The latest version of the Mac operating system is called macOS Monterey. Version 12 was introduced at WWDC21 and is now available to the general public.
This page collects all our major articles about macOS Monterey: FAQs and feature guides, how-tos, tips, updates, and news. It’s your one-stop-shop for all the macOS Monterey-related content on Macworld. We’ll continue to update this page as we post more news, how-tos, and updates so make sure to bookmark it.
Updated 1/29/22 with a warning for macOS Catalina users who are considering installing the Monterey 12.3 beta.
macOS Monterey: 12.3 public beta is available
A day after Apple released the Monterey 12.3 beta to developers, Apple has released the 12.3 public beta. This beta includes support for Universal Control, which lets can now use a single mouse and keyboard between your Mac and iPad. Universal Control was announced at WWDC21, and its release was pushed back to the spring. If you want to try it, you also need to install the iOS 15.4 public beta on your iPad. Here are instructions on how to join the Apple Public Beta Program.
Important note: Apple updated its release notes to caution Catalina users who have FileVault on—it sounds like a good idea not to install the 12.3 beta. Here is the warning issued by Apple.
If your Mac currently has macOS Catalina installed, installing macOS Monterey 12.3 beta or macOS Big Sur 11.6.4 beta on a volume with FileVault enabled might cause a boot loop when attempting to log back into the previous volume. (88163545)
Here are the release notes for the 12.3 beta.
The macOS 12.3 SDK provides support to develop apps for Mac computers running macOS Monterey 12.3 beta. The SDK comes bundled with Xcode 13.3 beta, available from Beta Software Downloads. For information on the compatibility requirements for Xcode 13.3, see Xcode 13.3 Beta Release Notes.
New Features in macOS Monterey 12.3 Beta
Developers can express payment network preference in PKPaymentRequest. Network preference is determined by the order of supportedNetworks. This won’t override the user’s default card selection, but if the card is multi-SSD, then the network preference order determines which SSD is selected. (80827905)
New Features in macOS Monterey 12.3 Beta
Support is added to the passkey technology preview, enabling signing in to passkey-compatible websites and apps on Mac and iPad using an iPhone with a saved passkey. (87998252)
New Features in macOS Monterey 12.3 Beta
Support is now available for new DualSense adaptive trigger firmware features available via GCDualSenseAdaptiveTrigger. (87433163)
iCloud+ Custom Email Domain set up flow can’t be initiated from the iCloud settings in System Preferences. (85212987)Workaround: Go to custom email domain to complete email verification and set up an iCloud+ Custom Email Domain.
The kernel extensions used by Dropbox Desktop Application and Microsoft OneDrive are no longer available. Both service providers have replacements for this functionality currently in beta. (85890896)
Mobile Software Update
Virtual machines running on Apple silicon are unable to install macOS 12.3 beta. (88106053)
Installing to an empty volume from macOS Recovery might fail. (87730473)Workaround: Use a different version of macOS Recovery. For Intel-based Macs, boot using Option-Command-R; for Macs with Apple silicon, double-press and hold the power button.
Python 2.7 was removed from macOS in this update. Developers should use Python 3 or an alternative language instead. (39795874)
Resolved in macOS Monterey 12.3 Beta
The Shortcuts Events app, which provides scripting functionality for Shortcuts, no longer needs to be opened once before it can be used. The bundle has moved to /System/Library/CoreServices. If an app relies on the location of the bundle, the code needs to be updated to reference the new location. (85249991)
SKTestSession has three new methods to simulate a subscription requiring price increase consent, simulate consenting to a pending price increase, and simulate declining a price increase in automated tests. (84556183)
SKTestSession has two new Boolean properties to simulate billing retry and grace period in automated tests. You can identify and simulate the resolution of billing retry issues using the same APIs as interrupted purchases. (83956205)
Users can now test the billing retry and grace period states using StoreKit Testing in Xcode. Use Xcode 13.3 or later to enable billing retry testing and toggle whether the app offers a grace period. Use isInBillingRetry and gracePeriodExpirationDate to handle these states in the app. (83938270)
On January 26, Apple released macOS Monterey 12.2. Apple’s release notes lack any details, but the update has minor updates, bug fixes, and a new version of the Music app that was created using Apple’s AppKit. Apple has a website that details the security updates.
macOS Monterey: How to install the update
The update is free and you need to be connected to the internet. The installation will take several minutes (plan on about 30 minutes) and your Mac needs to restart. Here are the steps to do the installation:
Go to System Preferences in the Apple menu
Click on Software Update.
