Apple’s WWDC show has officially kicked off, and the firm announced all of the big updates for its major operating systems. Among them are iOS 16, watchOS 9, and of course, macOS Ventura. Also known as macOS 13, Ventura packs all kinds of new features for Mac users like Stage Manager, Continuity Camera, and much more.
macOS Ventura release date and availability
As is typically the case after the WWDC keynote, developers can start testing out early previews of the software updates immediately. As long as you’re a registered developer, you can get the first developer preview right now. If not, you’ll have to wait until the public beta starts, which will be available in July.
If you’re not willing to be a beta tester, the answer is that macOS 13 Ventura is coming this fall. Typically, Apple releases its new iOS and watchOS updates the week after its iPhone launch in September. macOS tends to come a little bit later though, so you can tentatively assume it will be released in October. It will be a free update for supported Macs.
Those supported Macs include the following:
|iMac||2017 and later|
|MacBook Air||2018 and later|
|MacBook Pro||2017 and later|
|Mac Pro||2019 and later|
|Mac Mini||2018 and later|
|MacBook||2017 and later|
Being that all supported Macs have to be made in 2017 or later, there are a fair bit of PCs that aren’t supported anymore. With macOS Monterey, support went back to 2015.
What’s new in macOS Ventura
Stage Manager is another way to organize the apps that you have open. It’s going to take all of your open apps and place them into groups on the side of the screen. So now, those will sit on your desktop, and you can easily use them to switch between apps.
Continuity Camera and FaceTime Handoff
macOS Ventura is going to let you switch between iOS, iPadOS, and macOS in FaceTime calls. So now, if you’re talking to someone on your Mac and you want to get up and show that person something in the other room, you can transfer your call to your iPhone. I think we’ve all wanted to handoff a FaceTime call at one point or another.
That’s not all, because there’s a new feature called Continuity Camera, which will actually let you use your iPhone as a webcam. That’s right; you’ll be able to strap an iPhone to your Mac and use the camera for whatever it is you’re doing, giving you a significant boost in video quality, at least with most Macs.
That also means that Center Stage – which allows the camera to move the field of view to focus on you – will be available to all Macs, using the phone you probably already have. Indeed, it’s not just about camera quality. It also adds portrait mode and studio light, and there’s a Desk View feature that works like an overhead camera.
Freeform is a new whiteboarding app
Freeform is a new collaboration app that Apple is making, aiming at a new take on whiteboarding. You can add text, files, links, photos, and so on. And naturally, you can collaborate in real time with this.
As usual, Mail is getting a bunch of new features. There’s better search functionality, which gives you better results and will give you suggestions as you type. You can also now unsend an email, schedule messages to be sent, and get reminders to return to a draft. It’s also going to notice when you’ve forgotten to include an attachment. A lot of these features seem to be inspired by Gmail.
Spotlight is getting a bunch of improvements. If you search for images, you’ll find pictures from Photos, Messages, Notes, the web, and more, and you can use Live Text to search for text inside of the image.
You’ll also find new quick actions in spotlight. You’ll be able to search and quickly start a timer, create an alarm, find the name of a song in Shazam, and more.
As usual, Safari is getting some improvements. Passkeys are a feature that lets you sign into services and they’re end-to-end encrypted, making them way more secure. Moreover, Apple says they work on non-Apple devices.
You’re going to be able to share tab groups from Safari, and you’ll even be able to start a FaceTime call to collaborate on something. The people that you’re collaborating with will be able to add their own tabs to the group as well.
It’s official; iMessages are getting an edit buttong before Twitter does. Yes, you’ll be able to change a message after you send it, although of course, this doesn’t apply to those green SMS messages. You can also mark a message as unread, in case you don’t have time to respond at the moment and you don’t want to leave the sender on read.
Apple is also bringing SharePlay to Messages. This will let you chat about things while you’re watching something with friends. In fact, Apple seems to be gearing up Messages as the place where you can text friends while still doing things together. Adding onto the Freeform app and Safari features above, there’s a broader range of collaboration features you can use. If you have a shared project, there will be a button to chat in Messages or start a FaceTime call.
Apple has announced iCloud Shared Photo Library, which is pretty self-explanatory. You can share photos with up to five people at a time, and while sharing photos isn’t new, the ability to edit them is. This is proper collaboration-style sharing, rather than just sending an album to someone and letting them download it. Obviously, edits sync instantly.
You can choose what’s in the album you’re sharing based on things like people in photos, so it’s intelligently figuring out who’s in the picture. And when you tell Photos what you want in the album, you’ll see more in the For Your Shared Library tab.
As mentioned above, the first developer preview is available now, so we’ll learn more about what’s in it in the coming months.
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