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Apple improves Mac operating system with latest offering

By Zach Thompson
Tue 7 Jun 2022

Apple has unveiled the latest version of its desktop operating system, macOS Ventura, providing users with tools for greater productivity.

"macOS Ventura includes powerful features and new innovations that help make the Mac experience even better," Apple software engineering senior vice president Craig Federighi says.

"New tools like Stage Manager make focusing on tasks and moving between apps and windows easier and faster than ever, and Continuity Camera brings new video-conferencing features to any Mac, including Desk View, Studio Light and more.

"With helpful new features in Messages, state-of-the-art search technologies in Mail, and an updated design for Spotlight, Ventura has so much to offer and enriches many of the ways customers use their Macs."

Features included on the latest macOS system are:

Stage Manager

By automatically organising open apps and windows, this feature allows users to focus on critical tasks while still affording them an overview of everything in their workspace.

While their current window is displayed prominently in the centre, Stage Manager allows for other open windows to be visible on the left-hand side of the screen so users can easily move between tasks.

In addition, users will be able to group windows together when working on a particular task or project that depends on different apps being available simultaneously.

It also works with other macOS windowing tools such as Mission Control and Spaces.

Continuity Camera

This feature allows Mac customers to use their iPhone as a webcam, affording them new capabilities previously unavailable with a webcam.

Continuity Camera also allows a Mac to automatically detect and use the camera on an iPhone if it is nearby without needing to wake or select it and can do so wirelessly.

Further, the feature provides Centre Stage and Portrait mode to all Mac computers as well as Studio Light, an effect that illuminates a user's face while dimming the background.

As for iPhone, Continuity Camera uses the Ultra-Wide camera to enable desk View, allowing for a user's face and overhead view of their desk to appear on the screen simultaneously, which Apple says is ideal for activities such as making DIY videos or showing sketches over FaceTime.

Apple's Handoff tool is now available through FaceTime, which lets users start a FaceTime call on one Apple device and seamlessly move it to another Apple device nearby. For example, a user could be on a FaceTime call on an iPhone or iPad and then transfer that call to their Mac or vice versa.

Significant updates to Safari

Apple's latest update to its Mac web browser, macOS Ventura, introduces a new way for users to browse together.

Shared Tab Groups allow friends, family and colleagues to share their sites in Safari and view the tabs that others are looking at in real-time.

The offering also provides a shared Start Page, enabling multiple users to create a single list of bookmarks or even start a Messages conversation or FaceTime call from within Safari. Apple says this is useful for various tasks, from planning a trip to working on a research project together.

However, Apple says the biggest overhaul the platform has undergone in a long time is that its Mail feature now uses cutting-edge techniques to provide more complete results with greater relevance and accuracy.

Additionally, users will be able to quickly find what they need from the moment they click into search, such as recent emails, contacts, documents, and photos before they even begin typing.

The new capabilities also afford users the means to schedule emails and even cancel delivery after pressing send, as well as recognise if an attachment or intended cc'd recipient has been left out of a message.

Users will also be able to set reminders in Mail to return to a message at a particular date and time and receive automatic suggestions to follow up on an email if there has been no response.

Messages on the Mac also now offers the ability to edit or undo a recently sent message, mark a message as unread or recover accidentally deleted messages.

Moreover, new collaboration features make working with others simple and efficient by allowing users to copy or collaborate on a file when they share it through Messages using the share sheet or drag and drop. Choosing to collaborate will allow everyone on a Messages thread to be automatically added, and when someone makes an edit to the shared document, activity updates will appear at the top of the thread.

Users can also join SharePlay sessions from their Mac within Messages to chat and participate in synchronised experiences.

Spotlight comes with an updated design for more straightforward navigation and new features that give users a more consistent experience across devices, as well as Quick Look for quickly previewing files.

Users can now also find images in their photo library, across the system, on the web, and can even search for their photos by location, people, scenes or objects.

In addition, the new Live Text offering lets them search by text inside images by using on-device intelligence and also includes support for paused video frames and Japanese and Korean text.

Users can also now lift the subject away from an image and drop it into another app, and Visual Look Up expands its recognition capabilities to now include animals, birds, insects, statues and other landmarks.

For greater productivity, users can take actions from Spotlight such as starting a timer, creating a new document or running a shortcut and the feature now includes in-depth results for artists, movies, actors and TV shows, as well as businesses and sports.

iCloud Shared Photo Library also lets users make and share a separate photo library with up to six family members.

Furthermore, users can share all of their existing photos from their personal libraries or share based on a start date or people in photos.

Users will also receive suggestions to share relevant photo moments that include participants in the library and others of their choice to help them keep their shared library up-to-date.

More secure browsing in Safari

Browsing in Safari now comes with added security. Passkeys are more secure, easy to use next-gen credentials designed to replace passwords.

These unique digital keys stay on a device and are never stored on a web server, preventing hackers from leaking them or tricking users into sharing them.

Passkeys also simplify the sign-in process by offering Touch ID and Face ID for biometric verification as well as iCloud Keychain to sync across devices with end-to-end encryption.

Immersive gaming experiences

Apple silicon enables every new Mac to run AAA games with ease, and the latest version of the software, Metal 3, features new capabilities that improve the Mac gaming experience.

MetalFX Upscaling enables developers to quickly render complex scenes by using less compute-intensive frames and then apply resolution scaling and temporal anti-aliasing.

This improves performance, providing gamers with a more responsive feel and better graphics.

Game developers also benefit from a new Fast Resource Loading API that minimises wait time by providing a more direct path from storage to the GPU, so games can easily access high-quality textures and geometry needed to create expansive worlds for realistic and immersive gameplay.

Additional updates include:

The Weather and Clock apps have been optimised for Mac.

New accessibility tools include Live Captions for all audio content, Type to Speak on calls, Text Checker to support proofreading for VoiceOver users.

System Settings is the new name for System Preferences and comes with a refreshed and streamlined design that is easier to navigate and instantly familiar to iPhone and iPad users.

In addition, macOS security gets even more robust with new tools that make the Mac more resistant to attack, including Rapid Security Response, which works in between regular updates to easily keep security up to date without a reboot.

The developer beta of macOS Ventura is available to Apple Developer Program members from today, and a public beta will be available to Mac users next month.

macOS Ventura will be available later this year as a free software update.

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