Tech Guide

Apple just released a major software upgrade for your Mac — here's how to get it

Key Points
  • Apple's macOS High Sierra will also make it faster to find your files and emails.
  • Apple will help you automatically organize and edit your photos and will mute autoplay videos on Apple's Safari browser.
  • It's free to upgrade.
Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President Software Engineering speaks during the company's annual world wide developer conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, U.S. June 5, 2017.
Stephen Lam | Reuters

Apple rolled out its latest operating system for Macs on Monday, which the company said will improve video streaming quality and improve stability.

Apple's macOS High Sierra will also make it faster to find your files and emails, help you automatically organize and edit your photos, and mute autoplay videos on Apple's Safari browser, among other improvements.

Apple first unveiled the new system in June, and has spent the past few months perfecting features such as an improvement to Siri's voice and music recommendations within Siri. The improvements come ahead of new Apple products coming this winter, including the HomePod speaker and the iMac Pro.

The operating system highlights what Apple's known for — using software to augment the power of its hardware (in this case, graphics processors). Because of the focus on graphics — via a feature called Metal 2 — the new operating system will also allow developers to better take advantage of new technologies such as machine learning and virtual reality.

Upgrading is free. Here's how to get it, according to Apple:

1. Make sure you're eligible: Most Macs introduced in 2010 and beyond, as well as some Macs introduced in 2009, can run High Sierra, although different features have different requirements (especially if it requires linking up with an iPhone or Apple Watch). If you're not sure what kind of Mac you have, you can click the Apple icon at the top left of the screen, choose "About This Mac," then choose "More Info."

2. Back up your computer: Under the "About This Mac" function, click the "Storage" tab — that's how much space you'll need to do a backup, at the very least. You can back up your files onto the cloud, onto disks or onto an external drive using Apple's "Time Machine" feature.

3. Remember your Apple ID and password: You likely use it to authorize app purchases and do other tasks already, but it can be a lengthy process to reset your Apple ID, so be sure to get started as soon as possible if you're not sure you remember. (Checking your last iTunes purchase is a fast way to figure it out.)

Apple's mobile operating systems also rolled out last week, bringing some similar features to iPhones and iPads. Here are some instructions on how to get iOS 11, while you're at it.

WATCH: Apple announces new OS at WWDC

Apple announces new MacOS at Worldwide Developers Conference