Apple announces OS X El Capitan with refined experience and improved performance

Apple today announced OS X El Capitan, a new version of OS X that refines the Mac experience and improves system performance. Building on last year’s landmark release of OS X Yosemite, El Capitan introduces enhancements to window management, built-in apps and Spotlight search, and makes everyday activities — from launching apps to accessing email — faster and more responsive. Metal, Apple’s breakthrough graphics technology, is integrated into El Capitan, delivering system-wide performance gains and enabling games and pro apps to tap into the full power of Mac graphics processors.

“OS X delivers unparalleled integration between Mac hardware, iOS devices, apps and online services, and has helped Mac sales outpace the PC industry every year for the last decade,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, in a statement. “Customers loved last year’s landmark OS X Yosemite release and made it the fastest-adopted PC operating system ever. With El Capitan, we’re further refining the Mac experience with enhancements to window management, Spotlight and built-in apps, and improving performance so everyday activities — from launching apps to accessing email — are faster and more responsive.”

Refinements to the Mac Experience
OS X El Capitan refinements begin with the new system font, San Francisco, a modern and easy-to-read typeface that looks stunning on a Retina display. Mission Control®, the quickest way to view all open windows, has a cleaner design so you can find the window you need even faster. When your desktop gets crowded, simply drag a window to the top of your screen to access the new Spaces Bar in Mission Control and create a new Space, OS X’s intuitive way to group applications. And, the new Split View feature automatically positions two app windows side-by-side in full screen so you can work with both apps without distraction.

Built-in apps are even more streamlined in El Capitan. Safari now features Pinned Sites to keep your favorite websites open and active in your tab bar and a new mute button to quickly silence browser audio from any tab. Mail introduces Smart Suggestions, which recognizes names or events in a Mail message and prompts you to add them to your contacts or calendar with a single click. You can also now swipe to delete messages, just like in iOS, and juggle multiple emails while Mail is in full screen. In Photos, you can add locations to a single image or an entire Moment, and sort albums by date or title. Additionally, you’ll be able to download third-party editing extensions from the Mac App Store and access them directly within the Photos app.

With the all-new Notes app in El Capitan you can drag and drop photos, PDFs, videos and other files into notes, and add content directly from other apps, such as Safari or Maps, using the Share menu. Easy-to-create checklists help you keep track of important to-do items, and the new Attachments Browser organizes your attachments in one simple view, making it easy to find what you’re looking for. With iCloud, your notes stay in sync across all your enabled devices.

Spotlight gets even smarter in El Capitan, generating results for even more topics, including weather, stocks, sports, transit and web video. You can now resize the Spotlight window to display more results or move it anywhere on your desktop, and use natural language to find documents and files on your Mac based on when they were created or who you sent them to.

Improvements to System Performance
OS X El Capitan improves system performance across your Mac, making many of the things you do everyday faster and more responsive. Metal, Apple’s groundbreaking graphics technology, accelerates Core Animation and Core Graphics to boost system-level rendering by up to 50 percent,* and efficiency by up to 40 percent,** resulting in faster graphics performance for everyday apps. Metal also takes full advantage of your CPU and GPU, delivering up to 10 times faster draw call performance for a richer, more fluid experience in games and pro apps.*

El Capitan also features enhanced international language support, including a new Chinese system font for both Traditional and Simplified, with 50,000 beautifully designed characters for crisp on-screen readability. Chinese keyboard input methods now offer regularly updated vocabulary lists and a smarter candidate window. El Capitan makes entering Japanese text faster by automatically transforming Hiragana into written Japanese and reducing the need to individually select and confirm word conversions. You can now also select the perfect font for your documents using four new Japanese typefaces.

The developer preview of OS X El Capitan is available to Mac Developer Program members starting today. Mac users can participate in the El Capitan Beta Program in July and download the final version for free from the Mac App Store this fall. Customers interested in signing up for the public beta can visit for more details. Features are subject to change. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages.

*Testing conducted by Apple in May 2015 using 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5-based 13-inch MacBook Pro systems with 128GB of flash storage and 8GB of RAM. Tested with prerelease OS X v10.11. Not all features are available on all devices. Performance will vary based on system configuration, application workload and other factors.
**Testing conducted by Apple in May 2015 using 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7-based 15-inch MacBook Pro systems with 256GB of flash storage and 16GB of RAM. Tested with prerelease OS X v10.11. Not all features are available on all devices. Performance will vary based on system configuration, application workload and other factors.

Source: Apple Inc.


  1. So, OS X now has drag to the top for full screen and the ability to put screens side by side. Where do I know that from? 😛

    Seriously, do you know how many times I try dragging a window to the top for full screen? Strange how I found a feature I actually like in Windows. 😛

    1. Some people say that an iPhone is just a rectangle, and pick to zoom and double tap to magnify and elastic scrolling etc are just obvious things. But when it comes to the obviousness of putting windows side by side it’s people like you smirking as if it was some BIG DEAL.

      Side by side windows is not an innovation. Nor is full screen invoking based on position.

      1. You really need to calibrate your sarcasm detector.

        Although I will vote for ‘fullscreen via drag to top’ as THE most @%#$@^# annoying feature of Windows; I can’t count the times I was just trying to drag a window out of the way of something underneath when it KABLOOIE takes over the damned screen.

        1. Didn’t know about the maximize screen if you drag to top feature in Windows.. Cool to know.. Tried it and seems you have to push the window beyond the top in Win8.1 and XP to have it happen.. Never had my windows that close to the top to accidentally have it happen for me. 😛

    2. I don’t give a rats ass about new features. I’ve spent the last nine months trying to get Mail to work properly with an iCloud account. There’s no way that I’m going to upgrade to new OS when the old one is still broken.

