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First look at macOS 10.14: Dark Mode, Stacks, Gallery View

The new Gallery View allows users to easily browse through files with a large visual preview and even displays a picture's metadata.
The new Gallery View allows users to easily browse through files with a large visual preview and even displays a picture's metadata.

The security and privacy settings of the Safari browser in the upcoming macOS 10.14 Mojave might have grabbed the headlines. But I think the biggest highlight of Mojave is Dark Mode.

As its name implies, it transforms the operating system to a dark colour scheme. For macOS, this is a big deal.

macOS 10.10 Yosemite, launched four years ago, was the first version in the macOS 10 operating system family to allow users to change the menu bar, search and dock into a darker shade.

But in Mojave, the "darkening" in Dark Mode is system-wide. Not only will the trash bin, dock, menu bar and folders be in dark shades, but all the built-in apps, such as Mail, Messages, Maps, Calendar and Photos, will have dark designs as well.

For a nocturnal worker like me, and for anyone who works regularly in the dark, like on long-haul flights, Dark Mode is heaven-sent.

I have always tried to darken my desktop with a black wallpaper and dark menu bar on my Macs. But in Mojave, all I need to do is go to System Preferences and choose Dark Mode.

Whether looking at Calendar, editing pictures in Photos or browsing in Safari, I find Dark Mode to be much easier on my eyes and less glaring.

It also helps me focus better on my work as brighter white tones are more distracting. For editing photos, the dark desktop is also more desirable in getting the correct colour adjustments.

Apple said third-party app-makers can implement Dark Mode too, by using the API (application programming interface) provided in Mojave. I certainly hope the likes of Microsoft can hop on the bandwagon as the built-in TextEdit word processing app does not support Dark Mode, in the current beta.

Another feature in Mojave that will improve your quality of life is the Stacks feature. This is especially so if you are the kind who leaves all your documents, pictures and more on the desktop, as it will group your files into stacks on the desktop.

Just right-click on the desktop, go to the "Group Stacks by" option, and choose how you want to sort the files - by Kind, Date Last Opened, Date Added, Date Created or Tags. Your documents will immediately be grouped into stacks according to your choice.

I think grouping by kind is probably the best option, as you will be able to find your PDFs, Word documents and pictures in their respective stacks quickly.

Another notable feature is the new Gallery View, which allows users to easily browse through files with a large visual preview. It even displays a picture's metadata.

On the downside, most Mac computers made in 2011 or earlier will not be compatible with Mojave. The only exception is the2010 Mac Pro with compatible graphic processing units. This means I will have to retire my 2011 iMac when Mojave is released later this year.

Trevor Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2018, with the headline 'First look at macOS 10.14: Dark Mode, Stacks, Gallery View'. Print Edition | Subscribe