Apple will officially release macOS Sonoma (version 14) to the general public on Tuesday, September 26th. The update was announced in June at WWDC 2023, and it brings some significant improvements to the Mac operating system, such as a new lock screen, desktop widgets, new effects for FaceTime calls, Game Mode, and more. For those planning to install the new macOS, read on as we detail how to prepare your Mac for the update.
What’s new in macOS Sonoma
First, here’s a quick overview of what’s new in macOS Sonoma. This year’s update isn’t huge, but it does bring some cool new features.
Perhaps most notable is the new lock screen, which is similar to what users see on the iPhone and iPad. But that’s not all: macOS Sonoma includes more than 100 new wallpapers that become lock screen wallpapers. Some of the new wallpapers are taken from the Apple TV Aerial screensavers.
Users will also be able to place widgets on the desktop instead of hiding them in the Action Center. Apple has also made it easier to hide all windows and show your desktop with just one click on the wallpaper. Like iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, macOS 14 includes interactive widgets.
FaceTime users can now react with their hands, showing real-time 3D effects during a video call. There are also new effects that let you show your image floating when sharing the screen with others.
In macOS Sonoma, gamers will find new gaming features such as Game Mode for improved productivity and a new API for bringing games from Windows to macOS. The Sonoma update also includes some iOS 17 features, such as new stickers in iMessage, improved web app support, and an improved auto-correct keyboard.
Before you upgrade your Mac to macOS Sonoma
There are a few steps you need to take before updating your Mac to macOS Sonoma. It’s important to check compatibility first because the new version of the operating system is not compatible with some older Macs.
These are the Macs that are compatible with macOS Sonoma:
iMac 2019 or later iMac Pro 2017 Mac Pro 2019 or later Mac Studio 2022 or later MacBook Air 2018 or later MacBook Pro 2018 or later Mac mini 2018 or later
You can check what kind of Mac you have by clicking the Apple menu and then About This Mac.
Update your apps
New versions of macOS usually introduce new APIs that provide new functionality for third-party applications. However, to take advantage of these features, the apps must be updated. At the same time, the new macOS may no longer support some applications.
That’s why it’s important to keep all the apps installed on your Mac up to date. This ensures that apps work perfectly with macOS Sonoma and take advantage of new features in the operating system.
You can update apps installed through the App Store manually by opening the App Store on your Mac and clicking the Updates menu. But of course, if you have third-party software installed by other means, it’s worth opening each app to check if a new version is available. By doing this before installing a new macOS, you can avoid compatibility issues with your apps.
Clean up some unnecessary data
If you’ve owned your Mac for a while, there’s a good chance it’s full of old or unnecessary files. And because macOS updates have large file sizes, you may need to clear your Mac’s internal storage before installing the update.
To help you with this process, open the System Preferences app, click the General menu, and then select the Storage Settings option. macOS will show you exactly what’s taking up your Mac’s internal space so you can delete some files or apps you no longer need.
Back up your Mac
This may seem obvious to some, but not everyone backs up their Mac. Sometimes the update process may not work as expected and you may need to restore your Mac. In such cases, it is extremely important to have a backup. For example, you can save your most important documents to iCloud, as well as photos, notes, and contacts.
You can also use Apple’s Time Machine to create a full backup of your Mac using an external drive. For more information on how to use Time Machine, see this Apple Support article.
Now that you’ve followed all the guidelines above, you can safely install macOS Sonoma on your Mac by opening the System Preferences app and choosing Software Update from the General menu.