More than an hour into Apple’s keynote address at WWDC 2021, Craig Federighi took the stage once again to talk about the future of macOS. Apple has chosen some interesting names in recent years for its annual releases, and this year is no different, as the latest edition of the software will be called macOS Monterey (another coastal city in California).
Many of the major updates coming to iOS 15 will be available on macOS Monterey as well, including SharePlay and Screen Sharing on FaceTime, Shared with You, and Focus modes, which can sync with your iPhone. But the real standout feature of the presentation was Universal Control.
Universal Control turns your iPad into a second screen for your Mac. With Universal Control, you can sit an iPad down next to a MacBook and seamlessly move your cursor between the two screens. Your keyboard will work as well, and Apple says that it’s possible to connect more than two devices, so you could theoretically have an iMac, a MacBook, and an iPad all sitting on the same desk, using the same mouse and keyboard to control them. And yes, you can drag and drop files.
AirPlay to Mac lets iPhone and iPad users play content directly onto their Macs. Shortcuts are coming to Mac as well, although Apple says it will be a “multi-year transition” from Automator.
Moving on to Safari, Apple is giving its default internet browser a much-needed refresh, with a minimal design that follows the trends of its biggest rivals. Tab groups are coming to Safari, so you can more easily sort your neverending collection of tabs in a menu on the left sidebar. You can share these tab groups in an email, and the tab groups will also automatically sync with your iPad.
Those are the highlights, but in a collage near the end of the presentation, there were references to a few more features that Apple didn’t have time to discuss, including Low Power Mode, iCloud+, Memoji on login, Quick Note, and a Launchpad games folder.
The first developer beta for macOS Monterey will roll out today, with a public beta scheduled for next month, and the full release slated for this fall alongside the other software updates.