Everything coming in Apple’s next desktop OS

Apple’s WWDC show has officially kicked off and the company has announced all the major updates to its major operating systems. Among them are iOS 16, watchOS 9, and of course macOS Ventura. Ventura, also known as macOS 13, offers all kinds of new features for Mac users, such as Stage Manager, Continuity Camera and many more.

macOS Ventura release date and availability

As is usually the case after the WWDC keynote, developers can immediately begin testing early previews of the software updates. As long as you are a registered developer, you can now get the first developer preview. If not, you’ll have to wait for the public beta to start, which will be available in July.

If you don’t want to be a beta tester, the answer is that macOS 13 Ventura is out this fall. Typically, Apple releases its new iOS and watchOS updates the week after the iPhone’s launch in September. macOS usually comes a little later, though, so you can assume it’ll be released in October for now. It will be a free update for supported Macs.

Those supported Macs include the following:

iMac 2017 and beyond
iMac Pro 2017
MacBook Air 2018 and beyond
MacBook Pro 2017 and beyond
Mac pro 2019 and beyond
Mac Mini 2018 and beyond
MacBook 2017 and beyond

Since all supported Macs must be made in 2017 or later, there are quite a few PCs that are no longer supported. With macOS Monterey, support went back to 2015.

What’s New in macOS Ventura

Collage of new features in macOS Ventura

Stage manager

Stage Manager on macOS Ventura

Stage Manager is another way to organize the apps you have open. It will take all your open apps and put them in groups on the side of the screen. So now those are on your desktop and you can easily use them to switch between apps.

Continuity Camera and FaceTime Handoff

Apple devices turn off FaceTime

macOS Ventura lets 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 forward your call to your iPhone. I think we’ve all wanted to hand over a FaceTime call at one time or another.

iPhone paired with a Mac

That’s not all, as there’s a new feature called Continuity Camera, which actually lets you use your iPhone as a webcam. Correct; you can strap an iPhone to your Mac and use the camera for whatever you’re doing, giving you a significant improvement in video quality, at least on most Macs.

That also means Center Stage — which allows the camera to move the field of view to focus on you — will be available for all Macs, including the phone you probably already have. It is indeed not just about camera quality. It also adds portrait mode and studio lighting, and there’s a Desk View feature that works like an overhead camera.

Freeform is a new whiteboard app

Freeform is a new collaboration app that Apple is creating that aims to rethink whiteboarding. You can add text, files, links, photos, and so on. And of course you can collaborate with this in real time.

Email Enhancements

Email Enhancements in macOS Ventura

As usual, Mail gets a lot of new features. There is better search functionality, which gives you better results and gives you suggestions as you type. You can now also unsend an email, schedule messages to be sent, and receive reminders to revert to a draft. It will also notice when you forgot to add an attachment. Many of these features seem to be inspired by Gmail.

Spotlight improvements

Spotlight Search in macOS Ventura

Spotlight gets some improvements. When you search for images, you’ll find images from Photos, Messages, Notes, the web, and more, and you can use Live Text to search for text in the image.

You will also find new quick actions in the spotlight. You can search and quickly start a timer, create an alarm, find a song’s name in Shazam, and more.

Safari improvements

As usual, Safari is getting some improvements. Passkeys are a feature that allows you to log into services, and they are end-to-end encrypted, making them much more secure. Plus, Apple says they work on non-Apple devices.

You can share tab groups from Safari, and you can even start a FaceTime call to collaborate on something. The people you work with can also add their own tabs to the group.

Message improvements

It is official; iMessages get an edit button before Twitter does. Yes, you can edit a message after you send it, although of course this doesn’t apply to those green text messages. You can also mark a message as unread, in case you don’t have time to respond right now and don’t want to leave the sender read.

Apple is also bringing SharePlay to Messages. It allows you to talk about things while watching something with friends. In fact, Apple seems to be adapting Messages as the place where you can text friends while still doing things together. In addition to the Freeform app and Safari features above, there is a wider range of collaboration features you can use. If you have a shared project, there is a button to chat in Messages or start a FaceTime conversation.

Photos improvements

Apple has announced iCloud Shared Photo Library, which is pretty obvious. You can share photos with up to five people at once, and while photo sharing isn’t new, the ability to edit them is. This is sharing in the right collaborative style, rather than just sending an album to someone and letting them download it. Obviously, edits are synced immediately.

You can choose what’s in the album you share based on things like people in photos so it intelligently sorts out who’s in the photo. 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 now available, so we’ll be learning more about what’s inside in the coming months.

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