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OS X 10.11 El Capitan released to public
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NewsPoster
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Sep 30, 2015, 01:47 PM
 
Apple on Wednesday issued the final version of its latest upgrade for OS X, known as 10.11 El Capitan. The new version, named after a precipice in Yosemite National Park, builds upon the foundation laid down by Yosemite in much the same way Snow Leopard was a polishing of the transitional technologies found in Leopard, or Mountain Lion was a refinement of the numerous changes seen in Lion. The upgrade is free for all qualified machines.

Although the most recent releases of iOS 9 and watchOS 2 had considerably easier times coping with the usual surge of user demand than has been seen previously, servers are still likely to be clogged in the first few hours of availability as users try to download the roughly 2.5GB upgrade. Users who are willing to wait a day or two will likely see much faster downloads than early adopters, with a lower risk of corrupted or incomplete downloads. The time can be used updating third-party software, backing up and cloning the present system, and running your preferred maintenance tool in preparation for the update.

El Capitan will run on nearly any recent Mac going back to 2007. Any Mac that was able to run Mavericks (10.9) or later is eligible, and the official guidelines say that nearly Mac released since 2007 should work. Specifically, iMacs and MacBook Pros back to the mid-2007 models, Mac Pros back to the mid-2008 model, MacBook Air and MacBook (previous generation) back to the late 2008 versions, and Mac mini and Xserve machines back to the early 2009 models and newer are eligible for the upgrade.

Not all features will be supported on all models, however, as was the case with Yosemite. Continuity and Handoff, for example, require Macs to have Bluetooth 4.0/LE support, which is found mostly on mid-2012 and higher models. AirDrop requires a Wi-Fi network that supports PAN, but most recent routers will have that feature available.



The focus on the new release has largely been the polishing and optimizing of performance, but some new features (more than a few adopted from iOS) have made their way into the new release. El Capitan supports the split-screen feature seen in iOS 9, and new swipe gestures in Mail to help manage the mailboxes. Notes has been upgraded in OS X 10.11 to match the increased abilities of the iOS 9 version, and Maps picks up public transit directions in some 300 cities in China (and a handful of major North American cities at present, with more coming shortly).



That said, El Capitan also has new features that are specific to the Mac: it offers a revamped Mission Control that offers far simpler and better management of desktop spaces, a greatly-enhanced Spotlight that can blend in web searches alongside local searches (this can be turned off if the user desires) and makes wider use of natural-language queries. Sadly, Apple has not yet brought Siri to the Mac desktop, but the enhanced Spotlight tries diligently to be a near-enough substitute. Nearly everything in the upgrade feels more responsive, particularly on machines with decent graphics subsystems.



Mail has an enhanced full-screen view with new functionality not seen in iOS 9, Photos gains some cleanup and, more importantly, the ability to add in third-party plug-ins to allow for external editing options, one of the few missing features from iPhoto. Frequently-visited websites can be pinned to the URL bar, videos seen in Safari can be AirPlayed to other devices without mirroring the entire display, and sound coming from individual tabs can be easily identified and muted. There are new fonts and efficiencies for Chinese and Japanese users, and El Capitan has an amusing new feature to help locate the cursor, which can get lost on high-resolution screens -- shaking the mouse or gesturing back and forth on the trackpad temporarily enlarges the cursor, making it easier to spot.



Although El Capitan offers a completely new level of code efficiency, being one of the smallest major upgrades since the early days of OS X, our experience with the recent operating systems and El Capitan beta suggests that 4GB of RAM or more is recommended, though the official release notes say only 2GB of RAM is required. MacNN suggests that 2GB of RAM will produce a less-than-satisfactory experience without some discipline on opening and closing more than one or two apps at a time, and indeed the modern "standard" of 8GB seems to be ideal for consumer-level use. When it comes to RAM, more (up to a point) is generally better, particularly for pro users.

