Comparing Top 8 Features On Apple OS X Yosemite With Microsoft Windows 8.1


At WWDC, Apple today announced the next update for their desktop OS called OS X Yosemite. While OS X and iOS still remains the separate operating systems as opposed to Windows desktop and Windows Phone, Apple is trying to blur the lines with new iOS like features being added to OS X every year. Let us take a look at the new features announced in OS X Yosemite and how it compares to Microsoft Windows 8.1.

1) Redesigned and refined OS:  Yosemite redesigned and refined with a fresh modern look where controls are clearer, smarter and easier to understand with translucent elements reveal additional content in your app window. App icons have a clean, consistent design and an updated system font improves readability.

In Windows 8.1: Instead of modifying the existing the controls for old style desktop apps, Microsoft has included a whole new modern experience that offers great looks and functionality. Also, this whole translucency thing came to Windows years back and it is now outdated.

2) Notification Center: There is a new Today view in Notification Center gives you a quick look at everything you need to know with widgets for Calendar, Weather, Stocks, Reminders, World Clock and social networks.

In Windows 8.1: Microsoft does not have Notifications Center in Windows 8.1 as in OS X. But the concept of Live Tiles in Start Screen does the same purpose.

3) Spotlight: It appears front and center on your desktop and adds new categories of results, so you can view rich suggestions from Wikipedia, Maps, Bing, App Store, iTunes Store®, iBooks Store™, top websites, news and movie showtimes.

In Windows 8.1: The search experience in Windows 8.1 already offers these features. Also, the Bing visual search is hands down better than Spotlight.

4) iCloud Drive: iCloud Drive stores files of any type in iCloud®. iCloud Drive works like any other folder on your Mac, so you can drag documents into it, organize them with folders and Tags and search for them using Spotlight. With iCloud Drive, you can access all your files in iCloud from your Mac, iPhone, iPad® or even a Windows PC.

In Windows 8.1: OneDrive in integrated in Windows 8.1. It is a much better cloud storage solution than iCloud Storage with lot more features.

5) Safari:  A new streamlined design that, A new Favorites view gives you quick access to your favorite websites, and a powerful new Tabs view displays thumbnails of all your open web pages in one window. Safari also gives you more control over your privacy, with separate Private Browsing windows.

In Windows 8.1: The Internet Explorer in Modern user experience offers similar streamlined design and it includes Private Browsing  options as well.

6) Mail: With Markup you can quickly fill out and sign forms and even annotate images and PDFs from within Mail. Mail Drop allows you to easily send large videos, images or files up to 5GB from the Mail app to any email address.

In Windows 8.1: The default Mail app in Windows 8.1 does not have any feature like Markup. And users can use OneDrive to send files of size in GBs and share links via Mail app. But the experience is not integrated as seen on OS X Yosemite.

7) Messages: Has a new look, Now you can add titles to ongoing message threads so they are easy to find, add new contacts to ongoing conversations, or leave those conversations you no longer want to follow. With Soundbites you can create, send and listen to audio clips right in Messages.

In Windows 8.1: You have Skype as the default messaging application. It offers group chat, screen sharing, video messages and more.

8) Continuity features: In Yosemite, when your iPhone or iPad is near your Mac, Handoff lets you start an activity on one device and pass it to the other. Instant Hotspot makes using your iPhone’s hotspot as easy as connecting to a Wi-Fi network. Now the SMS and MMS messages that previously only appeared on your iPhone appear in Messages on all your devices.

In Windows 8.1: There is no continuity features between Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1. This is the area where you can expect from Microsoft in the coming months where they will try to catch up with Apple.


  • MaelN

    The continuity feature is really interresting, I hope MS will offer a feature-like soon.

    • VISU

      I do hope so, but doubt that will happen. MS is too busy making their products better on competing platforms than on Win8.1 or WP8.1
      I don’t see any big synergies happening between Win8 & WP8 anytime soon… The only thing we have is a crappy WIndows Phone App on Win8

      • MaelN

        Mmh, I don’t know. I don’t even know if this functionnality work with data connection and the cloud or if it’s just working when mac and iphone are close then perhaps with bluetooth or something else.
        If it work by the cloud, we could hope Nadella’s strategy (cloud first) will bring this kind of feature.

  • Zicoz

    I think Microsoft screwed up the search in Windows 8.1. I loved the search in Windows 8 where you could easily choose to search within different apps, you could type in Oslo and choose the “Maps” from the list of apps and it would open that app and find Oslo. The current one is just the same search we had in the old start menu + Bing.

    • jono

      totally agree

    • Angus

      Yes it searches the world for a local file, slowing the whole process down – unless you access the drop down menu and limit the search to Files. Right now Spotlight seems mighty quick by comparison.

      • Sourav Bagchi

        I think your hard disk is slow.

