Apple has just released OS X 10.11 El Capitan. The update is now rolling out to eligible Mac devices. It’s available in the Mac App Store as a free download. If you don’t see the update right away, don’t panic as it could take a few minutes due to App Store propagation. Apple might as well use a queue system to ensure speedy downloads.
But first, backup your Mac. Make sure your Time Machine is up to date, clone your hard drive to an external hard drive, save your data to your favorite online file storage service. Try to have at least two different backups, you don’t know what could go wrong.
Once this is done, download the 6GB El Capitan installer in the App Store and follow the instructions. You don’t need a USB drive or a DVD. In my experience, the update process from Yosemite wasn’t very long.
OS X El Capitan is a solid update. With many under-the-hood improvements, it turns your Mac into a fast, reliable machine. Now that Apple ships an OS X update every year, seeing that the company can still focus on performance improvements is great.
This update also packs a lot of small and big features, such as split view for full screen apps, an improved Mission Control, a more powerful Spotlight, Mail improvements, rich-text notes, new editing extensions for Photos, pinned tabs in Safari, public transit in Maps and more.
And one of the most glaring changes is the switch to San Francisco. Instead of Helvetica Neue, Apple is now using its own font across the board. At first it looks a bit weird, then you get used to it and you don’t want to move back. San Francisco is more readable, more elegant and less generic. There is no downside.
All of these new features come without any performance compromise, which makes this upgrade a no-brainer. So maybe you should launch the update and then read our review during the download.