Say goodbye Hello Monterey and Ventura –Mac OS Ventura, that’s it. Apple officially unveiled the latest version of its desktop operating system this morning at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.
MacOS Ventura, also known as macOS 13, will pack a variety of new features into desktops and laptops when it launches this fall. (New macOS versions usually roll out in September.) In addition to updates to Messages, Safari, the Mail app, and Continuity, there’s a new multitasking tool called Stage Manager. The final release of MacOS Ventura is currently only available as a developer beta, but we’ve rounded up all the top features you can expect.
Is your Mac compatible?
Each version of macOS is offered as a free update for supported Apple hardware. If you’re wondering if your current Mac is compatible with Ventura, here’s a list of all models capable of running the new operating system:
- MacBook: 2017 and beyond
- MacBook Air: 2018 and beyond
- MacBook Pro: 2017 and beyond
- Mike Mini: 2018 and beyond
- iMac: 2017 and beyond
- iMac Pro: 2017 and beyond
- Mac Pro: 2019 and beyond
To help us stay on task, Apple’s new Stage Manager feature automatically organizes all open windows and apps on the left side of the screen. This makes them clear at a glance and clearly visible in full view, rather than hidden behind other windows or under the dock. Stage Manager keeps whatever window you’re currently using in the center of the screen. You can also group windows and applications for specific projects together and rearrange the size and position of windows in your focused workspace. Switch between windows at any time, and Stage Manager will preserve your grouped windows and their arrangement within the group.
Useful Messaging Features
We’ve all sent regrettable text messages before, and Apple knows it well. With macOS Ventura, you can now edit and unsend recent messages. One caveat: you can only edit or undo texts within 15 minutes of sending them. However, you can also recover previously deleted text for up to 30 days. Those with read receipts can also mark messages as unread — which hopefully relieves the pressure of responding right away. Since Messages works on many of Apple’s devices, these features are of course also available on iOS 16 and iPadOS 16.
Mail app features
The native Mail app in macOS is getting some usability enhancements that bring it on par with Gmail and other modern email clients. Ventura users will be able to cancel emails as soon as they are closed and schedule emails to be sent at a later time. You will be prompted to follow up on emails that were sent a few days ago but have not yet received a response. And if your email involves attachments or cc’d people, but you forget to attach anything or cc’d anyone, you’ll get an alert. Finally, searching your inbox will become more convenient. Click the search box in Mail and it will bring up a list of your recent contacts, documents, photos and emails before you start typing.
Shared Tab Group
Come to Safari is a great feature for families or coworkers who do a lot of planning together. Tab groups will let you and your friends share your favorite websites and browser bookmarks with each other. You can build a collective list of bookmarks and use it as a shared landing page. Others in your shared tab group can even see the website you’re currently browsing. (What could possibly go wrong?) This is really for group planning and research sessions. Apple has also added the ability to instantly launch a FaceTime call or group messaging chat.
Apple, on a mission to eradicate traditional passwords, has partnered with the FIDO Alliance to create a secure passwordless login system called Passkeys, which will launch this year. The keys are only stored on your device, not the web server, so they are virtually immune to phishing attacks. Lily Hay Newman wrote an article earlier this year that gave an in-depth look at the mechanics of Passkeys, but here’s the gist. Instead of entering a password when you land on the login page, you’ll be prompted on the Mac screen to pick up your iPhone or iPad and use Touch ID or Face ID to verify your identity. The two devices communicate with each other and you are logged in. Your passwords will sync across all your iCloud-enabled devices, including iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, as well as Mac (with end-to-end encryption). On non-Apple devices, you must log in with your iPhone. However, Google and Microsoft are part of the same group working with the FIDO digital identity group, so similar functionality should be coming to Windows and Android soon.
If you’ve ever wished you could use your iPhone’s excellent camera instead of your Mac’s relatively crappy camera during video calls, your dream will soon become a reality. Apple has introduced a new feature called Continuity Camera. It will work wirelessly. If you have a newer MacBook (with an M1 or M2 processor), it will automatically recognize a nearby iPhone camera. From there, you can take advantage of the same features found on recent Mac cameras, including center stage and portrait mode. The company even plans to sell a circular plastic stand that snaps onto your iPhone so that the phone’s camera can easily rest on top of the MacBook’s display.
Apple has included additional features that take advantage of the iPhone’s advanced optical technology. With the Studio Light feature, the camera illuminates your face while dimming the background. A feature called Desktop View shows both your face and an overhead video of your desktop. It does this by taking advantage of the wide field of view of the ultra-wide lens on the iPhone and computationally pulling apart the image to create two separate views. At least in the demo shown at WWDC, it turned out as if you were using two cameras—one pointing at you and one pointing down.
Instead of hanging up and restarting a FaceTime call when you want to switch to another device, the new Handoff feature in Ventura allows you to simply transfer the call to another machine. So if you’re on a FaceTime call on your iPhone, your Mac will recognize that you’re nearby and display a prompt asking if you want to transfer the call to your Mac. All you need is one click. It also works the other way; you can start a FaceTime call on your Mac and transfer it to your iPad or iPhone.