    • Vương Vi-Nhuyễn – 王微軟

      You do have in app searches, only they’re really well-hidden (as usual), Microsoft screws up by NOT removing any features, but hiding them so well that no-one can find ’em. (>_<)

      • Zicoz

        In app searches are not the same. Before I only had to press win+s, then write, and select the app to search within.
        Now I have to find the app, open the app, wait for it to load, locate the search button, and only then can I begin to search.
        The worst part is that I don’t se how they couldn’t have both the old and the new system at the same time. All they have to do is to add the list of apps to th search charm.

    • Sourav Bagchi

      In Windows 8 you had to open Bing app and then search Web but in Windows 8.1 it is a cool feature. But in all aps there is also a search option for search in that app.

      • Zicoz

        In 8 I could swipe in from the left, type “Berlin” then select “maps” and it would open the maps-app and locate Berlin. If I wanted to search the web for something all I had to do was press the Bing-app and it would do what it does now.
        The original implementation was a lot more useful as it had a much wider functionality.
        Some apps like LastPass still hasn’t been updated with an in-app search button so now I have to open the app, open charms bar, open the drop down menu, select LastPass and then search.

  • Mark Gibbs

    Microsoft really needs to work on Skype for windows 8.1 and the phone, they need to make Skype = messenger, intergraded into the people app like messenger was. And come on now, Skype needs to have all the desktop app features in the windows 8.1 app. I can’t believe I need the program to listen to voicemails … REALLY…

    • Vương Vi-Nhuyễn – 王微軟

      Yep, and Facebook, Yahoo!, Google+ Hangouts, and social integration like Windows Live Messenger still offeres today…

    • Cadaei Yuvxvs

      The syncing with Skype is also absolutely terrible. Online status, messages and notifications all get muddled up between the desktop and mobile apps. Microsoft needs to get the ‘continuity’ part right, especially with Nadella emphasizing his ‘mobile first, cloud first’ strategy.

  • hushv

    XP to win 8.1 have notification centers. It’s just not like phone. It’s on the taskbar.

    • Cadaei Yuvxvs

      That’s true, except it only works with exe applications. Integrating it with modern apps would probably make it more useful.

    • Sourav Bagchi

      Yeah there is a Action center.

  • jaylyric

    One of the only features that I really like from Apple today is the continuality feature. I’ve been thinking about something like that for awhile now,being the I’m always switching between my Windows Phone and my Surface. Microsoft has already demonstrated interactive apps.. It’s just hasn’t been released yet. I hope it gets pushed out before Apple releases IOS 8, that’ll piss Apple fans off…

  • Vương Vi-Nhuyễn – 王微軟

    Windows still looks better, I just wish that we had more continuity, it’s literally the entire reason I bought a Windows Phone in the first place, Belfiore parked up by saying ”phones aren’t P.C.’s” everyone before him thought they should be, now he finally changed his mind and we’ll have to wait even longer, universal applications and OneDrive + Internet Explorer synchronization does it all well, but it should feel seamless, that was the whole notion of having both a Windows P.C. and a Windows Phone.

  • tomakali

    Waiting for Windows ONE with my Xbox One and Windows Phone One

  • TV John

    Continuity: while it’s true that you can’t view SMS and MMS messages across Windows platforms, working with Office documents works very seamlessly.

  • awesomeepicguy123

    Hey author, what the hell are you smoking? Are you high or something? Because every reason that you gave to counter OS X Yosemite’s new features are complete crap.

    “OneDrive in integrated in Windows 8.1. It is a much better cloud storage solution than iCloud Storage with lot more features.”

    How can you judge iCloud Storage’s features before you’ve even used it? And it’s not like iCloud Storage isn’t integrated into OS X Yosemite.

    “Microsoft does not have Notifications Center in Windows 8.1 as in OS X. But the concept of Live Tiles in Start Screen does the same purpose.”

    They don’t do the same purpose. Notification Center is for getting a quick view on the Calendar, Mail, and other widgets you may have installed. Live Tiles are clunky and stupid, and that’s why nobody likes them.

    “Instead of modifying the existing the controls for old style desktop apps, Microsoft has included a whole new modern experience that offers great looks and functionality. Also, this whole translucency thing came to Windows years back and it is now outdated.”

    Windows 8 Metro may be “a whole new modern experience”, but its functionality is crap. Nobody likes it. And Windows never took translucency to the same level. And what are you saying how it’s old? Windows 8.1 still uses it everywhere.

    This article is complete BS and a disgrace to reporting.

    • Caleb Reece

      Oh, and IE is a joke. Ditto anything that begins with “Bing”.

      • awesomeepicguy123

        Quite true.

    • Sean D.

