The next generation of Apple’s macOS operating system is now available.
macOS 12 Monterey
macOS 12 Monterey
New application features
FaceTime and SharePlay
Messaging – shared with you
Safari – tabbed groups
Notes – Quick Note
macOS 12 Monterey, unveiled in June 2021 at WWDC, is the current version of macOS, released on Monday, October 25. Compared to macOS Big Sur, macOS Monterey is a minor update, but there are still many noteworthy new features that enhance the Mac experience.
Universal Control is perhaps one of the most important updates, as it allows a single mouse, trackpad and keyboard to be used on multiple Macs and the iPad to move content between devices. There is also a new AirPlay to Mac option for streaming movies, games, photos, and more from the iPhone or iPad to the Mac, as well as the ability to use the Mac as a speakerphone for multi-room audio.
Safari has a new optional tab bar design that blends better with the background and Tab Groups to group open tabs and make it easier to switch between tasks without losing open tabs. Tab groups sync across all devices and can be shared.
FaceTime supports spatial audio, so voices appear to come from the person’s position on the screen, and voice isolation eliminates background noise. A wide-range audio mode is also available for calls with multiple participants in the same room. Portrait mode blurs the background behind you, as does the iPhone’s photo function.
With the new SharePlay feature, users can watch movies and TV shows, listen to music, and share their screen with friends and family in real time, all using FaceTime, with support for third-party apps as well. Share with You in Messages keeps track of user-submitted content by saving it to Photos, Safari, Podcasts, News Feed and Apple TV.
The iOS Shortcuts app will be extended to the Mac with macOS Monterey: All iPhone shortcuts (and more) will be available on the Mac. Apple has developed a gallery of predefined shortcuts and the Shortcuts app is built into macOS to use shortcuts from the menu bar, Finder, Spotlight, Siri and more.
Focus, which is also available for iOS, helps you stay focused. It offers modes for work, personal life and more, as well as customizable options. Focus essentially filters out notifications that have nothing to do with your current activity and tells you that you are unavailable. Focus set on one device syncs to all devices.
In the Notes app, there is a Quick Notes option, which allows you to take notes in any app or when visiting a web page, and Quick Notes supports shortcuts from different apps. Notes has new collaboration features with mentions, an activity view with edit history and tags for organization. The Maps app has an interactive world map that lets you explore different places on Earth.
With Live Text, Macs use machine learning on the device to recognize text in photos, which can be copied or otherwise edited, just like typed text. Visual Lookup uses machine learning to find details about animals, artwork, landmarks, plants and more in photos.
Apple has upgraded iCloud paid plans to iCloud+ and added iCloud Private Relay to hide browsing habits and IP address from third parties. iCloud+ also includes Hide My Email to keep email addresses private and expanded support for HomeKit Secure Video.
There are other important new privacy features, such as Mail Privacy, which prevents emails from using tracking pixels, and Mac Log Indicator, which lets you know if a Mac app is using your microphone.
On the Mac M1, third-generation AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max offer spatial audio, and there are new accessibility options. Note that some macOS Monterey features are limited to Mac M1s, such as live text, portrait mode for FaceTime, detailed maps, dictation using the device’s keyboard, and unlimited dictation using the keyboard.
After more than four months of fine-tuning with developers and public beta testers, macOS Monterey was made available to all users on Monday, October 25, 2021.
The current version of macOS Monterey is macOS 12.6, with security updates. The macOS 12.5 update adds support for the M2 chip, the ability to restart, pause, rewind and fast-forward a live sports game, and fixes an issue in Safari where a tab could revert to a previous page.
An earlier update, macOS 12.4, introduced controls for downloading podcast episodes, supports new firmware for Studio Display that improves webcam quality, and brings Universal Control out of beta.
macOS 12.3 added new emoji, removed Python 2, improved password storage, integrated Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking for Mac M1s, and introduced support for Universal Control. The update also appears to fix a Bluetooth-related battery drain issue on MacBooks in sleep mode, as well as a number of other bugs and security issues.
Universal Control: everything you need to know
Universal Control vs. Sidecar: What’s the difference?
Setting up Universal Control between Mac and iPad
Using Universal Control between Mac and iPad
Universal Control not working? Here’s how to fix the problem
Using Universal Control and Sidecar at the same time on macOS 12.3
Setting up or disabling Universal Control on a Mac
macOS 12.3: Adding notes to iCloud keychain entries
The latest update, macOS Monterey 12.1, added SharePlay, a feature already present in iOS, iPadOS and tvOS, and Hide My Email. Universal Control will not be present in macOS Monterey 12.1. The update fixes a bug in Safari that could leak browser activity.