macOS Sonoma brings widgets to the desktop

Productivity is the main focus, but there's also a new Game Mode.


The latest update to macOS is called Sonoma, and it's all about productivity and widget management, with a little bit of leisure on the side. The new operating system adds widgets to the desktop and makes them movable, allowing users to place them anywhere. As one widget is in use, the others will fade into the background.

Sonoma — or, macOS 14 — will also communicate with widgets on your iPhone via the Continuity feature. With your iOS device nearby, you'll be able to access and interact with all of your phone's widgets on desktop, no need to install them directly on the big machine.

macOS Sonoma

With Sonoma, video conferencing on Mac will receive a Presenter Overlay mode that places you on top of the content you're sharing, making it part of your background. You'll also be able to use hand gestures to add video effects like balloons and hearts to your calls, and these will work on Zoom, Teams and other popular apps.

The updates to Safari are focused on privacy. Sonoma adds Safari profiles with disparate cookies, history, extensions, favorites and tab groups. Private browsing on Safari is even tighter in Sonoma, with additional tracker blocking systems and a feature that locks down private windows when they're not in use.

Now that the productivity features are out of the way, it's time for the fun stuff. Notably, Sonoma features improvements in Mac gaming power. The new OS introduces Game Mode, which reduces background tasks while prioritizing CPU and GPU performance, all in the name of smoother, higher-framerate play. Game Mode also reduces audio latency in AirPods and input latency in gamepads, doubling the system's Bluetooth sampling rate. Game Mode works with any title, including future Mac releases. In related news, Death Stranding: Director's Cut will hit Mac this year, as will all upcoming projects from Kojima Productions.

Sonoma is available today as a developer beta and it'll enter public beta in July. It's due to land in the fall as a free software update.

Last year's update, macOS Ventura, came out in October and included Stage Manager, a feature that organizes apps and windows based on what you're actually using. Safari and Mail also saw some refreshes to better align with iOS 16.

Follow all of the news from Apple's WWDC 2023 right here.

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