      And I can only imagine the further atrocities they’ve committed with iTunes.

    1. Mail is still broken.

      ITunes isn’t broken, it’s been a brain-damaged mess since the beginning. It’s loaded with bugs and inconsistencies, and instead of fixing these, the programmers screw with the interface to confuse users enough that they’re so frustrated with the new interface that the bugs and inconsistencies that they’ve grown used to over the years don’t seem to matter so much. A truly brilliant strategy to use with the ambassadorial program Apple uses to attract Windows users to purchase iDevices. The person in charge of iTunes needs to be fired, preferably out of a cannon at a brick wall at short range.

  2. For those who’d like an indication of compatibility, below is a list of qualified AppleSeed testing Macs. Note that this list may have NOTHING to do with the final compatibility of 10.11. It’s just a list of Macs that will be used for BETA TESTING 10.11. Please keep that in mind. No whining please if the final list changes. Thank you.

    iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
    MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
    MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
    Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
    MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
    Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
    Xserve (Early 2009)

    Presumably, this same list will apply to public beta testing of 10.11, but that’s not for sure either. I hope this is helpful.

    1. I am sure they are too busy with ‘new’ features.

      Having used all versions of OSX from 10.0 to now Yosemite, i can say quality has gone down, complexity up.
      Stuff is hidden and when i breaks it is black magic.
      This obsession with new OS versions every year is ridiculous.

  3. Seems like lots of new “features” and the price of “features” in recent years has been compatibility problems with other “features” and more spaghetti code within the operating system.. Just saying.
    Good luck to us all, will keep an open mind because we don’t have any choice. Let the flames begin.

  4. I don’t think the full name ‘El Capitan’ will stick. I think users will shorten it to something lime, El Cap, E Cap, Cap, or even E C. Maybe MDN should start a poll. 🖖😀⌚️

    1. El Capitan is in Yosemite National Park, so this might be Apple’s subtle way of telling us that it’s a sort of Snow Leopard with cleaned-up code and a slow road to bug fixes.

      Everyone has great memories of Snow Leopard, but 10.6 was buggy, pissed a LOT of people off since it dropped support for PPC and took 23 months to get to the NOW beloved 10.6.8.

  5. El Capitan is a poor name choice, even though it fits the Yosemite theme.

    I’ll always think of Yosemite – El Capitan as YEC.

    Or maybe YELC.

    1. Snow Leopard was rock solid. The freebies that Apple has been releasing since are anything but.

      As far as I can tell, Apple has spent the last year coming up with new names for stuff it’s copying from other companies (Apple Wallet) or reintroducing from past failed Apple products (Beats/Ping). As others have pointed out, what a snoozefest. Apple appears to be doing nothing to improve its core OS, file system, or GUI efficiency. They’re just trying to make OS X look and feel like a touch screen OS — with some long overdue Windows features sprinkled in. Wonder what stuff they’ve broken with Metal replacing OpenGL.

  6. Underwhelmed! Same old dull, flat, and insipid interface. Just gotta’ keep it looking like an iPhone or AppleWatch interface. Very creative and innovative! So elegant! Not! Same tiny fonts, with little regard for those with less than 20/20 vision. No mention if iWork will ever be upgraded to useable. Apple has become like our beloved politicians: “We’re here for you, but as soon as you suckers turn your backs damn if we don’t do what we want; your opinions don’t matter.” Tomorrow, I plan to erase my hard drive and re-install Snow Leopard and pray that Apple will someday hire a CEO who is actually committed to Mac software. After 30 years of dedication to Apple, I’ve reached the end of the tunnel. I will die out with Snow Leopard and move on to something else. Apple no longer is creative, innovative, or magical. Sadly, for me anyways, it has become irrelevant.

  7. I remain skeptical. Since Snow Leopard — perhaps Apple’s best OS ever– OS design has been poor and getting worse. Apple has really dumbed down so much that the Mac is becoming bloated and less useful like Windows. The UI of the latest OSs have become less efficient, taking more steps to accomplish tasks than before. Just look at today’s totally inefficient e-mail address book. I used to be able to address 20 people in about a minute. Now it takes about 3-4 minutes to do so. And we can no longer open folders inside of folders, although Windows still allows users the choice. Jonny Ives is brilliant when it comes to hardware, but has become enemy of the user regarding the user interface. And those beautiful 3D icons have been put into the cage they were kept in until Tiger (OS X 10.4). These are all backward steps, infuriating every Mac user I know.

  8. So the one and only photos app is still the abomination that is Photos. What a waste and what a middle finger from Apple to any of it’s customers interested in photography. No, they really don’t give a rat’s ass what customers want. It’s all about what Apple can do to screw every last cent out of people and the moment something doesn’t meet Apple’s extraordinarily high profit targets it’s goodbye to that. Never mind the millions of people relying on it and using it regularly. It’s taken years but the Kool-aid is finally wearing off and I now see Apple for what it is, just another uncaring, uncool giant along the lines of Samsung, Microsoft and Sony. They’ll happily take your money but don’t for a moment think they care.

    1. Your disappointment is overwhelming and I think that you should get rid of your Apple gear and go back to Windows and Android. Leave the rest of us who get it in our paradise of Apple goodness.

      1. “paradise of Apple goodness”? You must have gotten a triple dose of the Koolaid! I’ve been an Apple user for over 30 years and even I can tell the User Experience has plummeted in recent years. You like soldered RAM, proprietary SSDs, glued in batteries and ever buggier operating systems? Is the fact that a 3 year old Mac Mini is the fastest one ever made part of your “paradise of Apple goodness”? Spit out the Koolaid and take off the blinders! Cook is far more interested in making money than making good products.

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