Apple released the latest OSX (v 10.11) update, named “El Capitan” after a popular landmark in Yosemite National Park, yesterday and today I installed it on my iMac. Apple recently begun providing its OSX updates for free in order to ensure their customers have the latest operating systems for their computers. While not a major upgrade, El Capitan adds features that unify both Mac and iPhone/iPad experiences.
If you are a Windows or Linux user, this article may be of little use to you. But, if you own a MacBook or iMac then you should probably upgrade to El Capitan. Why upgrade? Upgrading your operating system is a good idea because there are usually improvements in performance and security. The more important reason is to ensure compatibility with future software updates and features. Staying up-to-date with the latest software ensures that you get the best computing experience (most of the time).
Upgrading to El Capitan was very simple and took about 30 minutes (it may be faster or slower depending on your computer and Internet speed). I would recommend that you backup all of your files and close all applications prior to performing the update. I started by opening up the App Store and clicked on the Install button. The installation began to download the update which took about 20 minutes. Then the computer rebooted and performed the installation. The installation did not prompt me for any information so I could have performed the upgrade at night before I went to bed. After the installation was completed it asked me to log into my iCloud account and I was good to go!
El Capitan looks and behaves just like Yosemite and all my applications appear to work with no problems. I will have to see how things work out over the next week. Some of the nice features I am appreciating are the Split View, Mail enhancements and Spotlight.
Split View is a new feature that allows you to have two full screen applications side by side. Using an application in fullscreen mode allows me to focus on a single task like writing this blog. Overlapping windows can be distracting especially when you need to be focused on a single task. But sometimes a single task may require more than one application. The Split View allows me to write my blog and still have access to my web browser.
The updated Apple applications continues to provide better integration with other Apple applications. addresses. The updated Mail application allows you to hover over an address and open a popup that shows the location in Maps and the Contacts. Also, dates can automatically create in the Calendar. Flight numbers are also recognized and will popup flight tracking information within the message.
Most people do not use Spotlight but they should now. Spotlight is similar to Siri because it will not only search for files on your computer, it will search the web and Apple applications. If you are searching for anything, press Command-Space to bring up Spotlight.
Some other features that may be useful include a new Notes application that is very similar to Evernote. now you can paste web clippings, images, videos and even sketches inside of your note. Copying files that are interrupted will remember where they were and resume instead of starting all over again.
I ran into a couple of issues after installing the update. The first was trying to get Split View to work.
In order to activate Split View, you need to make sure that you have “Displays have separate Spaces” checked in System Preferences | Mission Control. The next was that my wireless Logitech trackball was not working. I am not sure if this is an issue with Bluetooth devices but my Logitech uses a USB transceiver. I just needed to restart my iMac and the trackball was detected and worked fine.
My overall impression of El Capitan is nice. Nothing broke and the new features that will make me more productive. El Capitan is not a major upgrade and I honestly do not think that a major upgrade is necessary for the next several years. These incremental upgrades are enough to keep me up to date and provide a better computing experience with all of my devices, without disrupting my workflow.