While we are still waiting for the official announcement, WWDC is coming. In just a few months, most likely the first week of June, Apple will unveil the next version of macOS and show off all of its new features before it releases later this year. Rumors of new features have been light – all we know so far is that Apple has moved some macOS resources to xrOS – but there are plenty of features we expect and hope to see appear on the big stage. This is our wishlist of features for macOS 14 [insert name of scenic California locale here]:
Dynamic Island for the Mac
With the iPhone 14 Pro, Apple introduced the Dynamic Island, which uses the pill-shaped cutout for Face ID and the selfie camera as an extraordinary UI element. It’s an ingenious feature that should at least come to the MacBook Pro.
At the very least, Dynamic Island would alleviate the clutter on the right side of the macOS interface, which contains notifications, reminders, and widgets. But it can also be a great way to track the progress of something an app is working on in the background, as a battery life indicator, or to display what Apple Music is playing on the iPhone.
By the way, Apple’s 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro and the M2 MacBook Air already have notched screens, so a trip to the Dynamic Island should be easy to book.
Time Machine iCloud backups
This was on our wish list for macOS 12 And macOS 13, and it will remain on every wish list until it happens. As I said before, I’ll say it again: having an offsite backup is always a good idea, and Time Machine can be updated to do that in addition to the local backup option.
Since Apple doesn’t seem interested in adding this feature to macOS out of necessity, allow me to take a different angle: it’s good for Apple’s bottom line. Think about it, Apple. You can earn precious money for Services from Time Machine iCloud backups by selling iCloud+ storage. Apple already has a $9.99/£6.99 tier that offers 2TB of storage, and I could see a new $6.99/£3.99 tier for the 1TB Time Machine iCloud+ storage tier. That’s about $84/£48 a year, and let’s say 500,000 users sign up for it. Um, well, that’s a lot of money you make every year and a lot of happy Mac customers. How can you pass that up, Apple?
Fine-tune the system settings
In my macOS 13 wish list, I wanted Apple to rename System Preferences to Settings to match iOS and iPadOS. My wish came true, but it came at a price: Apple went one step further and redesigned the user interface to be more like the iPhone. That caused consternation for the most die-hard Mac fans and confusion for even iPhone users — and sent many Mac users to Google to find settings they thought were lost. There’s no going back now; System settings and the user interface are here to stay. But it could use some fine tuning.
We’d like to see Apple separate the interface from iOS. The look is fine, but some settings aren’t logically tucked away behind General or Desktop & Dock. Top of the list: Time Machine (especially if Apple unlocks iCloud backups).
Transfer more Apple iOS apps
With macOS Ventura, Apple has finally made Mac versions of the clock and weather apps that have been in iOS since time immemorial. Why stop there? There are plenty of iOS apps that aren’t available on the Mac: translate, clips (which were on my macOS 13 wish list), health, wallet (those two were on my macOS 12 wish list), support…maybe not compass, measure, and magnifying glass. And hey, while they’re at it, revive Warren Buffet’s Paper Wizard and bring it to the Mac!
Sync the Clock app across all devices
As I just mentioned, with macOS Ventura, Apple has finally introduced Mac versions of the Clock and Weather apps in iOS and iPadOS. Hurrah! However, the Weather app syncs between devices and the Clock app does not. That means alarms you set on one device won’t be available on others. Boo!
It’s easy enough to set an alarm, but it would be much easier if those alarms synced across devices. While we’re at it, why not sync the world clock entries? Or even timers: I make a lot of timers and like to be able to control them from multiple devices. Oh, and since maybe not everyone wants their iPhone timers on their Mac, give us the option to disable syncing.
Unite the version number
This version of macOS will be version 14, even though Mac OS X came out in 2001. In the meantime, iOS and iPadOS will eventually upgrade to version 17. And as someone who makes a living beating these products, I still get confused with the version numbers often. If macOS, iOS, and iPadOS all had the same version number, it would save us a lot of trouble.
Granted, this is a small request and many of you reading this probably think it’s a stupid request. But isn’t versioning just as stupid at the same time? After all, it’s just a label. Apple is already trying to get away from using the number as a general point of reference by naming macOS after a location in California.
I suspect Apple already has a plan for this as it looks to add a new operating system, xrOS, to the mix. But it looks like macOS and iPadOS are on a collision course (which is a whole other conversation), so perhaps Apple could take the opportunity to align all of its operating systems to the same number. Maybe 20? After all, it’s just a number.
Bring stability improvements and optimization
I could go on with the wishes – much of what I wanted in my macOS 12 and macOS 13 wish list has yet to materialize, and I’d still love to see them happen. But according to reports, macOS 14 won’t see many major changes as the company is supposedly focusing on the AR/VR headset and its operating system, which is rumored to be called xrOS. Development for macOS 14, iOS 17, and iPadOS 17 (see, wouldn’t it be easier to read if they had the same version number?) seems to have a lower priority until that device is revealed.
But Apple won’t let 2023 pass without a macOS update. With the focus of the media and users on the headset, now could be the time to release an update full of bug fixes and optimizations – and that’s it. If that happens, that’s great. MacOS has some persistent bugs and it would be very satisfying to fix them and make the operating system more stable and faster overall.