macOS High Sierra is available now as a free download

The latest version of macOS just went live on the Mac App Store as a free download. Apple’s other operating system has taken a bit of a backseat to its mobile counterpart in recent years, and High Sierra’s no exception. That’s due in part to the bonanza features in iOS 11 and the fact that macOS 10.13 is a pretty unsexy update, mostly focused on infrastructural changes.

It’s an important one, though. The big change here is the first meaningful update to Apple’s file system in around 30 years. Crazy to think, but all of the OS X updates used the same system the company has relied on since the early days of the Mac. That update will be mostly invisible to users in the short term, but it will help futureproof the operating system for years to come.

High Sierra also brings new video encoding for 4K and marks the arrival of Metal 2, which will offer graphical enhancements in the future. As for immediate benefits to the end user, both Safari and Photos are getting some new feature updates, including better ad blocking and more advanced editing options, respectively. You can check out all of the above and more in a handy feature I just published.

It will be interesting to see how download numbers compare to previous versions. It doesn’t really have any big, forward facing marquee features compelling users to upgrade immediately. Though, as Apple points out, Snow Leopard was the last version of the operating system to be mostly focused on backend updates, and that sold pretty briskly. Also, unlike that 2009 update, High Sierra is a free a download, and I’m told people like free things.