OS X El Capitan now available as a free download for most Mac owners

OS X El Capitan, the latest version of the Mac desktop operating system, is now available as a free download for all Macs running Yosemite. The 6GB update can be found in the App Store under "Updates". Apple says all Macs introduced from 2009 onwards are capable of running El Capitan, as are a few older models from 2007 and 2008. The complete list is as follows:

MacBook (early 2015)
MacBook (late 2008 aluminium, or early 2009 or newer)
MacBook Pro (mid-/late 2007 or newer)
MacBook Air (late 2008 or newer)
Mac mini (early 2009 or newer)
iMac (mid-2007 or newer)
Mac Pro (early 2008 or newer)

As with iOS 9, El Capitan is a smaller, incremental update designed to bolster OS X’s usability.  

"For El Capitan, we focused on two major areas – experience and performance," said Apple's head of software Craig Federighi when unveiling the new operating system in June. "We wanted to build on the strengths of Yosemite with some great refinements and advancements."

While El Capitan is light on new features – especially when compared to Yosemite – it will include a new version of Safari with the ability to pin frequently used tabs, advanced search options supporting natural language queries such as "documents I edited last June", and improved windows management with a split screen interface similar to that found in Windows 7 onward.

In terms of performance, Apple claims apps open up to 1.4 times faster in El Capitan, app switching is up to twice as fast, and PDF files open up to four times faster using Preview.

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