macOS Monterey Overview Updated September 21, 2021

macOS 12 Monterey: New features, compatibility, release date

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48 'macOS Monterey' stories

June 2021 - September 2021

macOS 12 Monterey

macOS 12 Monterey received its first preview during the WWDC21 keynote. The Mac software focuses on productive features, with a new Shortcuts app, Universal Control, AirPlay to Mac, Safari updates, and more. Here’s everything about Apple’s latest macOS update.

New features in macOS 12 Monterey

With the release of the macOS 11 Big Sur in 2020, Apple gave the Mac software a redesign in years. With a neo-skeuomorphic UI, macOS Big Sur introduced a new Control Center and Notification Center, revamped Safari and iMessage apps, and more.

Now, with macOS 12 Monterey, Apple is refining the Big Sur experience with a redesigned Safari, Universal Control feature, AirPlay to Mac, and much more.

Universal Control

How Universal Control works

macOS 12 Monterey brings Universal Control, which allows the user to easily use an iPad with a Mac, as the keyboard and mouse seamlessly move over to each device.

It’s possible, for example, to drag a Procreate logo on the iPad to a Final Cut project on the Mac. It uses Bluetooth beaconing, peer-to-peer Wi-Fi, and the iPad’s touchpad support to allow the devices to know they’re closer to one another. Learn more about Universal Control here.

As of now, in macOS Monterey beta 6, Apple didn’t release Universal Control yet.

Shortcuts app on macOS 12 Monterey

Apple called Shortcuts the future of automation on Mac, and the first steps in Monterey are part of a multi-year transition. Automator will continue to be supported in this release and Automator workflows can be imported into Shortcuts.

The app on the Mac looks similar to Shortcuts on the iPad. You can build new shortcuts, access existing shortcuts, and more. The Shortcuts app on the Mac also integrates with Spotlight, appears in Finder, supports multitasking, and increases with the Menu bar. 

FaceTime and SharePlay

FaceTime is receiving a lot of love from Apple with macOS 12 Monterey. The video call app will feature, for example, Spatial Audio. With this function, Apple says it creates a “sound field that helps conversations flow as easily as they do face to face.”

Another function available is Portrait mode in calls. With this on, you can blur your background and put the focus on yourself. It works exactly as it does on the iPhone camera.

With Voice Isolation mode it really isolates your voice from all the other noises and with Wide Spectrum mode, you can hear literally anything that’s happening in your friend’s surroundings.

FaceTime is also receiving the Grid view feature and with a FaceTime link, you can invite friends into a FaceTime call with a web link on Windows and Android devices.

With SharePlay, here’s everything you can do:

  • Watch together: Bring TV shows and movies to your FaceTime call
  • Listen together: Share music with friends
  • Shared music queue: When listening together, anyone in the call can add songs to the shared queue
  • Share your screen: Bring web pages, app, and more into your conversation
  • Synced playback: Pause, rewind, fast-forward, or jump to a different scene while in perfect sync with everyone else
  • Smart volume: Dynamically responsive volume controls automatically adjust audio so you can hear your friends even during a loud scene or climactic chorus
  • Multiple device support: Connect over FaceTime on the iPhone while watching video on the Apple TV or listening to music on the HomePod
  • Connect through audio, video, and text: Access the group’s Message thread right from the FaceTime controls and choose the mode of communication that matches the moment

AirPlay to Mac

AirPlay to Mac lets your Mac be an AirPlay destination, so you can quickly play content from your iPhone on your Mac’s display.

For the first time, the Mac can be used as a speaker for multiform audio, just as the HomePod can. AirPlay works both wirelessly and wired using USB. A wired connection is useful when you want to ensure that there’s no latency or you don’t have access to Wi-Fi.

Redesigned Safari

Safari also received a major redesign with macOS 12 Monterey. Here are some of the functions coming to the new Safari:

Streamlined tab bar: The streamlined tab bar takes up less room on the page and adjusts to match the colors of each site, extending your web page to the edge of the window.

Integrated Smart Search field: Search from your active tab with the integrated Smart Search field. Click the website’s name to expand and reveal the page’s full address or type your search right into the name field.

Tab groups: Intelligent Tracking Prevention now also prevents trackers from profiling you using your IP address.

Redesigned tabs: Tabs have a rounder and more defined appearance, making them easier to work with. Tabs fluidly adapt as you add more, shrinking or stretching to fit the page.

Redesigned sidebar: Manage your tab groups, bookmarks, Reading List, and Shared with You links in the redesigned sidebar.

iCloud Private Relay: iCloud Private Relay is a service that lets you connect to virtually any network and browse with Safari in an even more secure and private way. It ensures that the traffic leaving your device is encrypted so no one can intercept and read it. 

