Apple announces macOS Monterey, the next Mac desktop operating system

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In a virtual presentation at the WWDC 2021 conference on Monday, Apple executives outlined the company’s plans for macOS Monterey, the latest major software release for the Mac family of computers.

The new name follows Apple’s California landmark-based naming scheme for recent macOS releases, dating back to the launch of OS X Mavericks in 2013.

MacOS Monterey introduces a new feature called “Universal Control,” which allows users to share control of Mac and iPad devices with a single mouse and keyboard. Apple SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi demonstrated the ability to simply set an iPad near a Mac, move the cursor of the latter toward the former, and have the iPad automatically recognize it. This means users can directly drag and drop files between devices, for instance. Apple demonstrated the feature across an iMac, MacBook, and iPad.

macOS Monterey will also make it possible to AirPlay video, audio, documents, and other items from an iPad or iPhone directly to a Mac. The update brings the Shortcuts feature first seen on iPhones and iPads, allowing users to access IFTTT-style automated tasks and workflows on the Mac. Apple says the existing Automator app will continue to be supported with Monterey and that users will be able to import existing Automator workflows into Shortcuts.

Safari will receive something of a makeover with Monterey, bringing a thinner and visually cleaner toolbar alongside more compact tabs. Active tab bars will now house the traditional URL and search fields, and tabs can now be grouped together and accessed through Safari’s sidebar. These tab groups can then be accessed and updated across Macs, iPhones, and iPads.

The update will add a number of features from the newly announced iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 updates as well, including “SharePlay,” which that lets users share content or their current device screen over a FaceTime call, and “Focus,” which filters and minimizes notifications when users indicate they are in the middle of an activity (“coding,” “gaming,” etc.), among others.

Apple says the following devices will be compatible with macOS Monterey:

  • Early 2015 and later MacBook Air
  • Early 2015 and later MacBook Pro
  • Early 2016 and later MacBook
  • Late 2015 and later iMac
  • Late 2014 and later Mac mini
  • 2017 and later iMac Pro
  • Late 2013 and later Mac Pro

MacOS Monterey will arrive as a developer beta today and as a public beta in July. A full release will come in the fall.

Listing image by Apple