The specs on El Capitan also call for at least 8GB of free space on the drive during the install process, but again we find that more is much, much better. The final size of the OS is considerably smaller than 8GB due to an extensive optimizing of the codebase seen in Yosemite and earlier, but users are advised to keep a fair amount of free space (somewhere in the neighborhood of 12-15GB) free at all times for typical operational use anyway, and again at the point that a user is seeing that small an amount of free space typically available, it is time to either upgrade to a larger-capacity drive or do some "spring cleaning."
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Sep 30, 2015 at 03:36 PM. )
     
ccrider
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Sep 30, 2015, 01:56 PM
 
Have they released standalone update yet?
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 30, 2015, 02:02 PM
 
Yes.
( Last edited by Mike Wuerthele; Sep 30, 2015 at 02:26 PM. )
     
bdmarsh
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Sep 30, 2015, 02:29 PM
 
Because its a major release, it likely won't have a download on the Apple downloads page. Once the 10.11.1 update is released, then that update to 10.11 will be available for download. The major releases are only available through the App Store that I've ever seen.
     
trevj
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Sep 30, 2015, 02:42 PM
 
Not yet available in Canada.
     
Le Flaneur
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Sep 30, 2015, 02:51 PM
 
What is the build number?
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 30, 2015, 03:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by le flaneur View Post
what is the build number?
15a284
     
jpellino
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Sep 30, 2015, 03:30 PM
 
"another precipice"?
Just sayin'
     
bobolicious
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Sep 30, 2015, 03:43 PM
 
"Not yet available in Canada." not as an auto update, but it was found under 'featured' apps and downloadable for the brave...
     
Flying Meat
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Sep 30, 2015, 06:22 PM
 
Started my download. It'll only be another,.. 7 hrs. 45 min.

=O
     
Charles Martin
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Sep 30, 2015, 07:32 PM
 
For the record: my download took less than the initial estimate of 45 minutes to arrive, but took about double the estimated 30 minutes to actually install. However, it seems to be running pretty well after the usual initial sluggish period (Spotlight re-indexing to blame there).
Charles Martin
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Ham Sandwich
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Sep 30, 2015, 08:30 PM
 
How do beta users get out of it? There is still nothing in the Updates section, the Purchased shows OS X El Capitan GM Candidate published August 25, 2015, and when I tried to download it directly via a link:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/os-x...18109117?mt=12

I receive the following error message:

"OS X v10.11 is already installed on this computer. Use the Updates page to install the 10.11 update or if you would like to download the full OS X installer click Continue."

But it's not an update since I would be going back to a version that was published on August 25, so why is the final release still not showing up, and how do I download the final release manually?
     
jpellino
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Sep 30, 2015, 09:40 PM
 
And.reg: if you go to the App store, you can simply download it from the featured page - it will warn you but you can click that you really want to download the full installer.

If you're on public beta, then your'e at 10.11.1 - as am I - and I plan on sitting it out until the 10.11.1 is released or 10.11.2 if there are no major issues with .1
Just sayin'
     
Chongo
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Sep 30, 2015, 11:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by Flying Meat View Post
Started my download. It'll only be another,.. 7 hrs. 45 min.

=O
I started the download about 90 minutes ago. ETA is >3 days!?
     
MitchIves
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Oct 1, 2015, 01:05 AM
 
Hmmm... they took away "Repair Permissions"?
     
Spheric Harlot
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Oct 1, 2015, 02:25 AM
 
Yes. The snake oil is finally gone. It hasn't made a difference for nigh a decade.
     
Ham Sandwich
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Oct 1, 2015, 07:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by jpellino View Post
If you're on public beta, then your'e at 10.11.1 - as am I - and I plan on sitting it out
Works for me.

I'll be preparing my list of unfixed bugs in 10.11 GM.
     
smacker
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Oct 1, 2015, 09:15 AM
 
@jpellino: what's your question?

From the Mac Dictionary: precipice, noun:
a very steep rock face or cliff, typically a tall one.