Safari’s new design caused a lot of controversies, which Apple slowly addressed, although it will remain with a new UI.

macOS 12 Monterey exclusive features to the M1 Macs

With macOS 12 Monterey, Apple is focusing a bunch of features only for the Mac with its own silicon. here’s everything exclusive to the M1 Mac mini, M1 MacBook Air, M1 MacBook Pro, and 24-inch iMac:

Portrait Mode on FaceTime: Only M1 Macs on macOS Monterey will be able to blur the background of a video call using FaceTime.

Maps: Interactive globe and detailed new city experience will only be available in the M1 Macs running macOS Monterey. With these two features, users will be able to interact with a 3D globe and explore cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and London with detail for elevation, roads, trees, buildings, landmarks, and more.

Object Capture: With macOS Monterey, users will be able to turn a series of 2D images into a photo-realistic 3D object that’s optimized for AR in just minutes using the power of Mac.

Siri: Neural text-to-speech voice in more languages is only available to the M1 Macs. With macOS Monterey, this feature will be available in more languages: Swedish (Sweden), Danish (Denmark), Norwegian (Norway), and Finnish (Finland).

On-device dictation: Keyboard dictation helps protect the user’s privacy by performing all processing completely offline. With macOS Monterey, users can dictate texts of any length without a timeout.

Previously, the Live Text in Photos feature, which gives users the ability to interact with text in photos, such as copy and paste, lookup, and translate, was only available for M1 Macs, but then Apple made it available to Intel Macs as well.

macOS 12 Monterey device compatibility

Here’s the full list of Macs compatible with macOS Monterey:

  • 2015 and later MacBook
  • Early 2015 and later MacBook Air
  • Early 2015 and later MacBook Pro
  • Late 2014 and later Mac mini
  • Late 2015 and later iMac
  • 2017 and later iMac Pro
  • Late 2013 and later Mac Pro

Hand-son with macOS 12 Monterey

Watch our hands-on video walkthrough as we step through over 100 macOS Monterey changes and features.

Release date: When will macOS 12 Monterey come out?

macOS 12 Monterey was introduced at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference,

The macOS 12 Monterey developer beta program started on the same day as the keynote, June 7. On the 1st of July, Apple released the public beta of macOS 12 Monterey and will be followed by a release to the general public in the fall, probably around September.

Apple is currently testing macOS 12 Monterey beta 6.

macOS 12 Monterey: here’s how to install the public beta version

Here’s how to install macOS 12 Monterey public beta:

  1. Make a fresh backup of your Mac in case you want to downgrade your device at any point
  2. On your Mac, head to Apple’s public beta website
  3. Click Sign In in the top right corner and sign in if you’re not already
  4. On the Guide for Public Betas page, choose macOS
  5. Scroll down under the Get Started section and click enroll your Mac
  6. Scroll down again and click Download the macOS Public Beta Access Utility
  7. Head to your Downloads folder and you should see the macOS Beta Access Utility
  8. Double-click it to mount the utility disk image, now double-click the Access Utility.pkg to install the macOS beta profile on your Mac
  9. The System Preferences > Software Update window should launch automatically with the macOS 12 Monterey beta appearing, click Download (almost 12GB in size)
  10. When the download is complete, you’ll see a new window to install macOS Monterey, click Continue

macOS Monterey Stories September 22

macOS Monterey beta 7 is now available for developers. As we move toward a fall release, one main feature we haven’t seen fully available to test is Universal Control. We’ll see if it officially shows up in beta 7 along with any other changes.

Update 9/22: The latest Monterey beta is now available for public testers too.

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macOS Monterey Stories August 31

macOS Monterey beta 6 is now available for developers. As we move closer to a fall release one big feature we haven’t seen fully available to test is Universal Control. With macOS Monterey beta 4, Apple said in the release notes that Universal Control had been enabled before the mention was quickly pulled. We’ll see if Universal Control arrives in beta 6 along with any other changes.

Update 8/31: Apple has made the most recent macOS Monterey beta available for public testers.

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macOS Monterey Stories August 29

macOS Monterey was announced in June at WWDC 2021 with a new feature called Universal Control, which will let users control an iPad or even another Mac using the keyboard and mouse of their main computer. Unfortunately, this feature was never made available to beta users, but a developer has now found a way to partially enable Universal Control in macOS Monterey beta 5.

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macOS Monterey Stories August 24

Apple this year announced at WWDC 2021 that the company will bring TestFlight to the Mac for the first time. The platform, which is currently available on iOS and tvOS, lets developers easily provide beta versions of their apps to users outside the App Store. Now it seems that Apple is finally getting ready to release TestFlight for macOS.

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macOS Monterey Stories August 12

Following a day after the macOS Monterey beta 5 for developers, the latest release has been made available to public beta testers. Unfortunately, the anticipated Universal Control feature still isn’t available to try out.

Update 10:52 am PT: Apple has also made the HomePod 15 beta 5 available today.

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macOS Monterey Stories August 11

With macOS Monterey beta 4, Apple said in the release notes that Universal Control had been enabled before the mention was quickly pulled. macOS Monterey beta 5 is now available for developers and hopefully, the anticipated new feature is live for the first time.

