It's hard to get excited about software upgrades. The pop-ups inevitably interrupt something important you're doing, they take forever and a day to install, and anything that forces you to restart your computer is a pain in the ass. But Apple's OS X El Capitan, which dropped late last week, offers some slick upgrades that are well worth it. Here are nine reasons to give it a go right now.
Multitask with a split screen
Thanks to the new Split View feature, you no longer have to waste precious time sizing app windows so they'll fit side by side. Instead, they'll adjust themselves automatically if you press and hold the green expand button. Select which windows you want side by side, then narrow or widen them to your liking. Embrace efficiency, people.
Find your hidden cursor instantly
Say goodbye to those moments of panic when you can't seem to spot the tiny arrow cursor on your crowded desktop and furiously brush your finger in every direction across the trackpad. Now, a quick two to three shakes of the mouse will expand the arrow so it's easy to spot.
Send step-by-step directions to your phone
In keeping with its total overhaul of the outrageously lackluster Maps app for iOS 9, Apple's unveiled its updated version in El Capitan as well. The new version is complete with detailed transit directions, which you quickly send to your phone for easy access on the go. Simply plot your route, then hit the share button and select "Send to iPhone."
Turn off audio coming from mystery tabs
Forget searching for whatever tab a miserable ad is auto playing from, because the new Safari features the option to mute a single tab (or all of them) by clicking the volume icon inside the browser's URL window.
See less of the wheel-of-death thanks to performance enhancements
Thanks to some big behind-the-scenes improvements, you should also notice much speedier load times for things like launching and switching apps, opening PDFs, and accessing email. Though should you end up with that troublemaking spinning rainbow, you'll at least be looking at a visually improved version, since they updated the look of that, too.
Be more productive with the Notes app
The Notes app just got legitimately useful. It has a suite of new features that allows you to integrate checklists, photos and videos, maps, website links, and more in one central location, while that information automatically gets shared to all of your other devices via iCloud. Excuses for dropping the ball on your next party plan or work project have officially run out.
Manage your email like a boss
If you use Apple Mail, you’ll be happy to know El Capitan brings with it a bunch of shiny new additions, including an easier way to juggle multiple messages simultaneously, the ability to instantly add new contacts and events, and a quicker swipe-to-delete function for messages, much like the one on your iPhone.
Organize your entire desktop in one swipe
The freshly streamlined Mission Control layout allows you to more easily manage your space. Simply drag any open window up toward the menu bar to get an at-a-glance view of everything open on your desktop, then drop individual windows into a new desktop to free up any clutter.
Search with natural language instead of file names
El Capitan comes with a smarter Spotlight search feature, which allows you to search for whatever you're looking for in "normal" language. So instead of typing in a specific file or program name, you can search using common words you would naturally use like "email from Bob last week" or "what I worked on last night." And now you can even ask questions about the weather or stock market.
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Joe McGauley is a senior staff writer for Thrillist who would gladly give whoever invented the auto-playing video ad a stern talking to.