macOS 10.12 Sierra - Everything you need to know!

In 2016, Apple released the Mac operating system Sierra with version number 10.12. It was presented as part of WWDC16, after which there were several Beta versions for testing by developers. macOS 10.12 Sierra was then rolled out to the public in autumn 2016. For example, the new APFS file system made its debut on a large number of Apple computers. The same was only with macOS 10.13 High Sierra to the standard for SSD storage. Other big changes - along with the transition from OS X to macOS - were the arrival of Siri on the Mac, the redesign of the Photos app, unlocking the Mac with the Apple Watch, and more.

What's new in macOS 10.12 Sierra?

Probably the biggest change “under the hood” was that macOS Sierra introduced the new APFS file system for the first time. Since it was not yet mandatory for formatting the internal storage (Macintosh HD), the system released in 2016 remained compatible with some older Mac models. So even with those who work with the 32-bit version of the HFS+ file system. The changes that were noticeable when actively using macOS Sierra were more visible: Siri on Mac, the new Photos app, a redesigned client for iMessage, iCloud storage optimization and tabs in a large number of apps. So much has been done to modernize the Mac operating system.

But the interaction of Apple devices was also promoted. For example, the update to macOS 10.12 Sierra made it possible to unlock the Mac with the Apple Watch. Another major innovation also came with a later update on the Mac. Because thanks to macOS 10.12.4, the use of the Internet recovery function allows. With this, an operating system can be loaded from the Internet and installed independently of the existence of previous installations. This is e.g. B. necessary when a new, empty hard drive replaces the previous Macintosh HD. It also makes an installation DVD unnecessary. The disadvantage: a fast internet connection is required.

In addition to the introduction of the Siri voice assistant, the revision of the Photos app (including face and person recognition) and iMessage, as well as interaction with the Apple Watch, there were other innovations in macOS 10.12 Sierra. This is how Apple Pay was approved for use in Safari. However, payments had to be verified via iPhone, Touch Bar on the then new MacBook Pros or via Apple Watch. The iCloud Drive allowed for faster sharing of files and folders with server storage. A picture-in-picture function has been introduced for videos. The Gatekeeper for protection against malware in apps downloaded outside of the Mac Store was used for the first time.

Here is more information about macOS 10.12 Sierra for the Apple Mac:

These Mac models are compatible with macOS Sierra

There are several lists for the compatible models of MacBook, MacBookAir, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, iMac and Mac Pro regarding macOS Sierra. As noted above, the option to use APFS (only 64 bit) and the associated functions was introduced with the operating system for the first time. Anyone who continued to use HFS+ (also 32-bit) could use Sierra on slightly older Apple computers. Furthermore, functions were added again and again with various updates, which always required newer hardware. Therefore you will find several lists below.

Minimum requirements for macOS 10.12 Sierra:

  • MacBook (Late 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer)
  • Mac mini (mid 2010 or later)
  • iMac (Late 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (mid 2010 or newer)

Requirement for Instant Hotspot, Handoff, Apple Pay on the web, AirDrop between iOS and macOS, Metal and cross-device clipboard:

  • MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (2012 or newer)
  • Mac mini (2012 or newer)
  • iMac (2012 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013)

Requirements for using AirDrop between two Macs:

  • MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Late 2008 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer)
  • Mac mini (mid 2010 or later)
  • iMac (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2009 with AirPort Extreme card)
  • Mac Pro (mid 2010 or newer)

For more compatibility lists specific to specific features of macOS Sierra, see the official data sheet of Apple's operating system. The minimum requirements for the iOS and watchOS devices that can be used with the cross-platform functions are also listed there.

Download macOS Sierra and create a boot stick

If you want to download macOS 10.12 Sierra, then you can find the system for compatible Mac computers among others with this link in the official App Store – or here as a dmg file. The 5 GB download requires a Mac with a 64-bit Intel chip and at least macOS 10.7.5 as the previously installed system version. You can also install macOS Sierra from scratch, i.e. not as an upgrade or downgrade of an existing system, with a boot stick. We published a few instructions for a macOS Sierra USB boot stick here on the blog a few years ago:

Buy macOS 10.12 Sierra Boot Stick

If you have to buy a new storage medium anyway to create the bootable USB stick with macOS Sierra, the alternative would be to buy a ready-made boot stick. One of these is currently available from Amazon for 16,99 euros, and even with Prime shipping. Here you come to the offer including the detailed product description and the reviews.

DS Systems Installation Boot Stick Compatible with MacOS 10.12 Sierra OS X Bootable Bootable USB...
  • Comes with detailed but easy to understand step-by-step instructions. Completely in German.
  • With this DS Systems USB (Type-A) boot stick it is possible to carry out a complete new installation on, for example, a...
  • Always check the system requirements beforehand. If in doubt, you can check compatibility...

Download macOS Sierra Wallpaper - Desktop Background in 5K and 6K

The various Mac operating systems are not only recognizable by their version number and name, but also by their default desktop background when they are running. The system macOS 10.12 Sierra was e.g. B. named after the mountain range "Sierra Nevada" in California. Accordingly, the wallpaper shows a few mountain peaks partially covered by snow and illuminated by the orange light of a sunrise. The whole thing is a bit reminiscent of the predecessor OS X 10.11 El Capitan, but can be differentiated from it easily enough. If you want to use the high-resolution macOS Sierra wallpaper on a new Mac, it's very easy.

At 512pixels you will find all standard backgrounds from Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah and 10.1 Puma. And these aren't pixelated screenshots of old iBooks, but 5K and 6K versions that look great even on the very latest high-resolution displays. Up to High Sierra there is only one image each, from Mojave onwards there is one image for the light mode and one for the dark mode. Away macOS 11 BigSur there are four images, since the transition to the new systems with photos and digital creations was heralded there. You can find the Mac wallpaper collection by 512pixels with this link.

macOS Sierra Manuals and Instructions

In addition to a few instructions, advice and help for macOS Sierra here in the blog, you will find further introductions to the system and troubleshooting in Apple's support documents. There are also printed manuals and a few Kindle eBooks on Amazon. So if you're looking for a comprehensive macOS 10.12 manual, you'll find it there.

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.