macOS Monterey Overview Updated June 14, 2021

macOS 12 Monterey: New features, compatibility, release date

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18 'macOS Monterey' stories

June 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.

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 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. 

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.

Live Text in Photos: Gives users the ability to interact with text in photos, such as copy and paste, lookup, and translate. Live Text will work in Photos, Screenshot, Quick Look, and Safari.

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.

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

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. In July, Apple will release the public beta of macOS 12 Monterey and will be followed by a release to the general public in the fall, probably around September.

macOS Monterey Stories June 11

FaceTime got a lot of attention this week, thanks to the new features that are part of iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, which includes screen sharing with friends, live Portrait Mode, better noise cancellation, and even a web version. I was able to try FaceTime on the web for the first time with my 9to5Mac colleague José Adorno, so read on for a first look at how it works on the web.

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One of the headlining features of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, tvOS 15, and macOS Monterey is a new SharePlay platform. This allows you to watch videos, listen to music, and more with friends and family over FaceTime. While the feature is not live in the first betas released this week for Apple’s first-party apps, it’s there for developers to tap into.

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macOS Monterey Stories June 10

Apple this week introduced macOS Monterey at WWDC, and it brings a variety of new features to Mac users. One of the most anticipated changes is that the Shortcuts automation app is now available on the Mac. In a new interview on Relay FM’s Mac Power Users podcast, Apple’s Vivek Bhardwaj talked more in-depth about Shortcuts on the Mac and how it integrates with other Mac automation tools like Automator.

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Apple announced iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey earlier this week at WWDC 2021, but we keep discovering new features that weren’t mentioned by the company during the event. This year, iPad and Mac users will finally get a Low Power Mode to save battery life, just like on the iPhone.

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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 developer beta.

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macOS Monterey Stories June 9

While macOS Monterey (also known as macOS 12) brings several new features for users, the update also comes with significant improvements for developers with brand-new APIs that enable new possibilities for third-party apps. One of the new APIs is “Object Capture,” which will let users easily create 3D models of any object using the iPhone camera.

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