macOS Monterey Preview: About FaceTime and Safari

Image credit: Devindra Hardawar/Engadget


After loading the Monterey public beta for the first time, it is difficult for me to determine whether I have actually upgraded from Big Sur. But then I started the new Safari browser, which made me dizzy. Say goodbye to the tab bar-get used to the tabs, address bar, and navigation buttons in the thin menu at the top.

Obviously, the goal is to provide as much screen space as possible for the web page. This allows for a better browsing experience on smaller devices, such as the 13-inch MacBook Air I have been testing. But this also means that it will be more confusing when trying to sort the tags. It’s fine when dealing with a few tabs, but once I collect 10 or more tabs, they are all reduced to site icons. In the past, more tabs were needed to make Safari unusable.

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Although you can always hover your cursor over the icon to see a small preview of the page, this can be a slow process if you are trying to browse a large number of tabs on a site. You can now also bundle tabs together in groups, which may be useful if you are doing a serious research binge. You can name tab groups immediately and swap between different groups. This is a more elegant solution than opening more Safari windows. The most important thing is that it can also synchronize between browsers on iOS and iPadOS.​​​

In addition to the new interface, Safari is still the smoothest browser on macOS to date. I usually use Chrome and Safari at the same time-which helps to separate work and personal login-and Apple’s browser always loads pages faster.

macOS Monterey Facetime Shareplay


FaceTime and SharePlay

In macOS Monterey, FaceTime started to look more like Zoom. I think this makes sense, considering the importance of group video chats in the past year. Now you can initiate a FaceTime call without calling anyone directly.After entering, you can invite your friends or Create a link that anyone can join, even if they are using an Android device. Your phone call is more like an event expecting a group of people, rather than a personal chat where you might invite one or two friends.

During my test, a friend was able to join my FaceTime network link via an iPhone running iOS 14, but he couldn’t hear anything. When he turned to his Mac, everything was fine. However, since he is running macOS Catalina, it still appears as a network FaceTime call instead of automatically opening the application.

If you have AirPods or other headphones that support Spatial Audio, you can also hear sounds from different directions based on people’s screen position in FaceTime. They need to run Monterey or iOS/iPadOS 15 beta for this feature to work, but once these updates eventually drop, it will definitely be more useful. During my test, I heard two friends coming from the left and right channels of my AirPod Pro. It’s like sitting at a small table together. I think it is also useful for users with visual impairments and hearing impairments, because separation makes it easier to track multiple people.

I think more people will use SharePlay with their friends through FaceTiming, which allows you to watch shows and listen to music with others. However, using it may be more intuitive. When trying this feature with other Monterey and iOS 15 beta testers, it took us a while to discover that there is no SharePlay button anywhere in FaceTime. Instead, you must start playing a piece of media, which triggers a pop-up notification asking if you want to share with friends or view it yourself.

Once I figured it out, it’s nice to be able to sit down and watch for a few minutes Mythical mission with my friend. Unfortunately, even if FaceTime is open to Android and Windows users via online video chat, these people cannot enjoy SharePlay content. It remains to be seen whether and how media providers will adopt the service.With Apple TV+ content, you with Your friends need to subscribe to watch any content. I can’t imagine Netflix or Disney+ will be more lenient and allow a single subscriber to share something with friends.

Other notable additions:

  • The new focus mode is a good way to reduce notification interference. You can also customize your focus options to allow messages from specific users.

  • Quick Notes is an easy way to get quotes and other pieces of information from websites and documents. They appear in the Notes app and are synchronized on all your Apple devices via iCloud.

  • I don’t have much time to delve into shortcuts, but at first glance, they seem to be a more user-friendly attempt to automate macOS. One of the built-in shortcuts should be able to make a GIF from a video file, but whenever I try to trigger it with Siri, it throws an error.

  • Live text is a beautiful feature that allows you to choose the text embedded in the photo. It is useful for obtaining information from receipts, and I bet it is also useful for handwritten notes.

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