OS X El Capitan

The Good Apple's El Capitan is a free update that streamlines the Mac experience and spruces up existing tools without changing the fundamental OS X experience.

The Bad The updates to some of Apple's native apps -- Safari, Mail and Maps -- still don't improve them beyond the level of third-party alternatives.

The Bottom Line If you own a Mac, you'll want El Capitan. This update simplifies the Mac experience, improving the tools you already use while promising improved performance to come.

Compare

Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan
OS X El Capitan
Microsoft Windows 10 Home
Microsoft Windows 10
Google Android Nougat
Google Android Nougat
Apple iOS 9
Apple iOS 9
Apple Mac OS 10.4.6 Tiger
Apple Mac OS 10.4.6 Tiger
Price

Review

A swifter, more streamlined take on OS X

Late 2016 update

Since releasing Mac OS X El Capitan in September 2015, Apple has delivered a newer version of its desktop operating system and changed the way it refers to its software. Now known as MacOS, the newest Sierra variant comes equipped with features inspired by iOS or designed to help Macs work better with iOS products, adding further incentive to keep your hardware inside Apple's walled garden, which includes the iPhone, Apple Watch and Mac computers. (Read the full MacOS Sierra review here.)

In November 2016, the company refreshed its lineup of 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros. Considerably slimmer, faster, and pricier than their predecessors, the new models feature some innovative flourishes -- most notably, Apple's dynamic Touch Bar. There's also a less expensive 13-inch model without the Touch Bar.

The common theme among the MacOS Sierra release and the new MacBook models is a greater emphasis on usability and productivity, rather than performance per se. Exhibit A: the Touch Bar, a mini display that runs along the top of the keyboard that provides different icons and options for different apps. Sliders, hot keys and function buttons emerge on the fly as needed.

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