The 5 Best macOS Monterey Features

From FaceTime to Notes, handy upgrades you’ll use daily

The macOS Monterey operating system has an impressive batch of updates aimed at better productivity and connectivity. You might already use some features, including SharePlay and Visual Lookup, on your iPad or iPhone.

While the complete list of enhancements is long, this small sample of useful macOS Monterey features could be the tools you reach for every day.

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FaceTime With Anyone

The FaceTime Create Link feature on macOS Monterey.

FaceTime comes with many welcome improvements on macOS Monterey. Along with enhanced visuals with Portrait and grid view modes, FaceTime makes it easier than ever to collaborate and stay in touch with people on all operating systems. 

Select the Create Link feature in FaceTime and choose how to share the invite (through Messages or email, for example). Invitees who don’t have an Apple device can join from the Chrome or Edge browser link.

You can also invite others to join mid-call using the side panel; select + (Plus) > add the person’s name or contact details > Add.

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Keep Track of What’s Shared With You Across Apps

The Shared with You tab in Safari on macOS Monterey.

With the Shared With you feature in macOS Monterey, you can quickly view content, and media others have sent you via the Messages app across other compatible apps. For example:

  • Pinned links from Messages appear in the Safari or News apps.
  • View photos shared with you in the Photos app. 
  • Find shared movies or shows in the Watch Now section of the Apple TV app.
  • Listen to shared podcasts in a Listen Now area of the Podcasts app.
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Mute Notifications When You Don’t Want to Be Bothered

Focus and notification preferences on macOS Monterey.

Like the Focus mode on iOS and iPadOS, you can determine precisely when and what kinds of notifications to receive throughout the day on your Mac. Create a notification schedule or turn on Do Not Disturb to avoid interruptions.

If you’d rather not receive all notifications except the critical alerts, you can specify that you only want to receive time-sensitive notices. Select the Control Center in the Menu bar > Focus > Focus Preferences > Allow Notifications From > Options > Allow time sensitive notifications.

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Jot Down Ideas Faster With Quick Note

The Quick Note feature using Hot Corners on macOS Monterey.

Are you an avid Notes user? The macOS Monterey update offers a faster way to create and edit notes on your Mac with the Quick Note feature.

Rather than opening the Notes app, move your cursor to the bottom-right corner (or the hot corner you choose) of your display. Then click the box that appears to open a new note without minimizing any other windows or applications. You can also use the Fn+Q keyboard combination to launch a new one.

To edit the Hot Corner you use for your Quick Note shortcut, select System Preferences > Mission Control > Hot Corners.

To create a quick note from a Safari link, select Share > New Quick Note or choose an existing one to add to or edit. You can also highlight text from a Safari web page > right-click > and click Add to Quick Note.

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Use Live Text to Grab Information From Photos

Highlighting text from an image with Live Text on macOS Monterey.

If you’ve ever wanted to copy text directly from a photo or screenshot, Live Text on macOS Monterey gives you that ability. This feature works the same way as using Live Text on iOS; you can use this tool to grab text from images or screenshots and use this information in various ways. 

Highlight text in a photo from the Photos app, Finder, or your desktop, and right-click the selected text to view your options. Choose Copy text to paste the text in a different app, such as Notes.

Alternatively, use Look Up to search for the meaning. If you highlight contact information in a photograph, you have the option to email or call directly from the image.

What Are macOS Monterey Features?

Like iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey unifies the Apple device user experience and the apps you use across the board. Some of the significant updates for macOS Monterey include:

  • Universal Control: Control all your devices with one keyboard and mouse. 
  • AirPlay to Mac: AirPlay your iPhone or iPad to your Mac to share media or collaborate easier. 
  • SharePlay through FaceTime: Watch movies or listen to playlists with friends in real-time (available in macOS 12.1 and later).
  • Safari tabs and syncing: Organize bookmarks and tabs more easily and sync them to your other Apple devices. 
  • Shortcuts for macOS: Add and edit shortcuts designed for Mac.

Will macOS Monterey Work on Intel?

Yes, certain Intel-based Macs are eligible for the macOS Monterey upgrade. Compatible models include:

  • MacBook Pro: 2015 and later
  • MacBook Air: 2015 and later
  • MacBook: Early 2016 and later
  • iMac Pro: 2017 models
  • iMacs: Late 2015 and after
  • Mac mini: Late 2014 and 2018 models
  • Mac Pro: Late 2013 and 2019 models

For exact compatibility, check Apple’s list of macOS Monterey-compatible Macs

However, your Intel Mac might not have access to all of the most exciting macOS Monterey features that are exclusive to M1 Macs. And some features require newer Intel Macs with specific hardware requirements and exclude models before 2018. For example:

  • FaceTime Portrait Mode: The Portrait Mode feature, which keeps you focused and blurs your surroundings, requires an M1 Mac. 
  • FaceTime audio upgrades: Other features like Spatial Audio and Voice Isolation mode require Intel Macs 2018 and later. 
  • AirPlay to Mac: This feature also requires newer devices such as MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models from 2018 and after. 
  • Object Capture or augmented reality: M1 Macs and Intel Macs with the necessary memory (RAM) and video RAM (VRAM) can use this 2D-to-3D creation tool. 
  • Should I upgrade my Mac to macOS Monterey?

    The hardware on your Mac could help you decide whether to upgrade to macOS Monterey. If you have a newer M1 Mac, upgrading is less risky than upgrading an older Mac. The latest Macs will also receive most or all of the latest updates, while some older Macs might miss out.

  • How do I enable Universal Control on macOS Monterey?

    To use Universal Control on your Mac, go to System Preferences > General and check the box beside Allow Handoff between this Mac and other iCloud devices. Then on your iPad, go to Settings > General AirPlay & Handoff and turn on Cursor and Keyboard. Now you'll be able to use one mouse and keyboard and share files between devices.

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