macOS High Sierra vs macOS Sierra Comparison Review

Each time a new operating system arrives, a ubiquitous head-to-head battle comes: is the new one any better than the previous one? Is upgrading worth the effort?

Today we’re going to answer these questions (and a few more) regarding the new macOS 10.13 High Sierra and its older twin, macOS Sierra. We’ll drill into new features worth upgrading and the downsides if you decide to install macOS High Sierra Beta. At the same time, we’ll have a closer look at the regular Sierra version, which may be strong enough to stick to many Mac users’ preferences.

So, let’s put all cards on the table and go for an unbiased macOS High Sierra vs. macOS Sierra comparison. After a bit of fact-checking, we’ll leave it to you whether or not to upgrade to macOS High Sierra Beta.

Reasons you should upgrade to macOS High Sierra Beta

The macOS 10.13 High Sierra packs a bunch of new features that promise more capabilities for gaming, virtual, and augmented reality. Then, a series of minor refinements capitalize on a better, faster, and more robust UI. Here’s why you should probably upgrade to macOS High Sierra.

A better file system

One of the main arguments for the macOS High Sierra is, undoubtedly, the improved file system, which has received a significant speed boost. As it is now called, the new APFS (Apple File System) completely reorganizes how data is stored and processed, making it easy for users to copy files faster. For instance, the new copying algorithm allows sending a file to a new location without storing both copies on a drive. The Time Machine has become more flexible and requires less drive space to operate. From now on, your files are better protected against accidental crashes, which is a strong selling point.

Enhanced graphics, VR, and AR in Metal 2

If you’re looking for just one reason to upgrade to macOS High Sierra Beta, this is it. Metal 2 is the improved technology wrapped around GPU settings and, basically, an accelerator for your apps. It’s a game-changer in macOS High Sierra, leveraging powerful tools for developers that can now benefit from external GPU support.

New high-end editing tools in Photos

The Photos app has evolved with a set of new tools for easy, in-depth editing — Curves, Selective Colors — just to name a few. Amusingly enough, you can now launch external editing tools, like Photoshop, right inside Photos. More live effects and a new sidebar to organize your collections should make photo business more fun in macOS High Sierra.

HD videos that take less space

The new macOS High Sierra also introduces tremendous space-saving techniques while maintaining the video quality as high as ever. High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) is finally supported, bringing video compression to the next level. To put it shortly, your smaller size videos will look super cool in Ultra HD.

Safari takes on speed

When run on macOS High Sierra, Safari could be the fastest browser ever invented. Period. Not to mention it also got safer and a lot less annoying by giving users more power to block their unwanted ads.

Siri gets smarter

Recently named the world’s most popular voice assistant, Siri has moved one grade up in macOS High Sierra. Compared to the previous OS, it speaks in a more natural voice and can even DJ at your parties. Well, at least create your favorite playlists and answer music-related questions.

Of course, these are just cherries on top of the new macOS 10.13 High Sierra. If you’re already converted by now and can’t wait to hit the Install button, some sobering points may change your mind.

Reasons you should stick with macOS Sierra (for now)

When analyzing the new features of macOS High Sierra, everything sounds great in theory. However, keep in mind that, for now, the download is only available to Apple Developers and is in Beta Version, which says a lot of possible issues and bugs will inevitably pop up.

What’s more, depending on how old your Mac is, it’s possible that it won’t be able to support all the improved capabilities that macOS High Sierra brings to the table. From this standpoint, if you’re not willing to risk your system to help Apple test High Sierra, you might be safer with regular macOS Sierra until the official version of macOS 10.13 High Sierra is released.

Most experts agree that the current update looks less of a breakthrough but rather a scrupulous rework under the hood. If you aren’t a software developer or a gamer, you might not even notice the difference.

And the last reason, 32-bit apps will no longer be supported in macOS High Sierra. It concerns quite a few apps (ones that don’t have a 64-bit version), but if some of your favorites are 32-bit, you are really out of luck.

Feature Comparison

macOS Sierra

macOS High Sierra
Size on drive4.78 GB
about 3 GB


Metal (API) basic

Metal 2, perfect for gaming


H.264 compression

H.265, 40% Ultra HD


Easy photo organization, face recognition

Built-in advanced editor, more effects added

File System

HFS+, used for 20 years

APFS, faster file operation

If you are not entirely convinced about switching and yet want your Mac to run better, you can look into more straightforward solutions. After all, upgrading your Mac’s OS is a big move, a die-and-reborn type — you cannot predict all possible risks. At the same time, most Macs require cleaning and optimization after some months of use, like repairing disk permissions or re-indexing Spotlight search. This way, you’ll boost the performance of your current OS.

How to speed up and optimize your Mac

Final tips before switching to macOS High Sierra

  1. Backup your most important data
  2. Remove junk from system folders — CleanMyMac X will do it in just minutes
  3. Update all your apps (by clicking Check for updates)
  4. Delete large & old files to free up drive space

CleanMyMac, the most famous Mac cleaning app globally, finds 74 GB of junk on an average Mac. And check this out it — you can clean 500 MB of system junk free of charge! Download it for free

Thanks for getting to the bottom of this article, folks. I hope it helps. Stay tuned!

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