macOS Sierra is now available to download

After a summer of beta versions, Apple has just released the final version of macOS Sierra. macOS Sierra is the major update of OS X El Capitan — yes, OS X is dead, long live macOS. Other than the name change, this year’s update brings many neat improvements over El Capitan, making it a polished update from day one.

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.

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 want to lose your data.

After downloading Sierra from the App Store, the installer should open automatically. If it doesn’t open automatically, go to the Applications folder in the Finder and open the “Install macOS Sierra” app.

One of the most promising changes is that Siri is coming to the Mac for the first time. The assistant can replace many of Spotlight’s features – like helping you find a file, perhaps, or search through photos. It can also help you interact with your Mac, like turning on or off your Wi-Fi, start FaceTime calls, set reminders, or adjust your volume.

Like on iOS 10, the Photos app has also been overhauled with new features that take advantage of computer vision to recognize the people, places and things in an album, then organize them into intelligent collections. It also curates your past photos into collections via a new tab called “Memories.”

Messages on macOS Sierra is getting tweaked as well, with rich previews for web content as on iOS. You also get the ability to watch video clips in the app, and other features like iOS 10’s bigger emoji, ‘tapback’ options that let you respond to messages with emojis (e.g. Heart, Thumbs Up, Ha ha, and more). Unfortunately, you won’t be able to access the iOS 10 Messages app. But you’ll be able to view stickers.

Safari’s big improvement in macOS Sierra is picture-in-picture for watching videos – something that’s already available on select iPads. Meanwhile, other applications like TextEdit, Pages, Mail, and Maps are getting Safari-like Tabs.