Getting started with macOS Monterey: the three killers are all brilliant, but with the prerequisite of “billions of dots”

When Craig drove that red retro off-road sports car to the Mac product laboratory, the small climax of the second half of WWDC also arrived.

▲ Craig is so handsome (broken sound)

If the iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 released in the first half did not give you enough surprises, then macOS Monterey may be the most eye-catching feature of this WWDC.

However, the better-to-use and beautiful Safari, smart live text, personalized focus mode and other new features available throughout the system are not the biggest attraction of macOS Monterey. Continuous interoperability (Universal Control), AirPlay to Mac, and more powerful shortcuts are the "killers" of the new version of macOS.

Are these functions good to use, are they worth upgrading? I believe that after reading our experience, you will have the answer.

These new features available throughout the system may be better on Mac

Thanks to the wider screen of the Mac, many new features of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, after being reproduced on macOS Monterey, the operating experience will be improved. We have selected a few more commonly used applications with obvious changes as examples.

1. A stronger and more beautiful Safari

As the leading application in the global mobile browser market, Safari has redesigned the tab bar and tab group functions on the basis of its lightness and simplicity. Not only more beautiful, but also more practical.

First look at the brand new tab bar. The position of the tab bar has been moved to the top, flush with the address bar. This frees up a row of space originally occupied by the tab bar, and the page display area is larger.

▲ The top is the new version, and the bottom is the old version

The buttons at the top of the browser have been greatly simplified. Buttons such as sharing and displaying tab overview are integrated in the "More" option on the right side of the address bar of the new version of Safari. The color of the tab bar can be automatically consistent with the theme color of the webpage, making the browsing experience more immersive.

Then look at the related functions of the tag group. The new version of Safari allows users to save and manage multiple tabs. For example, the websites commonly used for work, entertainment, and travel are grouped together in a label group. After the setting is completed, the tag group can be automatically synchronized to the device with the equivalent account of iPhone and iPad. Users can also share tag groups with others.

2. Global text recognition

The global OCR (character recognition) function is late but arrives. In Mac devices equipped with the M1 chip, users can directly open the picture, or in the album or Safari, select the text in the photo by sliding the mouse. Query, translation, copy, search and other functions can all be realized.

In actual experience, it is much more efficient than selecting text by pressing on the phone. This function currently supports 7 languages, including Chinese. Sentences written in mixed Chinese and English can also be accurately recognized.

It is a bit regretful that it is still not possible to find relevant pictures by entering keywords in the focused search. This function needs to be updated later.

3. FaceTime

Against the backdrop of the epidemic, online gatherings and office work have become the mainstream. FaceTime updates also focus on social and group chats.

There are 5 points worth paying attention to in the new version of FaceTime. The first is a new spatial audio effect, which allows users in the same chat room to emit sounds from different angles, creating a real sound field. The second is that the microphone has added an AI noise reduction function and a wide spectrum mode. The former is easy to understand, and the latter is designed to capture all the original sound around you.

The third is the new portrait mode, which can blur the background of the characters. Fourth, you can create a link to a chat room. Android and Windows users can also open and join the link with Chrome or Edge browsers. This is a bit like Zoom and Tencent meetings.

▲ Everyone uses the portrait mode

The fifth point is very interesting. Thanks to the SharePlay function, users can share music, videos and screens in FaceTime. It is somewhat similar to the "Listen Together" of NetEase Cloud Music. However, some shared songs or videos may require subscription to view.

Among the above new features, spatial audio is applicable to 2018 and newer Mac models. Portrait mode is only available for Mac models equipped with M1 chip.

Currently, we can only experience the portrait mode. Other new features still need to wait for subsequent updates.

4. Quick Memo

Quick memo is a very useful function. It is also very simple to call up a quick memo on macOS Monterey. You only need to move the mouse to the lower right corner to see the relevant card. Much more convenient than iPadOS 15.

You can open a quick memo and take notes on any app or website in the system, which will help you capture inspiration. When you open the app again or enter the webpage, the note will automatically pop up. You can also find the "Quick Memo" column in the Memo app to view related notes.

In addition, the new label function of the memo is also very useful. You can put the same label on the notes of the same subject, and it will be displayed on the left side of the memo, which is convenient for you to find on-demand.

5. Focus mode

The path to turn on the focus mode on the Mac is the same as the previous version to turn on the do not disturb mode. Enter from the control center in the upper right corner to select your current status.

You can choose the status of work, rest, etc., or customize other statuses in the preferences. For each state, you can set the app or contact that allows notifications, and you can also add automation programs.

For example, at work, you can set to only allow corporate WeChat to send notifications to prevent notifications from apps that are not related to work from affecting attention. But you can allow time-sensitive information such as takeaways and express delivery to notify you.

Of course, if you turn on the focus mode on the iPhone, iPad and other devices with the same account, the Mac will automatically sync. It is very convenient to use.

It is worth mentioning that a record indicator has been added above the focus mode. When an application accesses the microphone or camera on the Mac, the system will notify it through the recording indicator.

6. iCloud+

In "System Preferences"-"Apple ID", you can see that two new options have been added: Private Relay and Hide Email Address. Click the "Upgrade" button of the former to see the services of iCloud+.

After upgrading this service, you can use iCloud private relay. In other words, all your network connections are based on encrypted traffic. Even Apple can't get your IP address, location, and other information.

In addition, you can use the random mailbox created by the system when filling in personal information and registering a new account. If there is a new email, it will be automatically forwarded to your real email address. In addition, in the "Family" application, you can connect more cameras to record video and store it encrypted in iCloud.

