Apple’s next version of macOS — which we now know will be called Ventura — will launch later this year, but we already know a lot about Ventura and its new features after Apple unveiled everything at WWDC 2022 in June. Beta testers can use Ventura now, but the rest of us will have to wait until fall. The question is, will there be enough improvements to tempt you to upgrade from Monterey to Ventura?
In this article, we’ll walk through how Ventura compares to Monterey and we’ll discuss the new features it will bring to your Mac. Before you get too excited about the new features coming in Ventura, a word of warning: your Mac may not be able to use Ventura at all, or it may only be compatible with some of its features. See: macOS 13 Ventura compatibility and Ventura features that only work on new Macs.
What’s new in Ventura compared to Monterey?
macOS has gone through some serious overhauls over the past generations. Big Sur brought a redesigned interface with new features such as Control Center and the revamped Notification Center. This was built on in macOS Monterey with the addition of new features in FaceTime, such as speech isolation for enhanced sound and SharePlay for sharing content with others. Monterey also brought Continuity tools like AirPlay to Mac, allowing other Apple devices to appear on the bigger screen. The headline feature – Universal Control – didn’t arrive until March 2022, now you can share a mouse and keyboard between Macs and iPads.
There are a lot of new features coming to macOS Ventura, going beyond what we learned in Monterey and refining and improving some of the features we’ve enjoyed for years. As usual, much of what the new version of macOS brings is better integration with your iOS and iPadOS devices, but there are some new features that only Mac users will appreciate.
Here are the main ways macOS Ventura is different from macOS Monterey:
One of the new design changes that showed up at WWDC is Stage Manager. This is meant to make it easier to switch between the multiple apps we have open on our desktops. Think of it as an evolution of Spaces and Exposé – two useful features that have been on our Macs for a long time. When using Stage Manager, clusters of apps and windows can appear on the left side of your screen, allowing you to group things you’re working on, rather than cluttering your screen with everything you have open in a day.
To the left of the app you’re working on, you’ll see the various other open apps. If you have multiple windows for one of these, they will stack on top of each other to keep things simple. Clicking on anything in the left column will immediately bring it to the foreground and replace the one you were working on, which is then added to the Stage Manager area.
For an app with multiple instances open, clicking the top one in the Stage Manager area will move it forward, then the stack will scroll forward to show the next instance. Clicking on the stack will keep scrolling through the open windows until you find the one you’re looking for.
Of course, you can do a lot of this on macOS Monterey (and several earlier versions) via Spaces, which creates individual desktops where you can keep apps apart, reducing clutter. So if you’re already working that way, Stage Manager might not be such a big step forward.
Read more about Stage Manager.
Spotlight is already a powerful way to search for apps, files, and other content on macOS Monterey. In macOS Ventura, Apple improves on Spotlight so that it integrates better with the other Apple devices you own. For example, you can easily find photos in your iCloud Photo Library, as well as on your hard drive or on the web. Need a photo of a lighthouse? Type it into Spotlight and you should get a lot of images because of the way Spotlight uses Machine Learning to recognize the content of images. Spotlight in Ventura also supports the Live Text feature added in iOS 15, and allows you to interact with the text in those images, which is pretty cool.
Apple has also beefed up the results pane, making it larger so you can get richer search results with more information on the topics in question. You can also start timers from Spotlight, which can be quite handy if you’re always fumbling to find the Clock app on your iPhone, since your Mac can’t set timers and alarms.
Mail is one of the core apps that lags behind many third-party alternatives (see: Best Email App for Mac). This should change in macOS Ventura, now that Apple is finally introducing some features that have been available in other offerings for a while.
These include the ability to Unsend, which will recall any emails you may have sent in error. You can also schedule emails to be sent at specific times, plus Mail will track your sent messages and remind you if no response has been received yet so you can chase them. Search improvements have also been made, with more detailed results and smart software tweaks that help it find what you’re looking for even if the search term isn’t spelled correctly.
In macOS Monterey, we saw the introduction of tab groups, which allow users to create a group of tabs that can be accessed separately from the normal tabs you can open. This means that you can create collections for certain things, such as your early morning news, shopping for certain products, or gathering information for a project.
Now, in macOS Ventura, you can take this a little further with the new Shared Tab Groups. This works in a similar way, but you can share the tab groups with other people who can also add their own tabs to the collection. This can be very useful if you are planning trips together, working on projects together or just making each other laugh with funny things you find online.
Privacy is always a concern online and macOS Ventura does this through a new feature called Passkeys. These are essentially locally generated password alternatives for sites and apps, using Touch ID or Face ID for authentication. Best of all, the information never leaves your Mac, so it can’t be stolen from the company’s web servers or phishing in emails sent to you. It’s still early days, but Apple’s goal is to do away with passwords altogether, and we’re fine with that.
One of the standout features of macOS Monterey was Universal Control, which lets you use your keyboard, trackpad, or mouse interchangeably on iPads and Macs, with the added benefit of dragging content between the two. All of this is accomplished through Continuity and Handoff. In macOS Ventura, Apple continues to leverage these technical capabilities with a new feature called Continuity Camera. This instantly turns your iPhone into a webcam for your Mac. It’s well documented that Mac webcams are somewhat disappointing, so it makes perfect sense to use the much better rear cameras on your iPhone.
It supports Center Stage and Portrait Lighting, and if your iPhone has an Ultra-Wide camera, it can also split the image between you and your desk contents. Very smart.
Handoff also makes it easy to switch between FaceTime calls on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad in Ventura, so you can take the call on your iPhone while walking to your desk, then switch from your iPhone to the Mac.
For more information, see: What is Continuity Camera and how to use it.
Should I upgrade to macOS Ventura?
In addition to all of the above changes, Apple has also announced that macOS Ventura will bring enhanced gaming capabilities through Metal 3, updates to Notes, Dictation, Home, Reminders, Apple News, Weather, and even the Clock app. All this makes macOS Ventura a worthy successor to macOS Monterey.
Keep in mind that Apple has announced several Macs won’t make it when it comes to the upgrade, so check out our guide to the Macs getting macOS Ventura to see if your device qualifies. If so, and you don’t want to wait until later this year to try out the new features, you can always read our guide to installing macOS Ventura beta.