macOS Monterey unveiled at WWDC21. Here’s what we know.

macOS Monterey

Apple announced macOS 12, which will now be known as MacOS Monterey. The new update comes with SharePlay, a new feature in FaceTime, lets users share experiences together, and Shared with You makes it easy to discover and enjoy content shared through Messages right in Photos, Safari, Apple Podcasts, Apple News, and the Apple TV app. A major update to Safari features a streamlined tab bar and tab organization with Tab Groups, Shortcuts comes to the Mac to automate everyday tasks, and Focus helps users stay on task and reduce distractions. Additionally, Universal Control and AirPlay to Mac are new Continuity features that offer more ways to work effortlessly across Apple devices.

Safari redesigned with new tab design and Tab Groups.

Safari has a new tab design that lets users see more of the page as they scroll. A new tab bar takes on the color of the webpage and combines tabs, the tool bar, and the search field into a single compact design. Tab Groups offer a new way to easily save and manage tabs, and also sync across Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

With Focus, Mac users can automatically filter out notifications unrelated to their current activity. Users can signal their status to let others know when they are focusing and not available. When a user has Focus set on one device, it automatically sets across their other devices and can be customized based on their current activity.

SharePlay on macOS Monterey

FaceTime now includes a suite of new audio and video features. With spatial audio, voices in a FaceTime call “sound like they are coming from where the person is positioned on the screen”, while Voice Isolation ensures the user’s voice is crystal clear and uses machine learning to eliminate background noise, and Wide Spectrum allows all the sound in the area to come through so participants can hear everything. Portrait mode taps into the Apple Neural Engine in the M1 chip to blur the user’s background for a stunning video effect, and a new Grid View shows participants in same-sized tiles.
SharePlay is a powerful set of system features that enables users to have shared experiences while on a FaceTime call. Users can share their music, TV shows, movies and projects. With an API built for easy adoption, third-party developers can bring their own apps right into FaceTime.
Shared with You will let users locate and enjoy all the great content that’s shared through Messages, including photos, videos, articles, from a Shared with You tab within Photos, Safari, Apple Podcasts, Apple News, and the Apple TV app.

Portrait Mode on FaceTime calls.

Apple also announced Universal Control on the MacOS Monterey which lets users work with a single mouse and keyboard and move between Mac and iPad seamlessly with no setup required. Users can even drag and drop content back and forth between devices.

Airplay has now been brought to the Mac. Users can play, present, and share just about anything from their iPhone or iPad right to their Macs. The Mac’s high-fidelity sound system can also be used as an AirPlay speaker, so users can play music or podcasts on their Mac, or use their Mac as a secondary speaker for multiroom audio.

Airplay on the Mac.

Additional new features announced include Live Text to detect text in photos, iCloud+ with new premium features including Hide My Email, and an innovative new internet privacy service, iCloud Private Relay, at no additional cost. AirPods Pro and AirPods Max deliver a theater-like experience with spatial audio on Macs with the M1 chip.
Privacy features like Mail Privacy Protection let users choose whether emails can collect information about their Mail activity, and the Mac recording indicator now shows which app is accessing the Mac’s microphone.

The developer beta of macOS Monterey is available to Apple Developer Program members starting today. A public beta will be available to Mac users next month. macOS Monterey will be available starting September as a free software update. macOS Monterey will support the “broadest lineup of Macs in history”, including the latest iMac, MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini, as well as Apple’s Intel-based Macs.

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Eddy Ndungu
Eddy Ndungu

Just another papercut survivor.

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