macOS Monterey Overview Updated December 28, 2021

macOS 12 Monterey: New features, compatibility, release date

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92 'macOS Monterey' stories

June 2021 - December 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, which is going to be available later this year.

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 12.1 features

Here’s everything new with macOS 12.1:

SharePlay

  • SharePlay is a new way to share synchronized experiences in FaceTime with content from the Apple TV app, Apple Music, and other supported apps
  • Shared controls give everyone the ability to pause, play, rewind or fast forward
  • Smart volume automatically lowers the audio of a movie, TV show or song when you or your friends speak
  • Screen sharing lets everyone on a FaceTime call look at photos, browse the web, or help each other out

Apple Music Voice Plan

  • Apple Music Voice Plan is a new subscription tier that gives you access to all songs, playlists, and stations in Apple Music using Siri
  • Just Ask Siri suggests music based on your listening history and likes or dislikes
  • Play it Again lets you access a list of your recently played music

Photos

  • Memories has been redesigned with a new interactive interface, new animation and transition styles, and multiple image collages
  • New Memory types include additional international holidays, child-focused memories, trends over time, and improved pet memories

Messages

  • Communication safety setting gives parents the ability to enable warnings for children when they receive or send photos that contain nudity
  • Safety warnings contain helpful resources for children when they receive photos that contain nudity

Siri and Search

  • Expanded guidance in Siri, Spotlight and Safari Search to help children and parents stay safe online and get help with unsafe situations

Apple ID

  • Digital Legacy allows you to designate people as Legacy Contacts so they can access your iCloud account and personal information in the event of your death

TV App

  • Store tab lets you browse, buy, and rent movies and TV Shows all in one place

This release also includes the following enhancements for your Mac:

  • Hide My Email is available in the Mail app for iCloud+ subscribers to create unique, random email addresses
  • Stocks allows you to view the currency for a ticker and see year-to-date performance when viewing charts
  • Reminders and Notes now allow you to delete or rename tags

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

Hands-on 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. Its official launch is set to October 25.

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 December 25

If you opened up a brand new Mac for Christmas, you’ll likely be spending some time setting it up. Apple has done a great job of helping customers get their brand-new Macs up and running, but there are some tips and tricks to take it a step further. As you set up your new Mac, here are some handy tips and tricks to get it going at its full potential.

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macOS Monterey Stories December 17

A day after launching for developers, the first macOS 12.2 beta is now available for those in the public beta program. The update features a new native Apple Music app with faster search and scrolling, and a fix for scrolling in Safari with ProMotion on MacBook Pro.

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macOS Monterey Stories December 16

Apple on Thursday released the first beta of macOS Monterey 12.2 just a few days after the release of macOS 12.1 to all users. While the company didn’t provide any release notes for today’s update, it seems that Apple is finally rebuilding the Apple Music app as a full native macOS app.

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Following the release of macOS Monterey 12.1 to all users on Monday, Apple today released the first beta of macOS Monterey 12.2 to developers, as well as a beta version of macOS Big Sur 11.6.3.

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macOS Monterey Stories December 15

9to5Mac is brought to you by MacStadium. Migrate to M1 easier with Orka and MacStadium. Orchestrate macOS VMs with Kubernetes in a mixed cluster of M1 and Intel Macs. Watch the tech preview and sign up to be a beta participant.

One of the neat ways macOS Monterey upgrades Apple desktops and notebooks is turning them into AirPlay targets. Follow along for how to AirPlay to Mac including what hardware works with the new feature and how to enable it with older devices.

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macOS Monterey Stories December 14

Apple yesterday officially released macOS Monterey 12.1 for all users. However, the update, which comes with SharePlay, Apple Music Voice Plan, Hide My Email, and other enhancements, is not showing up for everyone – that’s what some M1 Mac users have been saying.

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macOS Monterey Stories December 13

After launching macOS 12.1 with a range of new features and changes just before the end of the year, a notable exclusion was Universal Control. While Apple originally said it would launch the feature “later this fall,” the company has now updated its website with a spring launch date.

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Apple has officially released its next major update for macOS Monterey. Version 12.1 comes with a number of new features and changes including SharePlay going live, updates for Photos and Messages, along with fixes for six major Mac bugs.

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macOS Monterey Stories December 10

9to5Mac is brought to you by MacStadium. Migrate to M1 easier with Orka and MacStadium. Orchestrate macOS VMs with Kubernetes in a mixed cluster of M1 and Intel Macs. Watch the tech preview and sign up to be a beta participant.

One of the hallmark new features available in macOS Monterey is Live Text. As Apple puts it, this features makes text “completely interactive in your photos,” allowing you to copy and paste it, use lookup, translation, and more. Head below for the full details on how Live Text works.

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Just three days after releasing the RC builds of iOS 15.2 and macOS Monterey 12.1, Apple on Friday released new updates to developers. iOS 15.2 RC 2 and macOS 12.1 RC 2 can now be downloaded on the Apple Developer website or as an OTA update.

