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Everything revealed about macOS 12 Monterey during Apple’s WWDC

Universal control, Safari updates, and more.

screenshot of apple wwdc 2021 at the start of the macos segment
Image: Apple

New year, new WWDC, new version of macOS. This year, it’s codenamed ‘Monterey’, and it comes with more sharing options, a better version of FaceTime, and fluid ways to move between working on all your Apple devices.

While introducing the update, SVP Craig Federighi noted that “macOS Monterey is packed with features that help Mac users get more done, connect with friends and family in amazing new ways, and work across Mac and iPad more seamlessly than ever before.”

The biggest feature we noticed is called Universal Control, which lets you use an iPad as a secondary screen, and seamlessly control it from the keyboard and trackpad attached to your Mac.

macos monterey universal control

The macOS feature can work with up to three devices, including drag-and-drop between them. Sketched something on your iPad with the Apple Pencil? Drag it over to your Mac and edit it there. It’s not quite running macOS on the iPad, which is often asked for, but it’s pretty darn close.

Following the theme of interconnectivity, AirPlay now lets you cast to the Mac, letting you use it as a secondary screen for your iOS device. That extends to using the Mac as a secondary speaker for multiroom audio if you have HomePods in another room.

Shortcuts are now coming to macOS, replacing the existing Automator tool over a “multi-year transition.” That’s about 18 months in Apple-speak, so get ready if you use Automator. It’ll be coming to Siri, Spotlight, the menu bar, and Finder to start with.

apple infographic showing all the new features coming to macos 12 monterey
Image: Apple

Safari is getting a new tab redesign, with a new tab bar that “takes on the color of the webpage and combines tabs, the toolbar, and the search field into a single compact design.” That should make finding that tab you’re looking for easier, and Tab Groups are also coming. These will sync across Mac, iPhone, and iPad so you can manage things on whichever device you’re using at the time.

Quick Note lets you scribble notes on any app or website systemwide, so you don’t have to have multiple apps open for notes. The iOS Focus feature is also coming to desktop, letting you set your status to easily tell people that you’re unavailable.

Monterey doesn’t feel as much of a jump as Big Sur was last year, but it seems to be focused on streamlining the user experience across all of Apple’s devices, with shared features like spatial audio, SharePlay, the new FaceTime improvements, and the host of new privacy features that Apple has brought to iOS and iPadOS.

Public betas of the new macOS will go live next month, with a full release in the fall.

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