June 27, 2018 // 10:47 a.m.
Apple has officially launched a public beta for macOS 10.14 Mojave, the latest version of its BSD-based operating system and the first to introduce a system-wide 'dark mode' visual toggle.
Designed to replace macOS 10.13 High Sierra when it launches in the autumn, macOS 10.14 Mojave brings with it one of the biggest user interface changes since the launch of MacOS X: A system-wide 'dark mode', which goes beyond the existing ability to alter the colour of the toolbar to produce what Apple describes as 'a beautiful, distraction-free working environment that’s easy on the eyes — in every way.'
Dark mode, though, won't be supported by all applications at launch: Apple has confirmed that Mojave's built-in first-party applications all understand the dark mode toggle and have a built-in theme to react accordingly, but that 'third party apps can adopt it' - meaning that adoption will be entirely dependent on application developers adding a dark theme and trigger for the system toggle to their applications between now and the operating system's proper launch.
Other new features available in the beta include: Dynamic desktop, not a return to Microsoft's long-abandoned Active Desktop technology but a system for smoothly transitioning between two wallpapers - and the new dark mode - depending on the time of day; stacks, which allow for files to be visually grouped by type or user-specific metadata; an improved gallery view and quick-action feature set for Finder; a quick-look function, bound to the space bar, which allows for selected file types to be edited without launching a dedicated application; an improved screen-grabbing system; the ability to automatically import pictures from an iPhone camera; expanded FaceTime videoconference support for up to 32 participants; and new apps including a news browser, stocks app, HomeKit control app, and voice memo app, alongside a redesign for the Mac App Store.
Safari, the bundled web browser, has also been updated, adding enhanced tracking prevention, an automatic password generator which can flag when accounts have duplicated passwords, and improved privacy features which extend to applications being required to have explicit permission to use the system's camera or microphone.
The beta is available to download now following free registration to the Apple Seed beta programme, and is compatible with MacBook Pros from mid 2012 and up, MacBook Airs from mid 2012 and up, MacBooks from early 2015 and up, iMacs from late 2012 and up, Mac Minis from late 2012 and up, iMac Pros from 2017 and up, and the Mac Pro from late 2013 or selected earlier models fitted with graphics cards compatible with Apple's new Metal graphics application programming interface (API).
More information on the beta, and a link to register for the download, is available on the Apple beta programme website.