      I think you broke the internet with sheer fanboi stupidity. Wow…

      • awesomeepicguy123

        I’m not a fanboy. I just stated the facts. If you can’t deal with the truth, then go and bullshit somewhere else please.

      • Mac Guy3135

        I think yoy broke the internet with yoyr idiocy it’s his opinion, he’s entitled to it

    • Sourav Bagchi

      From XP to Windows 8.1 there is a action center in taskbar that acts as a notification center. I is not mobile, it is desktop…

  • Techgeek

    The iMessages app can send videos,self destructing messages,group chat,location sharing,
    The translucency feature came years back in Vista as Aero.But OS X has always had a bit of glossy transparency from Aqua(check the title bar of the app) also check terminal settings(you can make it transparent)
    Spotlight has had all the features included in windows 8 search for years, the Bing smart search was new in 8.1 which was included in Yosemite spotlight.
    But the Spotlight is and was more powerful tool: you can search for mail for instance by particular keyword, you can use spotlight as calculator,unit converter,dictionary(though you can use “Look-up”, you can have a preview of apps you search from spotlight without even opening the app.Spotlight also uses Bing now but without ads.
    OS X Terminal can be used to bring up spotlight results as well as index spotlight.
    In Windows 8.1 smart search can give results for natural language queries-this would have been a valid point.
    Mail- The whole concept of MailDrop was that it eliminates the layer of uploading it to the individual drive such as iCloud(Mac) or OneDrive(Windows) and then sending the URL, It doesnt warn that the file has exceeded its limit of maximum attachment size but rather uploads the attachment to the cloud and rendezvous at the receiver with the file which when clicked will be downloaded from the cloud right via the receivers mail- its all about taking out the middle step of individually uploading the file.
    The maximum file size for attachments in Outlook is 20mb.
    A valid point would have been that iCloud provides only 5GB free whereas in OneDrive its 7GB + 3BG(for a year if you are a student).
    Browser- Both Safari and IE had private browsing but in Yosemite it was about per tab basis private browsing,also the speed of safari in comparison to IE is actually better,IE does a good job in SunSpider but falls short in every other bench mark,most importantly HTML5 compatibility-where IE is the least for any browser,also WebGL support- Safari has always supported WebGL whereas IE11 partially supports WebGL.
    Initially I liked the concept of Live Tiles but then If I get to miss something in the live tiles I can’t see it again-that is the problem I face these days using Windows,most of the important things I miss out and every time I need information I have to switch view to metro.Also I get Live Tile info for only metro enabled apps-Microsoft has to seriously work on that.

    A better thing would have been to say that OneDrive allows for an extra 3GB when you backup your camera roll.
    Though iWork on iCloud is available the features in the cloud version is very limited than the full desktop version.
    MS Office on OneDrive has a full fledged web app equal to the desktop version.
    Split screen multitasking is a good feature in Windows would be a good point.
    There are a lot of things good in each platform, Internet is about spreading information,half baked information as this article which is a bit biased is dangerous.
    I use both Windows 8.1 and Mac OS X everyday.It would be good to have a healthy comparison than a biased one.
    It would be great to see fully established facts and comparisons and gain knowledge about platforms. :)

  • Sourav Bagchi

    If there is a option in Windows 8.1 for download more animated Start Scree, it will be great.

  • LA Stone

    In terms of desktop use, Windows seems to have stopped progressing with Vista. OS X on the other hand gets better and better with each update for desktop users. Microsoft is solely focused on making sure that desktop users can’t escape apps, app store, and Bing! But there’s almost nothing new to improve productivity on the desktop since the days of Windows Vista or Windows 7. Microsoft wasted the entirety of Windows 8 on apps or Metro. OS X Yosemite has all these little tweaks and a wonderful new improvement in the desktop mail program. Where’s the desktop mail program on Windows? Windows Live Essentials? I’ve been using that for years because it’s better than the 3rd party stuff but it is a far cry from Apple Mail program. Every program included in Windows is a far cry from anything included with OS X. What is Microsoft thinking? Why haven’t they copied some of all this goodness. Beginning with the very first OS X, Microsoft should have changed gears right there. Instead, they continued with that same design from Windows 98 or something. And now, they seem to think that nothing needs to be done to improve the desktop experience. Now, we should suddenly become interested in apps and Bing rather than having a better experience with our desktop programs. My mind and heart are solidly with Apple at this point but my work is going to keep me tied to Windows for a while longer.

  • view2share

    No, Tiles is not the same as a Notification Center. The OneDrive is a very good service – neat features. The Mail is nowhere near as good in Windows as it is in OS X and the same can be said of Calendar. Windows ability to scale up fonts system-wide, for those using higher resolutions, is a real plus. IE and Safari are not leading browsers — look to Chrome and Firefox. New IE is said to look a lot like Chrome — will still lack extensions / add-ons / apps of Chrome and Firefox, however.