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macOS Monterey Stories December 7

Along with releasing macOS 12.1 RC to developers today which gives us a preview of all the new features and changes coming to the public soon, the release notes for the update also include a list of important bug fixes, three of which affect the 2021 MacBook Pro.

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A week after seeding developers and public testers with macOS 12.1 beta 4, Apple has released the 12.1 RC ahead of a public launch. Notably, the macOS 12.1 release candidate doesn’t include support for the highly anticipated Universal Control feature.

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macOS Monterey Stories December 1

After launching the first macOS Monterey 12.1 beta at the end of October, Apple has seeded developers with macOS 12.1 beta 4. It arrives as Apple has slated the launch of Universal Control and SharePlay as coming “later this fall” for Mac with not much changing in this latest release.

Update 2:04 pm PT: Now available for public beta testers as well.

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macOS Monterey Stories November 30

Here’s how to fix the Adobe Creative Cloud ‘loading fonts’ bug on macOS Monterey

If you’re having trouble with fonts in Adode Creative Cloud after upgrading your Mac to macOS Monterey, you’re not alone. Follow along below for how to fix the Loading Adobe Fonts bug.

macOS Monterey Stories November 29

Not to be all “there’s a nasty bug with Group FaceTime in macOS 12” here, but there’s kind of a nasty bug with Group FaceTime in macOS 12. I’m sure it’s on Apple’s radar already without my feedback, but I only realized this weekend that it’s not just me. That part is a relief!

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Apple previewed its new cycle of operating systems in June during the WWDC21 keynote. With iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, macOS Monterey, and tvOS 15, the company promised tons of new features.

Now that all these systems are available to the public, there are some features that are still a ways away from launching. Here are they.

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macOS Monterey Stories November 16

9to5Mac is brought to you by CleanMyMac X. Find hidden junk, large old folders, unused apps, and heavy memory consumers. You can also use CleanMyMac X to remove malware, unwanted pop-ups, and virus extensions. Try it for free

One of the subtle and valuable additions with macOS Monterey (and iOS 15) is an upgraded password manager in Safari. While there’s not a standalone app yet, a major improvement is the ability to generate and autofill two-factor authentication (2FA) codes. Let’s look at how to use the Safari password manager and 2FA features in macOS Monterey.

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After launching the first macOS Monterey 12.1 beta at the end of October, Apple has seeded developers with macOS 12.1 beta 3. It arrives as Apple has slated the launch of Universal Control and SharePlay as coming “later this fall” for Mac.

Update 1:07 pm PT: The macOS 12.1 public beta 3 is also now available.

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macOS Monterey Stories November 15

PSA: Monterey app memory leak isn’t just caused by an accessibility feature

The Monterey app memory leak affecting many Mac users is being blamed by some on a specific accessibility feature – but that isn’t the sole cause …

macOS Monterey Stories November 13

In this hands-on video walkthrough, I’ll show you how to turn an eligible USB drive, one that you may already have laying around the house, into a handy macOS Monterey install disk. This is useful for facilitating upgrades to Monterey across multiple Mac computers. Be sure to subscribe to 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Mac-centric guides, tutorials, and how-tos.

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macOS Monterey Stories November 10

After launching the first macOS Monterey 12.1 beta at the end of October, Apple has seeded developers with macOS 12.1 beta 2. It arrives as Apple has slated the launch of Universal Control and SharePlay as coming “later this fall” for Mac.

Update 11/10: The second macOS 12.1 beta is now available for public testers.

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macOS Monterey Stories November 5

9to5Mac is brought to you by CleanMyMac X. Find hidden junk, large old folders, unused apps, and heavy memory consumers. You can also use CleanMyMac X to remove malware, unwanted pop-ups, and virus extensions. Try it for free.

Apple features a redesigned Safari with macOS Monterey but as it happens, the biggest UI change isn’t seen with the default version. Let’s jump into what’s changed, what’s new, and how Safari in macOS Monterey looks and works.

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macOS Monterey Stories November 4

Apple released macOS Monterey last week, one month after iOS 15, iPadOS 15, tvOS 15, and watchOS 8. Even though the operating system took a bit longer to arrive for general users, the company still had to postpone some features for this release, such as SharePlay and Universal Control.

Apart from all of that and the release of the powerful new MacBook Pro last month, I must say that I’m relieved by macOS Monterey, which has my 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro running faster while improving battery life.

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macOS Monterey Stories November 3

9to5Mac is brought to you by CleanMyMac X. Find hidden junk, large old folders, unused apps, and heavy memory consumers. You can also use CleanMyMac X to remove malware, unwanted pop-ups, and virus extensions. Try it for free

macOS Monterey has officially been released to the public after four months of beta testing. In addition to headlining new features such as SharePlay, there are handful of new privacy features as well. Head below as we round up the top new privacy features in macOS Monterey and how to use them…

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