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The 10 Coolest Things About macOS Ventura

(Image: Apple)

Apple’s upcoming OS lets you recall messages and emails after you send them, use your iPhone’s camera for video calls you take on a Mac, and more.

By Edward Mendelson

If you’re reading this story, you probably know the annual ritual: Apple announces a new macOS version at WWDC, releases it as a public beta a few weeks later, updates the beta a few times, and finally offers it as a download for every compatible Mac sometime in the early fall. macOS Ventura is the name of Apple’s new operating system for the Mac, the successor to the current Monterey version. Ventura looks to be a welcome update, but not a transformational one like 2020’s Big Sur, the first version with support for Apple Silicon, and the first with the elegant user interface that Apple has continued to use with minimal changes in Monterey and now Ventura.

While Ventura likely won’t change your life, it will probably make it easier and more productive. If you have an Apple Developer account (which costs $99 per year), you can download a beta version now. If you’re a curious user and want to test the public beta when it arrives, you owe it to yourself to be cautious. Instead of installing it as an upgrade to your existing Monterey system, use the Disk Utility to create a new volume for it on your disk, and install it there.

We’ll have a full writeup when the public beta gets released. Apple won’t say when that will happen, but the company has already demonstrated enough new features and improvements to let us choose ten of the best right now.

1. Stage Manager

(Image: Apple)

The coolest-looking feature in Ventura is one that helps you focus on your work by moving the current app to the middle of the screen while moving all your other open windows to a stack of miniature images lined up on the left. In effect, they’re at stage left waiting in the wings until you click on one, at which point it takes center stage while the previous center-stage app moves to the left. You turn on this feature from the Control Center in the menu bar. Presumably you’ll be able to assign a keyboard shortcut or gesture for it also.

Apple made this feature fancier-looking than it needs to be. The miniaturized windows aren’t flat, but look as if they’ve been rotated 60 degrees. A perspective effect makes them look as if they’re receding into the desktop. It’s distracting and works against the feature’s goal of helping you focus. Maybe Apple will add an option to change it; maybe it won’t.

For software lead analyst’s Michael Muchmore’s take on the new feature, read Apple’s Stage Manager Finally Makes MacOS Multitasking Usable.

2. Continuity Camera

(Image: Apple)

Your Mac’s built-in camera isn’t bad, but your iPhone’s camera is a lot better. When you’re video-chatting from your Mac, you can use your phone as your camera and microphone simply by bringing your phone close to your Mac. This feature supports portrait mode, which blurs the background of your video in the same way that you can blur it on most current iPhones and in many web conferencing apps, such as Zoom.

Lead mobile analyst Sascha Segan details the new system in Apple Built a Kludge to Fix Your Mac’s Hideous Webcam.

3. Passkeys

(Image: Apple)

Someday you’ll be able to say goodbye to forgettable and phishable passwords. Passkeys use digital keys created with Touch ID that stay on your Mac or phone and that exchange data with remote sites when you want to log in. They can only be used from the device where you created them, so they can’t be stolen. Apple is working to make the technology available for non-Apple devices. In the meanwhile, however, you’ll want to stick with your password manager, because, according to security analyst Max Eddy, passwords are terrible, but we still need them.

4. Mail

(Image: Apple)

Mail now builds in features that used to be available only in third-party apps. For example, you can recall a message during the first 10 seconds after you send it. You can mark messages with reminder notices that will make the message reappear in your inbox at the time you choose. You can schedule a message to send at a later time. And Mail, like Thunderbird and other email apps, will let you know if you mention an attachment in a message and forget to attach it before the message sends.

5. Messages

(Image: Apple)

Messages lets you edit or unsend a message up to 15 minutes after sending it, a feature that gives Messages the same kind of safety net that I’ve learned to value in Facebook Messenger. You can add multiple collaborators to documents and spreadsheets by sending a single invitation that applies to everyone in a message thread.

6. Spotlight

(Image: Apple)

Apple keeps finding ways to make its apps more convenient by combining their features. Spotlight now lets you open a QuickLook preview when press the spacebar on an item in a find list, just as you can already do in the macOS Finder. Spotlight also lets you search for photos on your Mac by searching for their locations, and find your cat photos by searching for “cat.”

7. System Preferences

The macOS system toolkit gets a new look, more like the Settings app in iOS, with a column of controls like Wi-Fi, General, and Wallpaper on the left, each opening on to a generously-sized panels listing relevant options. The About this Mac app is still available from the Apple menu, but it’s also conveniently part of System Preferences.

8. FaceTime

(Image: Apple)

Start a FaceTime call on your iOS device, bring the device next to your Mac, and the call can instantly transfer to your Mac with its larger screen. FaceTime will also offer live captioning, a feature that Apple marks with the word “beta,” suggesting that you shouldn’t expect perfection.

9. iCloud Photos

You can now share a photo library from your iCloud with family members, and every collaborator can add or edit the library-a feature that may prompt you to keep a backup library for yourself.

10. Reminders

You can now pin lists in the same way you can pin your favorite contacts in messages, and you can create templates that you can use when creating new lists.

Coming Soon to a Mac Near You

This is just a small selection of new features in the OS. You’ll also find an expanded Home app that works like the iOS version, multiple-stop route planning in Maps, new lock screen features, and soothing background sounds to slow you down when you get over-excited by the other new features.

For more on what Apple announced at WWDC, you can read about 8 Things You Might Have Missed From Apple’s WWDC 2022 Keynote. Also check out our hands on with Apple’s M2 MacBook Air and the video below.

Originally published at https://www.pcmag.com.



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