macOS Monterey will support smoother screen updates with Adaptive Sync on compatible Macs and displays

Apple iMac playing games
Apple iMac playing games (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • macOS Monterey will support Adaptive Sync for improved screen refreshes.
  • Variable screen refreshes make for a better gaming experience.

Apple has confirmed that macOS Monterey, due to release later this year, will include native support for Adaptive Sync on external displays. The announcement came as part of a WWDC developer session as the week-long event comes to an end.

The support of Adaptive Sync will depend on a few things, though. It'll work on all Macs with Apple silicon inside, so M1 chips and newer. Some Intel Macs will also work just fine, but it depends on the connectivity options they have. DisplayPort 1.2a connectivity will be required and it just so happens that's the same tech that powers Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync.

Discover how to achieve smooth screen updates on all Apple platforms that support dynamic display timing. Learn techniques for pacing full-screen game updates on Adaptive Sync displays in macOS, and find out how Low Power Mode and other system states affect frame rate availability on ProMotion displays. We'll also share best practices for driving custom drawing using display link APIs.

The main reason for Adaptive Sync is gaming, with displays able to adjust their refresh rate to match the current frame rate of the game that's playing. That makes for a better gaming experience and it's something gamers have been enjoying in the PC world for years now. It's a welcome addition to macOS to be sure, although it's a matter for debate as to whether it will have all that big of an impact. Mac users don't tend to be playing games on them, after all.

Looking to pick up a new monitor for your Mac? These are some of the best 4K monitors money can buy and many support Adaptive Sync, too.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.