The iCloud+ package includes three plans:

  • 50 GB of storage space and a HomeKit security video camera (RMB 6 per month)
  • 200 GB of storage space and up to 5 HomeKit security video cameras (RMB 21 per month)
  • 2 TB of storage space and an unlimited number of HomeKit security video cameras (RMB 68 per month)

It should be noted that the cameras in the above schemes need to be purchased separately and are not presented with the package.

Three killers of macOS Monterey

In every WWDC, the theme is almost all about interconnection and productivity. This year macOS has revealed three trump cards, aiming to further strengthen the connection with other devices and make work more efficient.

1. Continuous Interoperability (Universal Control)

This may be the most eye-catching feature of this conference. In the demo video, you only need to put two devices, such as MacBook Pro and iPad Pro, together, and the continuous intercommunication function will be turned on automatically, no need to set up in advance.

At this time, you can use the mouse or trackpad to push the cursor to the edge of the device until it pops up on the other device, and you can move the cursor seamlessly between the two.

This is more than just letting you use a keyboard and mouse to control multiple devices. More importantly, you can drag and drop files from multiple devices to each other at will. For example, drag the work in the iPad drawing software directly to the manuscript on the Mac. This function supports up to three devices to connect at the same time.

We carefully studied the instructions on Apple's official website and found that in order to use this feature, we need to meet the "billion dots" premise.

  • Mac needs to be 2016 and later models (including 5K iMac at the end of 2015)
  • iPad needs to be iPad Pro, iPad Air (3rd generation and later models), iPad (6th generation and later models) and iPad mini (5th generation and later models)
  • Connected devices must use the same Apple ID with two-factor authentication to log in to iCloud
  • Connected devices must turn on Bluetooth, WiFi and relay
  • Connected devices cannot be more than 10 meters away from each other
  • When continuous communication is enabled, iPad and Mac cannot share cellular network and Internet connection

After we update macOS, the first thing we want to experience is the continuous interoperability function. Unfortunately, as of the time of publication, this feature has not yet been opened.

2. AirPlay to Mac

macOS Monterey, so that Mac can be used as your big screen player. You can directly project photos, music, games, and videos to your Mac to watch, and enjoy better audio-visual effects with better speakers and a wider screen.

In the actual test, as long as the iPhone or iPad AirPlay to the Mac, open the application that supports AirPlay, it will automatically stream the media content to the Mac. For example, third-party applications such as bilibili, Tencent Video, and iQiyi support this operation.

▲ From left to right are bilibili, Tencent Video, and iQiyi

Like the continuous interworking function, AirPlay to Mac also needs to meet many conditions, as follows:

  • Mac must be 2018 and newer models (including 2017 iMac Pro)
  • iPhone needs to be iPhone 7 and newer
  • iPad needs to be iPad Pro (2nd generation and later models), iPad Air (3rd generation and later models), iPad (6th generation and later models) and iPad mini (5th generation and later models)
  • iPhone and iPad need to be upgraded to iOS 15/iPadOS 15

It is worth mentioning that you can use the Mac as an auxiliary speaker to form a stereo effect with other speakers. You only need to check the two speakers when playing in the air on the iPhone or iPad, you can easily combine them, and you can also adjust the volume of a device at will.

3. Know your shortcuts better

The shortcut commands on iOS are relatively niche, but very easy to use. Today, it comes to macOS.

You can set your own work (fishing) flow in the shortcut command application. For example, when you start to work, you can log in to the enterprise WeChat with one click-open your mailbox-play music-open the information app, etc., to help you "be lazy".

The set shortcuts can be run in the Finder, menu bar, focus, dock, desktop, etc., and can also be awakened by Siri voice. You can also share the set shortcuts with your friends, so that they can be happy and "lazy" with you.

If you are a Mac model with an M1 chip, or have the Catalyst application installed on an Intel Mac model, you can run shortcuts compatible with iPhone and iPad.

If you don't know how to set up shortcut commands, you can also learn related operations in the shortcut command center. Or directly use the commonly used commands provided by the system, such as "Baidu Search for Pictures with Pictures", "Create GIF Pictures" and so on.

Perhaps for some technical experts, the current shortcut commands are still a bit "naive", and the operations that can be implemented are limited. Craig also said at the press conference that this is just the beginning of the Mac automation process, and shortcut instructions will be the direction of Mac automation development.

It is certain that Apple will have more actions on the shortcut instructions in the follow-up to help users achieve greater creativity.


Last year's macOS Big Sur gave the first shot for the transition from Mac to the M1 chip. According to Apple's transition plan, macOS Monterey is responsible for the overall transition of the Mac product line.

Compared with the last major version, macOS Monterey has no redesigned icons and no fresh dynamic design. The freshness may be relatively weak, as if it is just a perfect version of macOS Big Sur. This high probability is because Apple wants to "see stability" in the second half of the transition period.

However, the addition of continuous interoperability functions further condenses the iPad and Mac camps. The newly added shortcut instructions allow users to realize rich ideas at a lower cost.

The former represents the general direction of Apple: ecological interoperability. The latter represents the small goal of the Mac product line: to make automation more convenient for more users, and to make PC (Personal Computer) more "Personal".

If you ask me whether macOS Monterey is worth upgrading, the answer is yes, but not now .

After upgrading to macOS Monterey, we encountered WeChat/Podcast/FaceTime/Shortcut Command app crashing, or there was no response when tapping. I also encountered bugs such as cursor disappearance and airdrop not working properly.

So if your Mac is to be used for work or study, it is recommended to wait for the official version to be released in September before upgrading. The models supported by macOS Monterey are shown in the figure below.

If you have an idle Mac and want to try the above new features of macOS Monterey first, click this link to download the description file. After the installation is complete, you will receive the push of the new system. Finally, I would like to remind you that you must back up your data before upgrading.

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