5 best macOS 14 Sonoma features coming to your MacBook

macOS Sonoma
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple unveiled macOS 14 Sonoma during its WWDC 2023 event, and it’s launching with a bunch of exciting new features we can’t wait to test out. 

Sonoma is the 20th version of macOS, with the latest iteration set to build on last year’s macOS Ventura. We’re excited by the prospect of putting the operating system through its paces on the new MacBook Air 15-inch

macOS 14 Sonoma is due out later this year, with Apple releasing it as a free update across all Macs that support it. New features include interactive home screen widgets, a dedicated Game Mode and upgraded Safari privacy options. Read on to find out about the macOS Sonoma features that should improve your day to day MacBook usage going forward.

Which Macs can run macOS Sonoma? 

Here is the list of Macs Apple has confirmed will support macOS Sonoma:

  • iMac: 2019 and later
  • iMac Pro: 2017
  • Mac Pro: 2019 and later
  • Mac Studio: 2022 and later
  • MacBook Air: 2018 and later
  • Mac mini: 2018 and later
  • MacBook Pro: 2018 and later

5 best new macOS 14 Sonoma features

These are the macOS 14 Sonoma features we’re most looking forward to; some of which you’ll hopefully be able to test out in July when Sonoma’s public beta rolls out.  

Interactive home screen widgets 

macOS Sonoma widgets

(Image credit: Apple)

Widgets came to the Notification Center back in late 2020 with macOS Big Sur, and now they’re being rolled out for your Mac’s home screen with Sonoma. Once the new macOS comes out, it will let you import the best widgets to your desktop, be they weather, news or productivity apps. 

Better still, these home screen widgets are interactive. That means you can check if it’s going to rain later, manage upcoming meetings or organize your favorite podcasts directly from your widgets. You’ll even be able to import your iOS widgets from your iPhone, providing it’s either in close proximity to your Mac or on the same Wi-Fi network. 

Safari privacy upgrades

macOS 14 Sonoma Safari

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple’s browser is getting further features to improve privacy. The existing private browsing mode gets more powerful by locking any current windows you’re not using, while it also prevents trackers from loading. 

Another handy Safari addition is the ability to share passwords/passkeys with people in trusted groups. You’ll also be able to save regularly visited websites to your Dock, then launch them in a simplified web interface at the touch of a button. 

New Profiles round off the macOS Sonoma Safari updates, finally allowing you to set up separate browsing profiles. This should be handy for families sharing the same device or for people who just want to create individual work and play profiles. 

New video effects

macOS Sonoma video effects

(Image credit: Apple)

Sonoma brings a bunch of new video call visual effects to the table. Using the power of Apple’s Neural Engine, these new features include the ability to interpose yourself in front of whatever you’re sharing on-screen, which sounds like it should make exposition-heavy meetings a little bit more personable. 

If you don’t fancy sharing your face across spreadsheets, you’ll probably be more excited by the “cinematic-quality” effects being rolled out with Sonoma. These span flashy flourishes like firework shows and balloon displays that should keep colleagues on their toes during Friday afternoon meets. 

Improved accessibility 

macOS Sonoma accessibility features

(Image credit: Apple)

It might not be as sexy as the snazzy video effects above, but we’re excited to see a plethora of new accessibility features are rolling out with macOS 14 Sonoma. These quality of life improvements are mainly simple time-savers; like not having to say “hey” before asking Siri a question, a more intuitive autocorrect and the ability to pause GIFs while browsing Safari. 

Other improved Sonoma accessibility features include being able to tweak and customize text size on apps, and the option of typing messages to be spoken out loud while using Live Speech. None of these features are revolutionary, but they should make your day to day tasks that little bit easier, which we’re all for. 

Game Mode

macOS Sonoma Game Mode

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple’s renewed focus on gaming continues with a new Game Mode for macOS Sonoma. This feature makes tweaks to your Mac to ensure your games run the best they can, prioritizing your favourite tiles so that you get maximum gaming performance. Game Mode also reduces latency for earbuds, while input lag is cut for any Bluetooth gamepads you have connected to your Mac. 

It’s a big enough deal that legendary game director Hideo Kojima popped up during WWDC 2023 to announce Death Stranding: Director’s Cut is coming to macOS later this year. His studio, Kojima Productions, is reportedly also working on bringing future titles to macOS — don’t be shocked if Death Stranding 2 pops up on Mac at some distant point in the future. 

If you’re a Mac user who enjoys a glacially paced but weirdly riveting walking simulator, this truly is a glorious time to be alive. 

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Dave Meikleham
UK Computing Editor

Dave is a computing editor at Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting edge laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying about dead pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for absolutely no reason at all. In a previous life, he worked as a video game journalist for 15 years, with bylines across GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics card that costs roughly the same as your average used car, he still enjoys gaming on the go and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, most of Dave’s time is taken up by walking his husky, buying new TVs at an embarrassing rate and obsessing over his beloved Arsenal.