own use or choose to collaborate on it (the file then gets added to their iCloud Drive account as well). The feature is still pretty basic and it lacks the transparency and control that Dropbox gives you.

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But with this and the new feature that lets you share your iCloud space with your family members, iCloud Drive is starting to look better every day.

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10. Under-the-Hood Productivity Boosts

High Sierra is filled with changes you can’t really see up top, the biggest of which is the new file system APFS New macOS, New Filesystem: What Is APFS and How Does It Work? iOS already has APFS. Now it's the Mac's turn. But what exactly are we getting into this Fall? Read More . It’s customized from the ground up for the modern Mac, like your MacBook running on an SSD for example.

When you upgrade to High Sierra, you’ll see speed improvements right off the bat. High Sierra also has support for the HEVC video format so you can encode high-quality videos right on your Mac.

When Will You Update?

Are you the kind of person who updates to the new OS in the first weeks (and risks dealing with unforeseen bugs), or do you tend to wait for a couple of months before you update your work machine?

What does your upgrade cycle for High Sierra looks like? Share with us in the comments below.

Related topics: Apple Notes, Mac Tricks, macOS High Sierra, Productivity, Safari Browser.

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  1. N Odemus
    April 4, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    When will I be able to select a print option for the Make Use Of articles that I wish to keep (minus the ads and other crap)?

    Come on guys

  2. Rick crutchlow
    February 27, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    Upgrade was a disaster. I wa running Sierra on a 2011 mac mini. The upgrade went half way and then just died. I had to totally wipe and rebuild with Sierra and reinstallall all apps and files. it took more than a week to get back toowhere I started .... bookmarks, favoirites, prefs etc. Not a good experience.

  3. Jeff Szuhay
    November 26, 2017 at 12:50 am

    All the way back to OS 7 days, if I have a spare machine I may download the betas and even the 1st official OS release--but only if I have a spare, non-daily work machine.

    Otherwise, I have learned to wait a while, sometimes 3 or 4 upgrade cycles before putting the new OS on my daily/production machines.

  4. Xavair Cartel
    November 23, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    Don't upgrade save yourself the headache. I have a brand new TBP and I have only had problems galore. I have lost a lot of files. Don't upgrade yet!

  5. Shortymcbluehair
    November 23, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    All kinds of video issues and the spinning beach ball of death.

  6. Shortymcbluehair
    November 23, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Video issues like crazy, spinning beach ball of death.

  7. CB
    November 23, 2017 at 11:29 am

    My first week with high Sierra has been a disaster. It it's loaded with bugs like the image gamma bug that shows up in apps like Sketch and illustrator. It rendered outlook unusable until I downgraded to outlook 2011, it caused all kinds of issues with links from apps that normally open in Chrome. In my opinion this is one of the worse releases with little to no real benefit. I only upgraded because I was sick of getting the update nags.