macOS Monterey preview: How the latest macOS is going to make your Mac much better

Mac to the future

Apple took the wraps off the latest macOS at its snazzy WWDC event last month. And now, the public beta of macOS 12 Monterey is available for download. This means anyone with a compatible Mac can try out the latest OS ahead of its official release. 

While it sounds exciting to be able to try out a new OS ahead of release, a friendly reminder that this is still a beta release. It may not be the best idea to install it on your primary device as you’re likely to encounter bugs, incompatibility issues, and more. Despite our warning, If you still want to go ahead and try it out, make sure everything is backed up before. With that out of the way, let’s look at what the macOS 12 Monterey brings to the table, and how it is going to make your MacBook, iMac or Mac mini better.

FaceTime

With the current WFH scenario set to continue, it is only natural for Apple to be excited about all the improvements it is bringing to FaceTime. One of the features I personally am going to use a lot is portrait mode. It does exactly what the name suggests – blur the background while you’re on a call. Time to stop worrying about the unmade bed or all the clothes strewn on it before getting into a call.

Your office calls are set to get better with multiplatform support. You can simply generate a meeting link (similar to Zoom), and your colleagues on Android and Windows can join via their web browsers. They will even sound better with support for Spatial Audio, which makes people’s voices sound like they are coming from the side of the screen where their window is positioned. You too are going to sound better thanks to Voice Isolation that uses machine learning to remove background noise while you’re speaking.

SharePlay

You can now have OTT movies or series nights with your friends without inviting them over to your home. All you need is to use the SharePlay feature on FaceTime. As the name suggests, it allows you and your friends on a FaceTime call to sync and watch video content together. With an emphasis on the word ‘together’. You not only start watching a video together, but when someone pauses, the video gets paused for everyone. Now you can take a bathroom break without worrying about missing out. Currently, the feature supports Disney Plus, HBO Max, Twitch, and more. Other services are likely to be added later. 

Universal Control

Speaking of sharing, Apple is also improving the existing continuity feature with what it calls Universal Control. This is by far one of the most exciting features that we can’t wait to try out. This feature lets you use a single mouse and keyboard setup across your Mac and iPad. You can also easily drag and drop content between devices. With AirPlay on Mac, you can project any content from your iPhone or iPad to the Mac for a better viewing and hearing experience. 

Safari

Apple continues to improve the browsing experience on Safari with every OS update, and this time, most of the changes are around Tabs. The tabs now look a tad different with their rounded appearance, and new position alongside the address bar. What’s really useful is tab groups, which is going to make navigation easier and also use the screen real estate better. 

Say you have 5-6 tabs open at a time, which is likely to fill up the bar at the top. Now, you will be able to click on a little icon on the top-left corner to make them into a ‘tab group’. This group is saved on the sidebar, and all the tabs can be reopened with a click of a button. Needless to say, these tab groups will be synced across all your devices.

Quick Note

Another feature that I will no doubt be using a lot is Quick Note. Simply hover the cursor in the bottom-right corner of the screen, and a note will pop up for you to quickly type in. You can also take notes while reading an article by right clicking on the highlighted text, and you will get an option to add it to a Quick Note. These notes sync across devices, and can be easily accessed in a specific Quick Notes folder in the Notes app. 

macOS 12 Monterey is full of such tweaks, and it is going to take us sometime to find and use them all. If you want to try out the public beta, head over to Apple’s beta software page, and enroll your MacBook, iMac or Mac Mini. Once enrolled, click on the ‘Download the macOS Public Beta Access Utility’ button to download the .DMG file. Run the installer on your device, and then head over to ‘Software Update’ in System Preferences to install the beta.