The 5 biggest features in macOS Monterey

Everything you need to know about Apple’s free Mac update coming this fall.

Apple’s virtual WWDC 2021 just wrapped. As expected, we got mild updates in the form of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and... macOS.

The new version of macOS is called... Monterey.

Features announced for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 like grid view, Portrait mode, and clearer voice quality for FaceTime, and SharePlay, which lets callers watch movies or listen to music together are making their way to macOS Monterey.

5. Quick Notes

Announced for iOS 15, Quick Notes is also available on Monterey. With it, you can quickly jot down a note to keep those million dollar ideas from fleeting.

4. Shortcuts

Power users love Automator, the Mac’s automation app. Apple’s transitioning the Mac’s automation to Shortcuts to mirror the iPhone and iPad’s Shortcuts app.

“Shortcuts is all about helping you get more done. Faster.”

Craig Federighi, Apple SVP of software engineering

Apple says Shortcuts are weaved all over macOS Monterey, in places like Finder, Spotlight, the menu bar. Siri also can activate them just like on iOS.

3. AirPlay to Mac

Own an iPhone or iPad and want to beam it over to a Mac? Now you can with AirPlay on Mac. It works just like AirPlaying to an Apple TV connected to a TV.

Beam your music over to your Mac and use its better speakers.

2. Universal Control

Expanding on macOS’s “Continuity” feature, Universal Control lets you use a single mouse and keyboard to move between iPad and Macs.

As soon as you set your iPad next to a Mac running Monterey, the two magically connect and — boom — you can move the cursor from your Mac to iPad and vice versa. The cursor transforms from an arrow to a circle when it’s dragged from Mac to iPad. It looks pretty cool!

If you’ve got a MacBook or Magic Trackpad, you can use multi-touch to activate gestures on an iPad.

Your Mac’s keyboard works on iPad, too. Basically, there’s no need to buy a Magic Keyboard if you already own a Mac.

In one demo Craig Federighi dragged a photo from an iPad directly to a MacBook Pro and then — get this — an image from an iPad, through a MacBook Pro, and over to a Final Cut Pro timeline running on an M1 iMac. Wild!

Of course, how well Universal Control works in practice is another question. Apple users know how finicky Apple’s wireless features like Sidecar, Continuity, Handoff, AirPlay, and AirDrop can be. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t.


1. Safari

Apple’s web browser is getting a complete revamp with a new design that has a more compact toolbar, condensed tabs, and tab groups.

Also fun... but maybe a little distracting... the color of the window changes with the website content it’s displaying.


macOS Monterey comes out in public betas in July and releases this fall. China Group/Getty Images

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