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macOS Monterey Stories August 10

With macOS Monterey, Apple had redesigned the Safari experience with a new tab bar. If you don’t like how it looks, you can change between “Compact” and ‘Separate” designs.

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macOS Monterey Stories August 8

Last month, Apple launched the Beta Software Program for all users who want to preview iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS 12 Monterey, watchOS 8, and tvOS 15. Now, the the company is looking to expand beta testers and is sending emails to those subscribed to the beta program to try out its latest public betas.

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macOS Monterey Stories July 28

Just one day after seeding the fourth macOS Monterey beta to developers, the latest build is now available for public beta testers. Apple at first said Universal Control was enabled in the release notes but then removed it. However, Apple has turned on Live Text support for Intel Macs in the new Monterey beta.

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macOS Monterey Stories July 27

One of the sharp new features with macOS Monterey and iOS 15 is the ability for the Photos app to automatically recognize and let you interact with text in images. However, that was originally going to be limited to M1 Macs. Now with the fourth beta, macOS Monterey enables Live Text for Intel Macs.

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A week after seeding beta 3, Apple has released macOS Monterey beta 4 to developers today. Last time around we saw a major change to Safari’s default design moving away from the unified search/tab bar. With beta 4, Apple says the exciting Universal Control feature has been enabled and Live Text comes to Intel Macs.

Update 11:30 am PT: Apple has now pulled the mention of Universal Control being live in beta 4.

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macOS Monterey Stories July 16

Following shortly after Apple seeded developers with the third macOS Monterey beta, the latest release has been made available for public testers today. The new macOS Monterey beta includes a notable change in the default Safari tab design – reverting from the new unified search and tab bar in the previous betas, and more.

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macOS Monterey Stories July 14

Apple brought major changes to Safari in both macOS Monterey and iOS 15 with the first two beta releases. Now with the third beta, Apple has taken a step back with the Safari design after hearing criticism from those testing the software. Here’s a look at the revised default tab bar, updated toolbar options, and more in Safari with macOS Monterey beta 3.

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Apple has released the third beta of macOS Monterey to developers today. The release comes after beta 2 fixed a wide range of bugs and included new screensavers, wallpapers, and some other minor tweaks. We’ll be on the lookout to see if the anticipated Universal Control feature is live in the third beta.

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macOS Monterey Stories July 8

One of the new features announced at WWDC 2021 with iOS 15 and macOS Monterey is iCloud Private Relay, which basically functions as an extra layer of security that ensures users’ privacy while browsing the web. Meanwhile, advertising companies are concerned about how Private Relay could put an end to fingerprinting.

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macOS Monterey Stories July 7

Now that the macOS 12 Monterey public beta is available, it’s a good time to consider whether or not you’ll make the jump to Apple’s latest beta update for Mac. Although I definitely don’t recommend running Monterey on a production machine used for work, you can install Monterey on a spare machine or a separate APFS volume. Watch our hands-on video walkthrough as I step through over 100 macOS Monterey changes and features.

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macOS Monterey Stories July 5

Among all the new features in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, Apple has introduced some great changes to its Notes app. However, if you have already installed the latest versions of the operating systems on your devices, be aware that some of the notes will not show up on earlier versions of iOS or macOS.

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macOS Monterey was previewed during the WWDC21 keynote ahead of its release to the general public later this fall. Now that the public beta version has been released, we want to know: what’s your favorite feature in the latest version of macOS?

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macOS Monterey Stories July 2

Apple this week released the first public betas of its upcoming operating systems iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, macOS Monterey, and tvOS 15. Are you planning to test these new systems?

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macOS Monterey Stories July 1

Want to check out everything new in macOS Monterey like Universal Control, FaceTime’s SharePlay, the new Focus mode, Shortcuts app, Live Text, all-new Safari, and more? Read along for how to install macOS Monterey public beta or developer beta.

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After seeding the second beta to developers this week, Apple has officially launched the public beta for macOS Monterey. The new software is available to test out for free and comes with new features like FaceTime’s SharePlay, AirPlay to Mac, Focus mode, the Shortcuts app, and much more.

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macOS Monterey Stories June 28

Apple this year introduced a completely redesigned version of Safari with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey. However, some users didn’t like this new design, which resulted in people discovering a trick to revert Safari to the old look. Unfortunately, this no longer works in macOS Monterey beta 2.

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Apple today officially released the second beta of macOS Monterey to developers, coming several days after the release of iOS 15 beta 2 and three weeks after the release of the first macOS 12 beta. Today’s release of macOS Monterey beta 2 brings a few notable changes, including Safari tweaks, new screensavers, and more.

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Three weeks after launching the first macOS Monterey beta, Apple has seeded developers with the second. Hopefully, we’ll see the new Universal Control and SharePlay go live in this beta release alongside other new Monterey features that we’ve been able to try out since the first beta like the Shortcuts app, all-new Safari, Focus mode, Quick Notes, AirPlay to Mac, and more.

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