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Apple's macOS Ventura focuses on multi-tasking across devices

Apple showed off all of the changes arriving with its macOS "Ventura" update. Let's take a look at what's coming to the operating system.
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Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer on

The latest version of MacOS, codenamed Ventura, focuses on helping you better manage your windows, improves the OS' built-in Spotlight search, and includes revamps for Mail and Safari. The refresh also includes a new "Passkey" features designed to completely replace your passwords, and the ability to use your iPhone as a webcam. 

What's new in MacOS?

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Continuity

It addition to macOS' existing Continuity features, Ventura now supports Continuity Camera, a capability that makes it possible to use your iPhone as a webcam. This is made possible via a set of new, MagSafe-based stands that help you clip the device onto your laptop screen or monitor. Once there, your Mac should automatically recognize it and connect wirelessly. 

This feature also supports existing macOS webcam tricks like Center Stage, as well as new features such as Portrait Mode and Studio Light, which help you look clearer to your video chat counterparts. The iPhone's built-in Ultra Wide camera can even be tapped for "Desk View," a new mode that shows both the user's face and and overhead view of their desk to video chat recipients.

It's also now easier to switch a FaceTime call from your iPhone to your Mac, thanks to an update to Handoff which allows Macs and supported iPads to automatically detect when an iPhone with an active FaceTime call is brought nearby.

Spotlight

Apple claims the revamped Spotlight search is "more consistent and powerful." It now supports a "Quick Look" mode that can be accessed by tapping the space bar on your device, as well as pulling in results from the web. Apple suggests the feature will now be a great way for users to search for "artists, movies, actors, and TV shows, as well as businesses and sports." 

Stage Manager

This new window management system helps you keep track of your work by creating a new overlay that lives on the left side of your display. The interface collects all of your windows into an easily-accessible set of customizable stacks. Users can also manually connect apps that they frequently use together to each other to improve their ability to quickly switch between tasks. 

Stage Manager also supports a one-click method of always accessing your desktop to quickly get back to your files and folders. 

Mail

Mail's got its "biggest overhaul to search in years," as well as a slate of other features that focus on helping you better manage your communications. This includes new support for undoing sends, scheduling sends, and setting follow-up reminders. The app now also "intelligently detects if items such as an attachment or cc'd recipient is missing." 

Messages

Like Mail, and the version of Messages in iOS 16, the Ventura edition of the app now allows you to undo and edit sent messages for a short time after they're transmitted. This ability to undo mistakes also extends to now being able to un-delete accidentally scrapped messages. 

Other new features include additional sharing and collaboration capabilities, and expanded SharePlay options that now live within the Messages app itself.

Safari

Apple is updating its "world's fastest browser" with improvements to power efficiency and sharing. The latter focuses on allowing users to share entire groups of tabs to collaboratively complete tasks like shopping, researching, and more. These shared tabs will update in real time, with live changes being visible to all participants.

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Passkeys

The new Passkey feature aims to completely replace your password needs with a new "Passkey" system that lives entirely on your Apple devices. The system uses cryptographic techniques in concert with built-in TouchID and FaceID technology to lock your credentials behind biometric walls. 

Passkeys will work on both websites and within apps. They'll never leave your macOS or iOS devices, and will never be transmitted over the open web. Any sharing between Apple devices will take place entirely over your local network via encrypted means. 

Apple noted that it worked with the FIDO alliance to ensure widespread compatibility with non-Apple devices as well, including the ability to use Passcodes via a QR code on your iPhone. 

Other updates

In addition to the major changes above, Apple also debuted a slew of more minor refreshes, additions, and quality of life updates.

  • Live Text now supports recognizing images and text across the entire operating system. This extends to foreign-language text as well, including Korean and Japanese. 
  • Visual Look Up can now give you information about new categories, including animals, birds, insects, statues, and other landmarks.
  • The Weather and Clock apps now more closely match their iPhone counterparts
  • Live Caption now supports all audio content, including live video calls. 
  • System Preferences is now System Settings. It has also been given a "refreshed and streamlined design that is easier to navigate and instantly familiar to iPhone and iPad users."
  • macOS Security features were updated with "new tools that make the Mac more resistant to attack, including Rapid Security Response that works in between normal updates to easily keep security up to date without a reboot."

First look: Apple's WWDC 2022 in pictures

When will the new MacOS be available?

MacOS Ventura will be available as a developer beta today, with plans for a full release this fall. A public beta is planned for launch sometime next month as well. You can find out if your Mac will be eligible for the free upgrade by visiting the macOS Ventura Preview Page.

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