It wasn't that long ago when the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) felt more like the iOS show. Sure the company also announced updates to macOS (once called OS X) at the annual developer event, but for the most part, most of the sizzle was left for iPhone. That began to change at WWDC 2019 when Cupertino revealed the new software-development tool, Catalyst, then went into overdrive a year later with the arrival of macOS 11 Big Sur and Apple silicon.
The recently announced macOS 13 Ventura update, like its predecessor, macOS 12 Monterey, isn't as groundbreaking as Big Sur. It doesn't need as so much of what has reenergized Mac is happening on the hardware side. The recently released Mac Studio, alongside last year's MacBook Pro lineup, has made huge splashes. That positive wave should continue once the refresh of Apple's top-selling Mac, the MacBook Air, begins arriving in stores.
More discovered about Ventura
Circling back around to Ventura, I've already highlighted the update's most prominent new features and the ones many might have missed after this week's keynote address. After spending a few days with the first Ventura developers beta, I've made even more discoveries worth mentioning about the update. These findings, perhaps, aren't as sexy as earlier ones. And yet, they continue to add to the picture that Ventura is much more substantial than many of us initially believed.
More Safari changes
If you've read any of my articles in recent years about Safari, you already know I've been less than impressed with the many changes Apple has brought to the native web browser for Mac. Fortunately, things have become much more stable in Ventura, and the company has elected not to introduce that many new features this time. However, of the changes Apple did make, a few stand out.
In Ventura, Apple's adding Shared Tab Groups, which makes it possible to share a set of tabs with friends. In addition, these Tab Groups offer different start pages, which you can customize with a fresh background image and favorites. Safari has also picked up extensions syncing, so you can automatically install the same extensions across all your supported devices.
More about Stage Manager to love
Stage Manager has fast become my favorite feature on Mac and iPad. It provides a new way to organize open apps and windows. However, one Stage Manager feature that hasn't been well reported is the grouping option. With drag and drop, you can easily create app sets to work on multiple apps simultaneously.
Facetime Live Captions
A feature exclusive to M1/M2 Macs can automatically generate transcriptions for deaf or hard-of-hearing attendees. The Live Captions tool work with conversations, audio, and video.
Clock App is here!
It took a co-worker to tell me Apple has finally brought the iOS/iPad Clock App to macOS. The news surprised me as I thought it was already available on Mac. Regardless, the gorgeous Clock we've grown to love looks fantastic here and offers many great features. These include setting world clocks, timers, and alarms, extending Clock functionality for shortcuts, and Ask Siri integration.
Spotlight Quick actions
Apple's search function, Spotlight, is picking up a lot of advanced features across its many platforms, including Mac, iPhone, and iPad. One I recently discovered on Ventura is Quick Actions. The tools make it possible to type into Spotlight something that will initiate an action. So, for example, you might use the tool to open an app, play a song in the Music, run a shortcut, and more.
So is the native Weather App
Since the WWDC keynote, I've heard from many people who are thrilled to see the native Weather app finally arrive on iPad. Less advertised is that this has also happened on macOS. The app is beautifully designed even in the first Ventura developers beta. It doesn't contain the smirk long-associated with the Carrot Weather app, but that's fine since this one is free.
Ditch the duplicate Photos
There are a lot of new sharing features worth discussing at another time in the native Photos app in Ventura, iOS 16, and iPadOS 16. The updates also include a duplicate detection tool, which should make it easier to control the size of the Photos database. Other photo apps have long offered duplicate detection, and it's great to see Apple finally join the parade. Apple's tool could prove to be much better since it combines the highest quality and relevant data from both duplicates when one of the photos gets deleted. You can remove all duplicates with one button push for the quickest solution. With iCloud Photos, changes get recorded across all of your devices. If you made a mistake, copies are kept in the Recently Deleted folder for 30 days.
So much to see
The macOS Ventura update should be available in September or October. Currently, it's only available through a developer beta. Apple should release the first public beta in the coming weeks. The update will run on all the best Macs and older models.