Elias Pelcastre

OS X El Capitan first impressions on a MacBook Pro 2011

Few hours ago, Apple released OS X El Capitan for Mac computers. I decided to try it on a MacBook Pro 2011 and let you know my experience using the new desktop software.

I noticed from the beginning that Apple reduced the booting time. The MacBook was slow, but now boots very fast – it used to be four or five minutes before the computer started, and now it turns on in less than two minutes.

Moving on to opening apps, I fired up Photoshop CS6. OS X El Capitan includes Metal, a new system supposed to make the Mac platform faster.

Apple’s brand new update surely delivered; it took one minute to open Adobe’s photo editing software. Closing the app was also fast, as Photoshop shut down in a few seconds.

Chrome, an app that was very slow at opening on Yosemite, was faster on the new OS X, although it took longer to load than I expected. Let’s see what happens with Spotify: I clicked on the green and black icon. After four jumps, and a few seconds later, l was ready to explore some pop hits. I’m amazed, as Spotify used to take a while to load.

Nevertheless, Apple’s Safari was the slowest app to run from the main three I normally use. It freezes and took a very long time to load fully.

As per changes, I had to fiddle around for a few minutes to notice anything new. El Capitan brings a new Notifications Center that seems like a feature taken straight from the iPad, with “Today” and “Notification” sections, as well as weather, clock and reminder widgets.

Split View is another iOS prop that made it to the desktop. It was a while before I knew how to run two apps at the same time, but I figured it out. As it happens on the iPad Air 2, you need two apps that support Split View.

Open Safari and view it on a full screen. Use three fingers on the Mac’s trackpad and open, let’s say, Maps. Finally, do the three finger gesture again and drag maps to safari until you notice a “+.” After you drop the app, you will be able to see both Safari and Maps running side by side.

Split View looks useful, although it’s not what you would call a “novelty”. Some PCs have offered this feature for a long time.

Spotlight now enables you do Internet, Maps, and app searches, among other things. I looked for eliaspelcastre.com and got a Safari suggestion, while “Kanye West” prompted both Wikipedia and an iTunes Store results. (The Kanye West search delivered an in-Spotlight bio and top iTunes songs and videos.)

I know I have to keep using El Capitan for longer, but I had a first good impression. The 2011 MacBook Pro ran considerably faster than before, and I don’t regret installing the update. At least for now.

Did you install Mac OS X El Capitan? What do you think of the update?