Your Mac will check to see if the update is available. when it is, an Install button will appear. Click it and your Mac will start downloading the update. After that, it will start the installation.
macOS Monterey: Should you wait to upgrade from macOS Big Sur or another older version?
The macOS Monterey operating system update comes with lots of new features, design changes, and improvements. We’ve compiled a list of all the major new features.
macOS Monterey: Universal Control delayed until spring
Apple’s announced a groundbreaking new macOS Monterey feature called Universal Control, which lets can now use a single mouse and keyboard between your Mac and iPad. If you’re using a MacBook, its keyboard and trackpad can be used with the iPad. You can even drag and drop files between devices and perform gestures on the MacBook trackpad to navigate the iPad. However, this feature isn’t ready for macOS Monterey’s initial release and we don’t know when it will be. Apple delayed Universal Control to Spring 2022 with the release of macOS 12.1 in December.
macOS Monterey: Get to know the latest features
Shortcuts on iOS and iPadOS has become a popular tool to create automations. In macOS Monterey, Shortcuts for Mac will be available, bringing over the same powerful functionality. Any shortcuts that you make are available system-wide, so you can run them from just about anywhere on the Mac. It’s easy to share shortcuts, and any shortcuts you make sync across all your devices. If they are compatible, iPhone and iPad shortcuts can run on M1 Macs or on Intel-based Mac systems with Catalyst apps.
The new SharePlay support allows people to share an experience while watching video, listening to music, or even an app window while on a FaceTime call. The people on the call can control the media that’s playing, and the callers can even make a playlist. SharePlay works with Apple TV and Apple Music; support for other services will depend on those services adopting the SharePlay API and updating their services with support. SharePlay will arrive on Macs this fall with Monterey 12.1.
Quick Note is a fast way to create a note file. When you trigger it, the Notes app quickly opens to a new file that you can start using immediately. It’s a fantastic feature but might not be so obvious if you don’t know it’s there.
Focus is basically an expansion of options that were originally available in the Do Not Disturb feature that’s already in macOS. To make Focus suitable for your situation, you can adjust its preferences, which we’ll go over in this article.
With AirPlay to a Mac, you can now take the media from your iPhone and iPad and use AirPlay to stream on your Mac. You can also stream from an app; for example, you can draw using your iPad, and use AirPlay to stream your activity onto a Mac so others can watch. AirPlay to Mac works wirelessly or over a USB connection.
Low Power Mode
Low Power Mode reduces energy consumption by automatically turning down the screen brightness and system clock speed to save battery life and make your Mac run more quietly. Here’s how to turn it on.
Finder and windows changes
The Finder in macOS Monterey has a few changes. When you’re copying a file, the progress window is now in the form of a pie chart, and you can now pause long file copies and resume them later. Go to Folder has a new design, and Apple improved the auto-completion engine to make it easier to find the file or folder you need.
Monterey also has a few new ways to manage windows. You can swap out apps in Split View and change a Split View window to full screen. Windows automatically resize when moving a window to a secondary display, another Mac, or an iPad. And if you’re in full-screen mode, you can have an always-on menu bar.
A new option in System Preferences will let you erase all user data and user-installed apps just like on an iOS device. That means you can essentially “reset” a Mac running Monterey without having to do a complete reinstall.
There are a lot more options to customize your Memoji. Monterey offers more outfits and colors, multicolored headwear, new glasses, accessibility features, and the ability to have two different eye colors. You can choose your Memoji for your Mac login, and it has animations that react to you, such as a log-in greeting or a head shake if you enter the wrong password.
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Roman has covered technology since the early 1990s. His career started at MacUser, and he's worked for MacAddict, Mac|Life, and TechTV.