macOS Monterey’s public beta is live

Yesterday Apple unleashed a whole bunch of new public betas on the world: iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8. Today the company is back with another big software puzzle piece announced at WWDC in June.

Following three weeks of developer beta, the public beta version of macOS 12.0 Monterey is now live for download (i.e. has begun a rollout that often takes a little time to make its way to everyone).

Any beta version of an operating system comes with the usual caveats/caution against downloading it on your primary machine, but at very least, this ought to be sufficiently more stable than what first rolled out to developers in June. Listen, I’m not going to tell you how to live your life.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

I don’t always open these sorts of writeups with system compatibility, but it probably ought to be singled out for Monterey. After all, this is the first full new OS release since the company made the first Apple silicon Macs available last year. Naturally, it will be available for all of the systems sporting a first-party Apple processor.

Intel Macs are more of a grab bag, though support goes back for several years, in most cases.  A nod to Macrumors, who compiled the following list,

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

The dates are shifted up by a year or so from the Big Sur compatibility break down, which makes some sense.

Okay, so what do you get if you bite the bullet and download today? The biggest changes come to Safari, FaceTime, along with the addition of the Universal Control feature that unifies peripherals across devices and Shortcuts, an iOS feature that will replace macOS mainstay, Automater.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

Some initial thoughts — Let’s start with Safari. The browser gets some key updates with every major macOS refresh, but this is one of the largest in recent memory. There was some concern following the keynote that the updates would only introduce confusion for many users. And certainly it’s true that people hate disruptions to their workflow – this is likely one of a handful of reasons I’ve never seriously concerned switching to Safari as a default every day browser. Change is hard, friends. Of course, change is also a necessary part of evolving. In either case, I haven’t been using Monterey intimately enough to offer something more definitive on the Safari experience.