Hey friends, Andrew here – hope you’re well.
Today, I’ve come up with a list of 14 settings you’ll want to immediately change once you upgrade your Mac to the new macOS Sonoma.
I’ve been testing Sonoma on my M2 Air here for weeks now, and although it’s not the most significant update, there are a host of great features and setting changes, so let’s get into it.
1. Docked Web Apps
The very first macOS Sonoma change that had me excited was docked web apps. We can now finally create apps that launch specific web pages from our dock.
To do this, open Safari and navigate to the web page you want to dock. Then, from the toolbar, choose File > Add to Dock. You can also change the icon and name of the dock.
When we click it, it now launches an app version of the webpage independent of Safari, rather than just Safari and the web page. It works just like any other app in Mission Control and Stage Manager.
It’s worth your time to add your favorite web pages to your dock for quick access.
2. Predictive Text
The next thing you’ll want to configure or disable is In Line Predictive Text.
If you use Gmail, it’s similar to Smart Compose, which predicts sentences for you and is now included with Sonoma. As an example, in Notes, I can type “thank you very much” and press enter.
Go to System Settings > Keyboard > Text Input > Input Sources – then edit and toggle inline predictive text on and off.
Some people like it, some don’t, and in my opinion, if you’re a fast typer, you’ll find it more annoying than helpful, but if you’re a slower typer, you might find it useful.
3. Keyboard Dictation
Another keyboard-related setting you’ll want to change is the Keyboard dictation feature, which has been significantly improved in Sonoma so it’s worth giving it a go.
So back in Keyboard again, there’s a new Dictation area that allows you to use your voice to type for you together with your keyboard.
An example is if I open up the notes app. I can click Edit in the toolbar and Start Dictation, the easier way is to just press F5: “write me a sentence”.
It’s a nifty way to journal and get your thoughts out.
4. Safari Profiles
Safari has received a big upgrade in Sonoma and we can now create different profile settings for Safari, which is an easy productivity hack.
Launch Safari, then go to Settings > Profiles > New Profile to create your profile. You can even specify which extensions launch based on your profile under Extensions.
The profile you’re on is displayed in the top left corner, and you can open new profile windows by right-clicking Safari on the dock.
This is a fantastic feature if you use your Mac for both work and play. Another great thing I’ve discovered is that if you’re researching a product, such as shoes, you can create a separate profile to organize all your tabs for the shoes you’re looking at.
5. Safari Locked Tabs
Locking private tabs is another great Safari feature on Sonoma.
If you’re browsing something private, you can lock those tabs so no one else can see them.
To do so, navigate to Safari Settings > Privacy > and select the new Private Browsing option.
Depending on your Mac, you’ll see Touch ID to unlock or password to unlock.
A fantastic option for adding an extra layer of security.
6. Security Response FIles
The Security Response Files feature, which was introduced in Ventura as the Rapid Security Feature, is an important security setting to configure.
Go to System Preferences > Software Updates > Auto Updates > Install Security Responses and System Files.
It’s worthwhile to enable this because, once enabled, you’ll receive automatic security updates in the background without having to restart your computer.
To be clear, this does not replace full software updates but allows Apple to quickly install minor updates across all of your devices if they discover bugs or a security breach.
CleanMyMac X Integration
And, while we’re on the subject of security breaches, if you haven’t already, you should check out the CleanMyMac X app.
Mac problems can arise out of nowhere, ranging from a lack of application memory to complete data loss.
CleanMyMac X, an app that regulates my Macs in real-time and prevents all sorts of issues, is something I like to use as a preventative measure.
For example, if you plan to install Sonoma, the upgrade will take up 13GB, so you’ll want to free up as much space as possible to ensure a smooth transition.
CleanMyMac X helps you free up space by deleting junk in your trash can and running deeper scans with tools like Space Lens and Smart Scan. It’ll scan and eliminate all kinds of things I wouldn’t have time to check, like old podcasts saved via Apple Music.
It does a lot more to ensure that your Mac is running at peak performance and is ready for any tasks you throw at it.
CleanMyMac X is available for free in this link, so you can go ahead and run those scans before upgrading to Sonoma.
7. Hide Your Email Address
If you have an iCloud subscription, you should enable the Hide My Email setting, which allows you to send and receive email without using your real email address.
Go into your iCloud Account Settings > Scroll down to Hide My Email > Click the Plus Icon here > then create your spoof email, label it, and future emails can be ported through this email for privacy.
8. Advanced Data Protection
Return to the iCloud settings and select Advanced Data Protection.
If you value security, you should enable end-to-end encryption, which means you can only access your iCloud files on trusted devices. Even if Apple’s servers are compromised.
Simply click Turn On and make sure Account Recovery is enabled.
9. Smart Folders
Smart Folders are a must-have for getting organized.
They’re folders but smart because they can automatically find and organize files on your Mac; I’ll show you how it works.
Select Finder > File > New Smart Folder. Add the desired parameters by clicking the plus button.
If I only want to find photos taken with my Sony cameras, I can select “Device Make” from the dropdown menu.
Then, type in the device you want it to match, such as Sony.
Then, you’ll see all of the photos from that device, and you can save them to access them whenever you want. You can do a lot with Smart Folders, so experiment with the settings.
10. Lockscreen Screensavers
I’ve always admired Apple TV screensavers, and they’re now available on macOS Sonoma.
Select the screensaver to download in Settings > Screensaver.
Moreover, it’s a perfect match for the new Sonoma lock screen with the time – it’s quite beautiful, similar to the iPhone lockscreen.
I also set the Screensaver to shuffle every week to keep it interesting.
11. Homescreen Widgets
Interactive widgets are one of the most noticeable visual changes in Sonoma.
They are no longer hidden away on the screen; you can literally set them right on the desktop.
Right-click the desktop and select the newly added Edit Widgets option.
When you use these widgets, they no longer take you to the app, which was previously inconvenient; instead, you can now experiment with them right on the desktop.
I’m excited to see what developers release in terms of future interactive widgets; it should be great!
12. Facetime Reactions & Effects
The new Presenter Overlay and video effects during video calls are a fun new feature to try out.
These can be used in FaceTime, Zoom, or almost any other video app.
Then this icon will appear; click it to reveal the Presenter Overlay option as well as Video Effects.
There are a lot of fun reactions here that look really good and use 3D depth-of-field tricks.
You should also consider checking out this video here, where I share the new iOS17 settings you should definitely change if you have an iPhone.