macOS Monterey Is Now Available, Here's What You Can Expect
Apple has just released macOS Monterey, the latest version of the Mac operating system, which has been in public beta over the last few months. The software is now available for download starting today on compatible Macs with Apple and Intel chips.
The free software update, of course, comes with a host of new features and functionalities that are worth checking out. Here are some of them:
Monterey adds a new Quick Note feature which allows you to jot down notes without having to open the Notes app. You can create a Quick Note any time by simply pressing a keyboard shortcut (Fn+Q) or hovering your cursor to the bottom right corner of the screen while holding down the Cmd key. Once created, you can add text, links and photos, among others. Your Quick Notes are then saved in a new section in the Notes app, where they can be accessed across different devices.
The new software also brings some updates to the popular video chat app FaceTime. One of which is the option to view group chats in a grid layout, similar to Zoom. Additionally, you can now create links for calls, which you can send to people with who you want to participate. During calls, you can enable a portrait mode effect to blur out your background. There are also a couple of new audio modes to make your calls sound better.
What’s more, FaceTime on macOS Monterey will be getting the same SharePlay features on iOS devices. However, it’s not ready yet and will be rolled out at a later date. SharePlay lets you virtually watch videos or listen to music together with your friends or family via FaceTime.
AirPlay to Mac
Monterey finally gives you the ability to AirPlay content from your iPhone or iPad to your Mac. AirPlay is Apple’s wireless communication protocol that allows you to stream and mirror your device’s display on another device. You can also AirPlay between two Macs. The feature works both wirelessly or wired with a USB-C cable. Wired connections expectedly reduce latency and can make the stream smoother.
AirPlay to Mac only works with 2018 or later MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models, along with 2019 or later iMac, Mac Pro, iMac Pro and 2020 or later Mac mini.
Focus is essentially an enhanced version of Do Not Disturb, wherein your Mac blocks out notifications unrelated to what you’re currently doing. You can create custom Focus modes that let you choose the apps and the people that can contact you. For instance, you can create a "Work" mode, where only apps that you use for work can send you notifications. When you enable Focus on your Mac, it can be automatically synced across all your other Apple devices.
Tab Groups in Safari
With the addition of tab groups in Safari, you can now bunch different tabs together to make your browser look more organised. You can do this by holding the Cmd key while clicking on a tab, which will then give you the option to move the tab to a group. You’ll find your created tab groups on the left side of your Safari interface, where you can revisit them later.
First introduced in iOS 12, Shortcuts finally comes to macOS with Monterey. Here, you can combine different actions into a single command and it works the same way as before. Simply open the Shortcuts app on your Mac and you can start using pre-made actions or create your own.
Restoring your Mac to factory settings is also a lot easier now than it was before. Monterey adds the option to erase all content and settings without the need to reinstall the entire operating system, the same way you would on an iPhone or iPad.
Universal Control is a feature that lets you control multiple Macs and iPads using only one keyboard and mouse. The only conditions are the devices have to be next to each other, are on the same WiFi network and use the same Apple ID. Think of them like connected displays, where you can also drag and drop files between devices. However, this feature is not available yet, with Apple saying it’ll arrive sometime in the fall.
To install the latest update, go to your Mac’s System Preferences, then click Software Update. If you’re running a compatible Mac device, the option to install Monterey should show up. If it doesn’t, try checking back later as the rollout continues.
Written by Kyle Chua