Apple Announces macOS Monterey With Shortcuts App, Universal Control, AirPlay To Mac

Apple has announced macOS Monterey with a slew of changes, including a redesigned Safari browsing experience, Shortcuts app on Mac, Universal Control, expanded AirPlay support and much more.

Shortcuts on Mac provides access to the same automations and shortcuts from iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, and will support more advanced controls and ship with pre-built ones. Shortcuts will run in Finder, in the dock, Launchpad and other parts of macOS, and a ‘smarter’ shortcuts editor completes the shortcut you are building.

Apple has also confirmed that Automator files will be supported, although it plans to transition from the legacy application to Shortcuts, likely sometime within the next two years. AppleScript and shell script can also be enabled.

Universal Control lets you connect a Mac to an iPad running iPadOS 15 and use the same mouse and keyboard to control it. For example, you could bring an iMac next to an iPad Pro, and drag the cusor between both displays and even move files. It works with up to three devices and requires no setup.

AirPlay to Mac lets you stream video and audio content from an iPhone and iPad straight to your Mac, similar to what you can do with AirPlay-compatible TVs and smart speakers. You can use a Mac as an AirPlay speaker and also extend your iPhone or iPad’s display.

Link To Text, also on iPhone and iPad, will look for text in photos, screenshots, Quick Look and Safari and let you copy it, look it up and translate it. More information is available at the press of a button.

Quick Note brings the ability to quickly jot down notes on any website or application, with support for links and highlights on the webpage you visited when you created the note. The Notes app also receives tagging capabilities, with a new Tags Browser, mentions and Activity View, for tracking changes made by other people.

Like iOS, notifications have been redesigned to display information clearer, with larger app icons and contact pictures, support for muting for a set period of time, suggestions to mute, and time sensitive alerts, for notifications that may be important for you.

FaceTime has received major improvements, including support for Spatial Audio, and a new Voice Isolation mode that cuts out ambient noise and focuses on the person speaking. Portrait Mode in the camera will blur the background, focusing on the person, and a new Grid View presents each person in an equal layout, and displays who is currently talking. Apple has also rolled out support for FaceTime on the web, so people with an Android or Windows device can join via a link.

Learn more about the improvements to FaceTime in a dedicated article, soon!

Other new features include Focus, to let users focus on a specific task and filter out unrelated notifications and activity, block unwanted apps and alert contacts of a specific status, new cursor customisation options, an overhauled Maps experience, redesigned Safari and more.

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Ben Ward
Senior Editor, discussing everything Apple and supporting other writers and members of Apple TLD's team of volunteers.
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