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Some of the best new macOS Monterey features will only be available on M1 Macs

Published Jun 9th, 2021 4:19PM EDT
macOS Monterey features
Image: Apple

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When the M1 chip was announced last November, Apple confirmed that it would transition away from Intel chips in two years. In the meantime, Apple will continue to sell Intel-based Macs, but those devices won’t always support the latest macOS features. In fact, as you can see on Apple’s macOS Monterey Preview page, some of the most exciting features coming to the Mac, MacBook, and Mac mini will be exclusive to devices with Apple silicon.

As spotted by MacRumors, the following macOS Monterey features coming this fall will only work with M1 Macs, so unless you bought a new iMac, MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, or Mac mini between November 2020 and now, you’ll have to upgrade your computer to use them:

  • Portrait mode in FaceTime: Inspired by the portraits you take in the Camera app, Portrait mode in FaceTime blurs your background and puts the focus on you.
  • Live Text in photos: Text is now completely interactive in all your photos, so you can use functions like copy and paste, lookup, and translate. Live Text works in Photos, Screenshot, Quick Look, and Safari.
  • All-new city experience in Maps: Explore cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and London with unprecedented detail for elevation, roads, trees, buildings, landmarks, and more.
  • Interactive globe in Maps: Discover the natural beauty of Earth with a rich and interactive 3D globe, including significantly enhanced details for mountain ranges, deserts, forests, oceans, and more.
  • Neural text-to-speech voice in more languages: The latest neural text-to-speech voices are now available in more languages: Swedish (Sweden), Danish (Denmark), Norwegian (Norway), and Finnish (Finland).
  • On-device dictation: Keyboard dictation improves as you use your device, personalizing over time. On-device dictation helps protect your privacy by performing all processing completely offline. Dictation in search uses server-based dictation. Available in Arabic (Saudi Arabia), Cantonese (Hong Kong), English (Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, UK, U.S.), French (France), German (Germany), Italian (Italy), Japanese (Japan), Korean (Korea), Mandarin Chinese (China mainland, Taiwan), Russian (Russia), Spanish (Mexico, Spain, U.S.), Turkish (Turkey), and Yue Chinese (China mainland).
  • Continuous dictation: With on-device dictation, you can dictate text of any length without a timeout (previously limited to 60 seconds).

As we said earlier this week, macOS Monterey is almost certainly the most exciting of all the software updates that Apple showed off at WWDC 2021, but we didn’t realize that a significant portion of those features would be restricted to M1 Macs. Obviously, this incentivizes consumers to upgrade to Apple silicon, but for those who can’t, they’re getting a stunted version of Monterey.

Apple didn’t provide any further explanation as to why Intel-based Macs needed to be left in the lurch, but if you have a developer account, you can actually download the first beta right now and see what all the earliest version of the update has to offer on your device.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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