macOS Monterey might seem like nothing but a minor, iterative OS release. On the surface, its biggest new features — SharePlay, Focus, Shortcuts — are all about integrating with the iPhone and iPad. But when you look a bit deeper, you’ll find that, as always, Apple has made some small tweaks that improve the overall Mac experience — provided you know where to look for them. Here are a dozen of our favourite not-so-well-known features in macOS Monterey.
A Hello screen saver for everyone
Let’s start with the most important feature: The coveted Hello screensaver, once thought exclusive to the 24-inch iMac, is now available for all Macs. There’s no more need to use a workaround or a hack to make your computer a little friendlier.
Go to System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > Screen Saver > Hello. Click the “Screen Saver Options” button to change the theme and available languages.
Get more juice using Low Power Mode
Low Power Mode has been a staple of the iPhone user’s life for years now. With macOS Monterey, Apple is bringing a similar feature to the Mac.
This feature can only be enabled from System Preferences > Battery > Battery > Low Power Mode. Once enabled, your Mac will reduce energy usage to increase battery life.
Easily replace tiled windows in Split View
If you use Split View often, this little feature will save you a lot of time. Now, you can easily switch out a window in the Split View pair. Hover over the green Maximise button in the toolbar and choose the “Replace Tiled Window” option. Then, choose from one of the available windows on the desktop to switch to it.
Customise your mouse’s cursor colour
Here’s a fun new addition to macOS Monterey: You can now customise the colour of your mouse pointer. Why would you want to do that? …Anyway, go to System Preferences > Accessibility > Vision > Display > Pointer. Here, you’ll find two different options: “Pointer Outline Colour” and “Pointer Fill Colour.” Click on either to get a colour selection tool and switch to any colour that you like; the change will take effect immediately. If you want to go back to how things used to be, click the “Reset” button.
Find your passwords in System Preferences
Your passwords now live in System Preferences — there’s no need to open up Safari and hunt for the right menu option. From System Preferences > Passwords, you’ll be able to view and edit all your passwords and set two-factor authentication for your accounts. Even better, it’s now possible to import and export all your passwords with a click.
You can reset your Mac just like your iPhone
There’s a new option in System Preferences that finally lets you reset and clean install your Mac without having to format and reinstall your OS at the same time.
Go to System Preferences, and click the “System Preferences” button from the menu bar. Then, choose “Erase All Content and Settings.” Now, follow the wizard to select and delete your account and personal details.
Copy and translate text from anywhere, even from images
Live Text and Translate are two big features in macOS Monterey, and they’re both hidden by default. If you’re using a supported Mac, you can now copy text from any image, just as would copy text from a document.
Hover over text on image, and you should see the cursor turn into the text selection tool. Then, just select the text and copy it. The translate feature works similarly for both text and text in images. Highlight the text, right-click, and choose the “Translate” option to get started.
Start a Quick Note from the bottom-right corner
macOS Monterey brings iPad’s Quick Notes feature to the Mac. Want to quickly jot something down but don’t want to go to the trouble of opening the Notes app? Start a Quick Note: move your cursor to the bottom-right corner of the screen and you’ll see a little white square appear. Click on it to start a new note, which will float on top of every other window on the screen.
This is a full-fledged note, too: You get access to all the formatting and media features that you’re used to, and you can revisit it from the Notes app at any time.
AirPlay from iPhone to Mac
The Mac can now finally serve as AirPlay receiver for iPhone and iPad (just like your Apple TV). Make sure your devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, and that all your connectivity features are enabled. Then, go to the Screen Mirroring or AirPlay menu from Control Centre on your tablet or phone. You’ll see your MacBook listed here. Select it to instantly mirror your iPhone or iPad screen, or to play the media that’s on your iPhone.
Quickly Convert HEIC images to JPEG or PNG files
Apple’s HEIC format for photos is efficient, improving image quality while making them take up less space — provided you keep said image on your phone. macOS Monterey finally lets you quickly convert HEIC images to JPEGs or PNGs (and vice-versa).
Right-click the image file and choose Quick Actions > Convert Image. From here, choose the image format and the size and click the “Convert to JPEG” button. The new image will be saved in the same folder.
Use the better Go To option in Finder
Apple has massively improved the “Go to Finder” feature in the Finder app. You can get there using the Go > Go to Finder feature from the menu bar, or using the Shift + Command + G keyboard shortcut.
Here, you can paste in the path like you’re used to, or you can type in a folder name to search for it, like you would in Spotlight Search. You’ll see results at the bottom. And after selecting a path, you’ll see some sub-folder options right in the drop-down menu, which makes them easier to switch to as well.
Use an interactive Memoji on the lock screen
If you use your Memoji as your avatar, you’re in for a treat: Your Memoji will now keep animating and switching poses on the lock screen, just like it does on the Memoji watch face on the Apple Watch. When you get your password wrong, your Memoji will even scoff at you.
If you aren’t using your Memoji as your avatar, go to System Preferences > Users & Groups, click your profile picture, and switch to “Memoji.”