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Eight OS X Yosemite features we wish we could use right now

Dan Frakes | June 4, 2014
Apple preview of OS X Yosemite gave us a taste of what to expect when the new OS is released this fall. Some of the new features have us wishing we didn't have to wait.

Instant Hotspot Speaking of phone integration, you've long been able to use your iPhone as a cellular-data hotspot when you need to get your Mac online but you're out of range of a Wi-Fi network. Under Yosemite and iOS 8, the new Instant Hotspot feature displays your iPhone in OS X's systemwide Wi-Fi menu (assuming, of course, that your iPhone is on and nearby). Choose it, and your iPhone automatically sets up a secure Wi-Fi hotspot and your Mac connects to it--no messy, multi-step configuration necessary. Apple says that the menu will even display your phone's signal strength and battery life, and your Mac will disconnect from the phone when not accessing the network.

SMS relaying Finally, we've all experienced the frustration and confusion of browsing a Messages conversation on our Mac, iPad, or iPod touch and realizing that messages sent using SMS--rather than Apple's iMessage service--are missing. Under Yosemite and iOS 8, your phone relays SMS messages to all your other devices, so the entire conversation shows up on every one. You'll even be able to send SMS messages from your Mac--great for exchanging messages with people who don't use an iPhone. (And if, like us, you often had problems with even iMessage messages showing up on all devices, that's supposed to work better, too.)

os x yosemite icloud drive
With iCloud Drive, you can sync and easily access any kind of data.

iCloud Drive

One of our biggest beefs with iCloud has long been that it's essentially a black box trap: Data can be saved, synced, and accessed only from within those apps that have been specifically coded to use iCloud, and accessed only by the specific app that originally saved the file. Which means, for example, that if you save a PDF to iCloud from within Preview on OS X, you can't open it in another Mac app, and you can't access it from your iPad or iPhone. (Yes, there are ways to access locally stored iCloud documents using the Finder, but it's not something most people want to, or should, be doing.)

We asked for more-open, more-Dropbox-like storage, and we got it. Apple's new iCloud Drive feature combines the existing per-app storage simplicity with a feature that works similarly to Dropbox. Click iCloud in the sidebar of a Finder window, and you can view all your iCloud-stored documents. Documents that have been saved in, and associated with, particular apps (Pages, for example) are grouped in app-specific folders; other documents, including those you've manually dragged into the iCloud folder, appear loosely (or in any folders you create). Any data in the iCloud folder is synced with iCloud and available from all your Macs, and on all your iOS devices. And iOS apps will be able to view your iCloud Drive, making it easy to open those documents in your iOS app(s) of choice. Apple's even making iCloud Drive available on Windows.


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