Thursday, July 1, 2021

macOS 12 Monterey Public Beta

Juli Clover:

The macOS Monterey Public Beta is available to anyone with a compatible Mac and it does not require a developer account. This guide walks you through some simple steps on installing the beta software.

Before downloading the update, it's worth noting that Apple does not recommend installing the macOS Monterey Public Beta on your main Mac, so if you have a secondary machine, use that.

The release versions of DropDMG and ToothFairy are compatible with the Monterey public beta. I recommend updating to the public beta versions of EagleFiler and SpamSieve before installing Monterey.

Jason Snell:

The good news is, for all the recent fears among Mac users that Apple might be attempting to collapse Mac, iPhone, and iPad into a single amorphous product, macOS Monterey still feels unreservedly like a Mac. Apple wants its platforms to share features, but it also recognizes that each serves a different (albeit overlapping) audience.


And this year, Apple has chosen to make dramatic interface changes to Safari across not just macOS but iOS and iPadOS as well. I think the changes work fairly well on the iPad, but they’re kind of a mess on the iPhone and, unfortunately, the Mac.


Though Shortcuts has already surpassed Automator in terms of ease of use as well as functionality, it’s still a very young app—there’s plenty of room to grow over the next few years. Only with this version can you hide steps of a shortcut to make the rest of the file easier to read, for example. Shortcuts also shows its new arrival on the Mac by generating dialog boxes and alerts that look nothing like standard Mac interface elements. In the end, either Shortcuts needs to feel like the rest of macOS or the rest of macOS needs to come to Shortcuts—but right now, it’s neither fish nor fowl.


I don’t have much to report on group FaceTime based on early betas of macOS Monterey and iOS 15 other than to say that I found them pretty buggy, with video and audio cutting out and individual participants sometimes appearing more than once.


Most notably, macOS Monterey does nothing to address the failure of notifications, Notification Center, and widgets from macOS Big Sur.

John Voorhees:

I haven’t run into any show-stopping bugs, and this year’s beta is far more approachable than the Catalina or Big Sur betas were. Those updates included fundamental shifts in the way the OS worked that made the update uncomfortable for some users. There’s some of that in Monterey, but less than in the past couple of years. Instead, Monterey introduces a collection of enhancements to existing system apps and new cross-system feature integrations that make the update useful immediately.


Bottom line, I’d like to see the unification of the tab bar and toolbar rolled back or an option added to settings to turn it off. I applaud the effort to free up more space for content and also appreciate the more unified look afforded by the extension of websites’ colors to the tab bar, but the usability cost of cramming so much into one horizontal strip is too high.


I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the new Focus feature as much as I have. A lot of thought has gone into Focus, which allows for finely-tuned setups that highlight what a simple, blunt tool Do Not Disturb was. There’s more to Focus than specifying who and what apps can interrupt you in certain contexts, but even just that unlocks a tremendous amount to control over the barrage of daily notifications everyone receives.


Update (2021-07-02): See also: Hacker News.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

Beatrix Willius

The first Catalina betas were awful, the BS betas were worse. Monterey is much much better. The only thing I really hate is Safari. With three tabs it's not so bad. More than half a dozen and I'm lost. The url bar jumps around so that I have to check where I need to click. Even the position of the lock icon behind the url is stupid. I already managed to click it a couple of times when I wanted to click on the url.

I see Snell is using Tab Groups. Has anyone gotten Tab Groups to work in Safari Technology Preview? I can create them, but they disappear after quitting. And they never sync with the ones on my iPhone.

Tab Groups has NOT worked for me in STP yet. And I've lost a bunch of tabs I had kept open for months... Thanks Apple. (Yeah, it's a beta, so it's on me.)

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