It has now been about a month since the release of macOS Monterey, and if you haven’t noticed already, it isn’t the biggest leap forward. Compared to previous updates, the release of macOS Monterey was a bit of a non-event, because there simply isn’t much to get excited about. There are, of course, a few new features, a bit of a redesign, and bizarrely no landscape background this year! That being said, there are nonetheless some genuinely useful features, which is what we’ll be taking a look at today. This is of course a very subjective list, but from my experience, these would appear to be features that I think will get used a lot.
First up is Quick Note! Now, this is a feature that I really enjoyed using on iOS 15 and especially iPadOS 15, so I was pleased when Apple announced it was coming to Mac as well.
It allows you to jot down a note within any application on your Mac. I have mine set up so that when I drag the mouse to the upper right corner, it opens a Quick Note (you can set this up in System Preferences, using the Hot Corners feature).
Then I can add a link from a webpage, our past some text, or a phone number, anything really!
This then syncs across your Apple devices using iCloud and appears in a special “Quick Notes” section within the notes app.
Another useful feature within the notes app is Tags. You can now add tags to your notes to easily group them, and find them. No more will you be scrolling through your hundreds of notes to find what you’re looking for! You can, of course, also add these to quick notes.
Focus Modes are arguably my favourite new feature. Another cross-platform feature, originally released for iOS and iPadOS 15, Focus Modes allow you to, well, Focus! Depending on whether you’re working, watching a movie, going for a run or trying to get some sleep, Focus allows you to filter notifications, calls, messages and even home screens (on your iPhone or iPad).
For example, as I am writing this article “Work” mode is activated. This means I will receive no calls or messages unless they are favourites contacts and no notifications. This allows me to stay in the zone and get this article finished quicker!
The ability to have different modes for different situations really is a step up from Do not Disturb, and is well worth a try!
You’ll automatically have a few modes to choose from and customise, but you can create as many as you want, for any situation. Your friends and family will also be notified when a focus mode is turned on, so they know not to bother you.
AirPlay to Mac
AirPlay is super useful. Being able to cast your screen to a nearby TV with the click of a button, and enjoy your content on the big screen.
Well now, you can do that with your Mac too! Let’s say you’re out and want to play music from your phone, but with the amazing speakers on your MacBook, just AirPlay it! Any content can be shared from your phone, your you can simply mirror your screen and have that show up on your Mac.
All you have to do is go to your iPhone / iPad, and head over to the control centre. Then you’ll want to tap the screen mirroring button, and your Mac should show up!
If you don’t want to mirror your screen and instead just cast your music or video, just head over to an app that supports AirPlay, find the option to cast, and voilà!
Less Useful Features
There are, of course, plenty of other features released in macOS Monterey that are, in my opinion, less useful.
You may be surprised to see the FaceTime updates in the less useful section, especially given the emphasis that Apple put on them. However, although interesting, in my opinion, these features won’t serve a purpose to that many people.
Most likely pushed by the pandemic and lockdowns around the world, FaceTime now has quite a few features aimed at working from home, such as:
- Screen Sharing
- FaceTime Links
- Portrait Mode
- Spacial Audio
You can also now watch certain movies and listen to songs on a FaceTime call. Sure, why not?
Safari got redesigned. There’s now a compact tab bar, and tab groups. Fine, it looks nice I’ll give you that.
This in theory could be very useful, though maybe not for many people. It allows you to use one mouse and keyboard for your iPad and Mac, whilst easily switching between the two. But it’s not out yet, so …
Once again, useful, but will you be using it very often? Live Text allows you to interact with text in any image. Click an address and it opens in Maps. Call, message, or save any phone number you see. You can also copy and paste just as you would with any other text.
There you have it, the latest macOS Monterey features I think you’ll genuinely use. It might not be the most exciting update, but as usual, Apple has brought us something new to try out and enjoy!
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