Apple announced macOS Monterey, the next major software update for Mac during its virtual Worldwide Developer Conference or WWDC 2021 opening keynote event on Monday. Building on Big Sur, Monterey is bringing a set of new Continuity features including “Universal Control” and AirPlay support, a revamped tab design in Safari with “Tab Groups”, and quick “Shortcuts.” Apple says Monterey will support the “broadest lineup of Macs in history” including its new badge of M1 iMac, MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini, in addition to existing Intel-based Macs.
The developer preview of macOS Monterey is now available to Apple Developer Program members, and a public beta will be available in July. The final version will be rolled out sometime in September.
Compatible Mac models include iMac late 2015 and later, iMac Pro 2017 and later, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro early 2015 and later, Mac Pro late 2013 and later, Mac Mini late 2014 and later, and MacBook early 2016 and later.
“macOS Monterey is packed with features that help Mac users get more done, connect with friends and family in amazing new ways, and work across Mac and iPad more seamlessly than ever before,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, said, adding “We think our customers are going to love browsing the web with Safari’s new tab design, enjoying shared experiences with SharePlay in FaceTime, and using their Mac and other Apple devices together in new ways with Universal Control and AirPlay to Mac.”
Here’s a quick look at all the top features coming to your Mac with macOS Monterey:
Universal Control and AirPlay
Possibly the most intriguing features of Monterey, Universal Control will allow users to work with a single mouse and keyboard and seamlessly move between Mac and iPad “with no setup required.” Federighi dragging and dropping content back and forth between an iPad, MacBook and iMac was probably one of the most magical tech demos we have seen from Cupertino in a long time. Monterey is also – finally – bringing AirPlay to Mac allowing users to access content from their iPhone or iPad straight to Apple computers.
Apple is making browsers look great again with Monterey through a new tab design with enhancements like “tab bar” combining tabs, tool bar and search together, and “Tab Groups” to save them for easy access later.
Apple is bringing a “rich gallery of pre-built actions” to Mac with Monterey to automate everyday tasks, something that’s pretty common on Windows machines and even the iPhone and iPad. Power users will be able to also build their own using a new “Shortcuts Editor.” Apple says these shortcuts will work across the menu bar, Finder, Spotlight, and even hands-free with Siri.
Apple is introducing a new “Quick Note” feature with Monterey that will allow users to jot down notes on any app/website quickly across the system and also add links for context. An “Activity View” feature will allow users working on shared notes to see everyone’s edits. Tags and mentions are also incoming.
Apple is bringing Mail Privacy Protection to Mac with Monterey that will allow users to hide their IP address and location from the sender while also keeping them from knowing if their email was opened. A new Mac recording indicator will also show them which app is accessing their microphone.
Other notable updates
- Apple is adding spatial audio and new microphone modes including voice isolation and wide spectrum to make FaceTime calls on Mac feel more natural. Drawing some inspiration from Zoom, Apple is also bringing grid view and portrait mode to FaceTime. Another FaceTime feature called SharePlay will allow users to simultaneously watch and listen to content as well as share their screen with others.
- “Focused” notifications in Monterey will seemingly reduce distractions and help users “be in the moment” through filtered notifications from contacts and apps based on the profile they set (work/sleep/do not disturb). Their status will also be visible to others in Messages, so they’ll know when the user is not reachable.
- Another feature called “Live Text” will allow users to highlight text in photos – this could be phone numbers, websites, addresses, and tracking numbers – and act, accordingly, say for instance, copy a phone number or Wi-Fi password. Apple says Live Text will work locally on-device. Another feature called “Visual Look Up” will allow users to add more context to photos.