Things I Like in the New Operating Systems, Should You Install the Public Betas?

And Let's Connect on Threads

The first public betas of the new Apple operating systems will be arriving very soon, and in this edition I’ll be sharing some of the new and notable features that I’m looking forward to. And speaking of the betas, should you install them? I have some thoughts on that, plus, Apple’s closing down one of their photo services. Let’s jump into it!

🆕 Things I Like in the New Operating Systems

Last month at WWDC, Apple detailed their new operating systems that will come later this year, and I thought I’d share some things I’m looking forward to. Initially, I was going to break it down by OS, but Apple does a good job making features available across the various platforms, and many of the new features will work on Mac, iPhone, iPad, etc.

Screen Savers
This might sound odd to start with but hang with me. If you have an Apple TV, you’ve probably seen the beautiful screen savers Apple has had on it for some time. I have a TV in my office at work, and every day, the Apple TV screen savers are on in the background. They are great. And they are coming to the Mac in macOS Sonoma.

Improved Widgets
I asked for this in our WWDC Wishlist episode, and Apple came through! Interactive widgets are back, we get widgets on the Desktop in macOS, including bringing widgets over from your iPhone, and Lock Screen widgets on your iPad.

I won't lie, I laughed at this during the keynote. Image credit: Apple

Keyboard Improvements
Apple said significant improvements are coming to autocorrect, powered by on-device processing through Apple Silicon. Let’s hope they have improved this because it’s a frustrating experience. Apple is also adding inline predictions, which will offer up what the system thinks you want to type, and you can tap the space bar to autofill. This has been a feature in other apps for a while now, and I like it, so it will be a welcome addition here.

Health app on iPad
Another one of my wishlist items was to have a better way to view the data in the Health app, and Apple is granting my wish by bringing the Health app to the iPad. This should make it easier to discover bits of health data in the app by spreading it out on the larger display of the iPad.

Stage Manager Improvements
When Apple announced Stage Manager last year, I was thrilled to see more windowing options on the iPad. When Apple released Stage Manager last year, I was disappointed in the actual implementation. Early indications are iPadOS 17 will fix most complaints by allowing windows to be more freely resized. I hope so, and I’m really looking forward to trying it.

StandBy on iPhone / Image credit: Apple

StandBy on iPhone
StandBy provides glanceable information to you while your iPhone is charging. You can customize what you see, and the information is displayed when you tap the screen unless you're using the iPhone 14 Pro, which has an always-on display, so it's always available. It works with lightning cables, but if you use a MagSafe charger, you can set up custom views per charger. That's a nice touch. Data sources include clocks, photos, widgets, and more.

I expect we'll see this functionality elsewhere in the future, like on iPad, Mac, and Apple TV.

AutoFill Verification Codes from Mail
A few years back, Apple added a nice feature to Messages and Safari where multi-factor authentication codes received by text message would be detected and filled in automatically in the browser. This has been a big convenience, and Apple is extending it this year by picking up codes sent via email through the Mail app. I don’t have many services where I receive codes this way, but it’ll be handy when needed.

Smart Stack / Image credit: Apple

Smart Stacks on Apple Watch
In watchOS 4 in 2017, Apple introduced the Siri watch face. The general idea was that the Siri watch face would use the assistant's machine-learning capabilities to surface information based on the time of day. For example, it would show your estimated commute time in the morning, a meeting on your calendar as its starting time approached, etc. Like Siri, the watch face didn't quite live up to expectations.

In watchOS 10, Apple is bringing us something similar in Smart Stacks. It's not a watch face, so you can continue using whatever faces you already use. You can access the Smart Stack by rotating the Digital Crown and see things like the weather, calendar events, reminders, podcasts, and more.

In what was rumored to be a year with minor updates because of Apple’s focus on Apple Vision Pro, I think we are still going to end up with some very nice features for our devices. We took a deeper look at these features, and many more, in the new episode of Basic AF. More on that below.

Should You Install the Public Betas?

The first Public Betas for these new operating systems are coming soon, so should you install them? It depends. You know how when your phone glitches out, and you mumble under your breath how stupid it is, and how annoying it is? Beta life is kind of like that, but worse. More glitches, more odd things happening, apps crashing, excessive battery drain…all annoying and why I say most people should not install the public betas.

But, if you’re comfortable with all of that, know how to get out of a mess should one happen, your device isn’t mission critical, or you need to test these things as part of your work, Apple’s Beta Software Program can be found here, including an FAQ section on how to backup your device before installing any beta OS.

As for me, I’ll be installing the macOS beta on my work-issued MacBook Air, and that’s about it.

📸 Heads Up: Apple is shutting down the My Photo Stream service

At this point, you should be using iCloud Photos to keep your photo library in sync across your devices, but if you're still using the My Photo Stream service, now is the time to move. Apple will be shutting down the free syncing service on July 26. To verify you're using iCloud Photos, do the following:

On your Mac, go to Apple Menu > System Settings (or System Preferences if not on macOS Ventura) > click your Name > click iCloud. Make sure Photos is toggled on.

On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > tap your Name > tap iCloud. Make sure Photos is toggled on.

If Photos is not toggled on, that device is not syncing with iCloud. Should you turn it on if it's not? That's up to you, but generally speaking, I recommend it.

More details can be found in this Apple support article.

🧵 Let’s Connect on Threads

Meta opened the doors to its Twitter clone, Threads, this past week, and it's exploded to almost 100 million users in under a week. If you already have an Instagram account, you can log in to Threads with it and bring the accounts you're already following with you, which is brilliant, because that means some of the people following you will do the same. If you want or need to, you can make a new Threads account.

It's mobile-only now and less fully featured than Twitter (no polls, bookmarks, etc.), but I like it. Everyone seems to be waiting for Meta to screw it up by adding suggested posts, ads, and algorithm nonsense, but for now, it's pretty good. If you're there, let's connect!

🎧 Basic AF #13: What We Think We Like in the New Apple Operating Systems

A brand new episode of our podcast dropped today, and you can find it at basicafshow.com and in all the podcast apps, and soon on YouTube and YouTube Music! Regardless of where you listen, please rate and review the show in Apple Podcasts. It helps out, and I would greatly appreciate it.

In this episode, we discuss the Threads service and then focus on the new Apple operating systems coming this fall. We cover a few items I mentioned above and plenty of others, including the new PDF annotation capabilities, Visual Lookup, new Messages app features, and more. If you're looking for a good overview of what's coming this fall from Apple, this show has you covered.

🎁 The Wrap-Up

🌳 I was gifted this sweet LEGO Bonsai Tree for Father's Day, and it's been a great addition to my desk and thought I’d share a pic. I still haven’t picked up the PAC-MAN set, though.

🖊️ I don't have the talent to make them, but I'm a big fan of sketchnotes. Here's a nicely done WWDC recap sketch I saw recently on Reddit.

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