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.
macOS Monterey: The latest beta
Apple has released the second developer beta of macOS Monterey 12.2. As of this writing, the Apple Developer website does not have release notes for the beta. According to several reports, the 12.2 beta features an update that improves scrolling in Safari on the M1 Pro/Max MacBook Pro, which features ProMotion display support. Also, the Music app has been reworked with AppKit so it should provide a smoother experience.
macOS Monterey 12.1: The latest general release version
On December 13, Apple released macOS 12.1 with several new features. Here are Apple’s release notes:
macOS Monterey 12.1 adds SharePlay, an entirely new way to have shared experiences with family and friends in FaceTime. This update also includes the Apple Music Voice Plan, new safety features for children and parents in Messages, redesigned Memories in Photos, and other features and bug fixes for your Mac.
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
This release also includes bug fixes for your Mac:
• Desktop and Screen Saver may appear blank after selecting photos from the Photos library
• Trackpad could become unresponsive to taps or clicks
• External displays may not charge some MacBook Pro and MacBook Air computers when connected using Thunderbolt or USB-C
• HDR video playback on YouTube.com could cause 2021 MacBook Pro computers to panic
• Menu bar extras may be obscured by the camera housing on 2021 MacBook Pro computers
• MagSafe may stop charging on 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro computers when lid is closed and system is shut down
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 menuClick 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?
It’s easy to jump in on all the excitement of a new operating system. But waiting could be a wise decision. We have an article that goes over the reasons why you should upgrade now and why you should wait.
macOS Monterey: All of the new features
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.
Tabs are a major user interface element in Safari but they become unwieldy and hard to manage. Apple hopes to address those problems in Safari 15 with a new tab implementation and features. Here’s how tabs work in Safari 15 and how to make tab groups.
Safari 15 has new options for how Tabs are displayed.
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.
Live Text and Look Up
You can now select the text in a photo, copy it, and then paste it into a document. You can also lookup that text on the web or in Maps. Here’s how you’ll use it on your Mac.
Live Text allows you to select text in an image and look it up on the web.
AirPlay to Mac
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.
Change the cursor color
Change the color of the Mac cursor to make it easier to find or to reflect your personality.
Enable Full Keyboard Access
With Full Keyboard Access, you can rely less on the mouse or trackpad to navigate the user interface and instead use Tab and other keyboard keys to select items. Get the details on this powerful new feature.
Reset without reinstalling
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.
Roman has covered technology since the early 1990s. His career started at MacUser, and he's worked for MacAddict, Mac|Life, and TechTV.