Pretty much what it looks like.
     
Inkling
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Oct 1, 2015, 10:48 AM
 
Why does Apple, with every major OS X upgrade, insist on dictating to us how they think we should be using their software. I don't want Photos to open when I attach my iPhone and yet, here it is again, another OS X upgrade that changes my preferences to do that. Is it really that hard for Apple to transfer all my old preferences to this new version?
Author of Untangling Tolkien and Chesterton on War and Peace
     
panjandrum
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Oct 1, 2015, 12:09 PM
 
@Inkling: How *dare* you! You think that, in your arrogance, you somehow know how your should be using your computer better than Apple does? That's ridiculous! Apple *always* knows best. Your think your efficient workflow and tools are correct? Fool! You need to use whatever workflow Apple decides is best. If that's twice the steps, three times the difficulty, and four times as long? Well too bad! It's still best because Apple says it is! You think you need those features Apple removed? Well that's just plain silly! Obviously if Apple removed those features you never really needed them in the first place! And always remember, Think Different! ;-) (My personal favorite instance of the "use Apple's setting or else!" plague is that every security update seems to reset the "Allow Apps Downloaded From" setting in Security AND sometimes forgets what Apps you've already listed as acceptable. Not a big deal on a single machine. Very much a problem in school and business environments where suddenly a piece of software won't run on anything without an admin being there to change the settings back to where you already had them...)
     
panjandrum
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Oct 1, 2015, 12:29 PM
 
Oh, got sidetracked there: Actually came here to suggest that if you are backup-paranoid as I am you might want to manually backup your "Mobile Documents" folder (in ~/Library folder). When I installed El Capitan the update process deleted all my local iCloud Drive content. Don't know if that's standard for the upgrade or just a random glitch, but either way making an additional backup of that folder might be a good idea since considering there is some history of Apple losing iCloud Drive data.
     
Charles Martin
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Oct 1, 2015, 02:54 PM
 
Inkling: you mean the way iPhoto took over getting pictures from your camera or camera card because -- gasp! -- it was the only installed app that performed that function? You can dislike it if you want, but this is nothing new -- it actually goes back more than a decade, and is a widespread thing (Safari is the default browser unless you change that, Mail is the default email handler unless you change it, iTunes the default MP3 player, Preview the default PDF opener, and so on and so on -- are you seriously just now noticing this??).

In Photos, there is actually an easier-than-usual way of changing this. When the device is attached and Photos is open, there is a checkbox for the preference at the top of the main screen. Uncheck it, and Photos won't open when that device is connected anymore. This is actually quicker and easier than going into the various apps' preferences or a System Preference panel to change it, as has been traditional since at least the first day of OS X public availability.

I presume you'll be back next week to shriek about how insistent Microsoft Office is about being the default handler for Office documents!
Charles Martin
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Spheric Harlot
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Oct 1, 2015, 04:24 PM
 
As far as I know, you've had to use Image Capture to change default photo app actions for almost a decade. It feels like there was a System Preference pane for that at some point, but this must have been in the mid-2000's.

What inkling is complaining about is that this preference is RESET after a system upgrade. Valid complaint IMO.
     
panjandrum
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Oct 1, 2015, 04:51 PM
 
Hey Charles, I think you misconstrued Inkling's point which is that Apple is not honoring certain custom settings through the update / upgrade process. As I mentioned, even smaller updates can sometimes reset settings to Apple's "preferred" settings, even if those settings have been changed for important reasons.

Spheric? Out of curiosity, why do you say repair permissions has done nothing for at least 10 years? As recently as Yosemite a simple repair of permissions often solved extremely slow performance on system upgraded from Mavericks or earlier operating systems. This solution was widely reported as effective and I've personally seen it work dozens of times.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Oct 1, 2015, 07:06 PM
 
The last time I've ever seen it do anything effective was the Print Center issue back in 10.3 or so.
     
   
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