Apple's 18th version of their macOS operating system is here. Known as macOS Monterey, the new desktop operating system is designed to deliver unique experiences for Mac users who have previously been using macOS Big Sur. Originally introduced at the 2021 Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Monterey will release this fall with multiple exciting features that enhance the Mac experience.
Among the new features that macOS Monterey will deliver are several that will only be available for M1 and M1X Mac processors. Some features will indeed work with Macs using Intel processors, but there are several popular features that only M1 users get to experience. It's possible that since Monterey has multiple M1-exclusive features, Apple's future macOS versions may also work with only Mac-based processors.
Best New macOS Monterey features for Mac M1
By now it's no secret that macOS Monterey’s fall debut will bring more than a few M1-exclusive features. Intel-based Mac users won't miss out on game-changing Monterey functionality, but special features like dictation and FaceTime will be reserved for M1X and M1 Macs.
Other updates like an interactive 3D globe in Apple Maps and text-to-speech support with Siri also enhance the Mac experience in ways that aren't possible with non-Apple chips. To that end, let's get to know a bit more about the many updates and overhauls that Monterey is bringing for M1 and M1X Macs as well Intel-based Macs, too.
1. Portrait Mode on FaceTime
The FaceTime app is coming with a new Portrait mode with the macOS Monterey release. FaceTime will now support the option to blur the background in photos while sharpening users' faces.
FaceTime's new portrait mode feature is limited to users with M1-based Macs. Intel-based Mac computers won't allow users to hide their backgrounds in photos when using the Facetime application.
2. Live Text in Photos
Mac users in the Photo app can now use live text to improve their productivity. M1-based macs will support real-time text-to-text translations for text in images and other visual sources.
Users with an M1 mac will be able to search for and translate text from images together with Photos, Safari, Quick Look, and Screenshot. Standard functions like copy and paste will be available with Monterey's live text feature and will allow for the selection of text that hasn't previously been possible.
Macs that use an M1 processing chip will have a chance to use Apple's new 3D features for the Apple Maps app. The navigational tool will come equipped with smart geo-location tools that can spot landmarks around the globe.
If you have an M1-enabled Mac, be sure to explore the new Maps features and give Apple's 3D globe a shot. Apple Maps should support an impressive level of detail for most geographical landmarks worldwide, however the new and approved Maps is as of yet unavailable for Intel chip users.
4. Object Capture
Monterey is introducing Apple's newest endeavor into augmented reality (AR). The Object Capture AR feature promises to let M1 Mac users generate their very own objects with a set of different 3D and 2D tools.
Only M1 macs will be able to generate the photo-realistic 3D objects that Apple has hinted at with Object Capture. The new application appears to offer an impressive range of 2D images that create the foundation for photo-realistic objects that users can create.
New shortcuts are arriving on M1 Macs with Monterey to make it easier to automate tasks and spend more time on getting work done. Power users in particular can take things as far as they can go with hands-free and customizable shortcuts with apps including Siri. Siri is even getting an upgrade to include M1-exclusive support for text-to-speech voices in Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish.
Monterey users will be able to have a 'hands-free' experience with Siri that supports multiple shortcuts that Apple has integrated with their newest macOS operating system. Siri will support imports and can integrate with existing tools like Automator workflows that users can quickly access. These hotkey-style shortcuts will be exclusive to M1 Mac users -- Intel chip users can take heart, however, knowing that the rest of our list’s features are no longer M1 exclusives.
6. Universal Control (Intel and M1)
Among Monterey's features making the biggest waves is the innovative Universal Control. Users will be able to move their mouse and keyboard on one device and see their input's results on the screen of another Mac. The feature supports Apple devices running an iOS operating system such as iPads and Macs next to another Mac computer.
Universal Control is Apple's answer to seamless, device-to-device integration. Universal Control works its magic with a simple WiFi connection or USB protocol to allow for the dragging and dropping of multiple file types. Users can synchronize their devices using Bluetooth and keep their shared data on a single account in the cloud.
7. Low Power Mode (Intel and M1)
Apple has decided to move its low power mode to both the iPad and Mac as of 2021. Users will be able to navigate to their lower power mode option via their battery preferences to cut down on battery-intensive tasks. Users on both Intel and M1-based macs will be able to take advantage of their power supply, even on mobile devices and while on the go.
8. New Safari browser (Intel and M1)
Monterey is giving Apple's popular Safari web browser a facelift. As one of the most-used applications that Apple offers, it's good news for many users that Safari has modernized its aesthetic for better usability and an enhanced user experience.
Safari has overhauled the way things such as its menu bar and tabs appear to users and now uses a different background color depending on the site you're visiting. Apple has opted to use its proprietary Intelligent Tracking Prevention technology with Safari, giving users more privacy against tracking measures as they surf the web.
9. Shortcuts (Intel and M1)
As hinted at earlier on, Apple appears to be focusing more of their time and energy on hotkey-style users for all Mac users to enjoy. Shortcuts that are on Monterey will integrate with most applications typically available on Mac devices such as Finger, the menu bar, Siri, and Spotlight. Users can now set up shortcuts regardless of their processor type and start syncing them with devices like their iPad or iPhone.
It's impossible to say for sure just yet how effective Monterey's new features will be. What is certain, however, is that M1 and M1X Mac users are likely at a slight advantage against Intel chip-based Mac users in terms of options for productivity, ease of accessibility, and user experience. It remains to be seen to what extent Apple decides to invest their development time into additional M1 and M1X-exclusive features and capabilities for future macOS versions.