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macOS Sequoia brings iPhone remote control and new Passwords app

Craig Federighi launches macOS Sequoia

Apple's first reveal of the new macOS Sequoia includes a way to remote control your iPhone directly from the Mac, and a new Apple Passwords app.

Announced in the WWDC 2024 keynote, macOS 15 is called macOS Sequoia, and as expected, it brings AI — or Apple Intelligence — to every platform and practically every feature.

Apple Intelligence for the Mac

Across macOS Sequoia and Apple's other platforms, users can write, summarize, and proofread text almost system-wide with Writing Tools. It will be able to generate sketches, animations, or illustrations with Image Playground, which is built into apps including Messages — and has its own brand-new app too.

Across the new macOS Sequoia, Apple Intelligence's Writing Tools can be used to summarize text
Across the new macOS Sequoia, Apple Intelligence's Writing Tools can be used to summarize text

The Mac's Photos app will let users create a Memories slideshow by typing a description. Apple Intelligence will then curate the images, arrange them into a sequence — and, if told to, also add appropriate music from Apple Music.

More usefully, Photos in macOS Sequoia has also built on its previous ability to remove backgrounds. It also has Clean Up, which will automatically remove distracting elements in the background of an image.

As expected, Siri has also seen what promises to be a significant improvement because of AI. By itself, Apple Intelligence is said to make working with Siri more natural and conversational, but Siri is also integrated with ChatGPT.

When Siri determines that ChatGPT may provide a better answer to a query, it asks the user's permission to pass their request on. ChatGPT gets the query if the user agrees, and the response comes back through Siri.

iPhone Mirroring

Aside from AI, macOS Sequoia also expands Continuity, which lets Mac users control their iPhones remotely.

"I can see what's on my iPhone and can control it to all while barely lifting a finger," said Craig Federighi, showing how the whole iPhone screen is shown on the Mac. "So you might be wondering, what's on my iPhone screen while using iPhone mirroring — it stays locked."

Laptop screen displaying an iPhone home screen with a dog's photo. Smartphone mirroring feature is turned on. A notification and colorful beams in the background.
With macOS Sequoia, Mac users can see and control their iPhones on screen

So, the iPhone itself becomes part of the Mac because macOS Sequoia allows for full access and control of your device through iPhone Mirroring. All while the iPhone itself stays securely locked.

Passwords app

The new macOS Sequoia also introduces a brand-new Apple Passwords app. "For over 25 years, we've been adding features to make logging into your accounts easier," said Federighi, "and now we're introducing the Passwords app."

Apple's new Passwords app looks similar to existing rivals such as 1Password
Apple's new Passwords app looks similar to existing rivals such as 1Password

Apple's Passwords app works like existing third-party rivals such as 1Password, and as well as the Mac, it will be on the iPad, iPhone, Apple Vision Pro, and even on Windows with iCloud for Windows.

Windows and presentations

Also adopting features seen in third-party apps, macOS Sequoia is introducing a new window management system. "Now, when you drag a window to the edge of the screen, MacOS automatically suggests a tiled position on your desktop," said Federighi.

"You can release your window right into place... quickly place tiles side by side or place them into corners to keep even more apps in your view," he continued. "And new keyboard and menu shortcuts help you arrange your tiles even faster."

With video conferencing, Apple has added its own feature for replacing backgrounds. It also includes Presenter Preview, which means that before sharing a screen in video conferencing, users can see a preview of what you will be showing on the call.

macOS updates include easier window tiling, text effects, Safari highlights, password management, redesigned reader, game toolkit, iOS notifications, emoji reactions, hiking maps, Freeform scenes, and iPhone mirroring.
The new macOS Sequoia features highlighted by Apple

Safari

Notably, Apple has not announced the expected and controversial Web Eraser. What it has added, though, includes what Apple calls highlights.

"Highlights share helpful information like directions summaries and quick links to learn more about people, music, movies and TV shows," said Beth Dakin, Senior Manager, Safari Software Engineering. "So if you're planning a trip, you can effortlessly discover a hotel's location and phone number right there."

"You can listen to an artist's music, or check out a new show with just a click and even get a summary so you can get the gist before reading on," she continued.

Reader in Safari now summarizes articles and makes a contents list
Reader in Safari now summarizes articles and makes a contents list

The existing Reader view, which removes everything but the text and main images from an article, has been redesigned. It now provides a table of contents and a summary of the article.

When a website includes a video, Safari will now optionally make it full screen — or move it into Picture in Picture.

Safari presents website videos in their own window
Safari presents website videos in their own window

Notes, Calendar, and Calculator

Apple Intelligence is also used within the updated Notes app to assist with transcription. For the first time, Notes can record audio, and now, when the recording is done, Apple Intelligence will produce a summary of it.

Notes now includes a new calculation feature, where typing in an equation allows Apple Intelligence to solve it. In the newly redesigned Calculator app, there's an option to show previous calculations in the history.

A digital note titled 'Sequoia Group Expenses' lists costs: Passes $62, Kayaks $259, Snacks $52, Gear $71, Sunscreen $11, Water $20. Total $475, divided by 5 equals $95 each.
Notes includes automatic calculations when you write in text like a budget

The new macOS Sequoia is all about integrating apps and features, so as well as sharing calculation capabilities, there are improvements such as those in Calendar. Apple's Calendar app now shows tasks from the Reminders app, and they can be edited or completed in place.

The future of macOS 15

As predicted, the new macOS Sequoia supports all of the same Macs that its predecessor, macOS Sonoma did. However, as expected, that does not mean every Mac will get all the new features.

Specifically, all Apple Intelligence features require an Apple Silicon Mac.

What's unclear is which new features will be present in the first developer beta. Typically, Apple has at least a few significant updates that won't appear until later in the cycle.

Some features may also not be present in the official release in September or October and instead will be added later in 2024.

This year, the beta process is expected to be the same as ever, with the new developer release followed shortly by a public release. There will then be both iterations, building up to the final release.

However, many of this year's new updates are tied to AI. Those may remain labeled as beta features for at least some months after the release.

AppleInsider urges you not to install beta software on any device you depend on for work.