Apple announces macOS Ventura, with a free public beta available next month

macoS Ventura

Yesterday, Apple announced updates to all of its operating systems -- iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and macOS -- and the next version of its desktop operating system is called macOS Ventura. Also known as macOS 13, this will be a free upgrade for anyone with an eligible system and the hardware requirements cut far fewer people out of the loop than Microsoft did with Windows 11.

Apple shared details of the latest version of the OS at WWDC 2022, immediately making a developer preview available for download and promising that a public beta will launch in July. What can you expect to see in Ventura? There's a new app and window management tool called Stage Manager, the ability to use an iPhone as a webcam for a Mac, a greater focus on gaming than before, and much more.

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Stage Manager works in conjunction with the existing Spaces and Mission Control utilities, with the idea behind the latest addition being that it automatically organizes open apps and windows so users can concentrate on their work and still see everything in a single glance. Apple explains that:

The current window users are working in is displayed prominently in the center, and other open windows appear on the left-hand side so they can quickly and easily switch between tasks. Users can also group windows together when working on specific tasks or projects that require different apps.

macoS Ventura Stage Manager

With Continuity, Mac users are able to use their iPhone as a high-quality webcam. Apple says:

Continuity Camera now gives Mac customers the ability to use their iPhone as a webcam, and unlocks new capabilities that were never possible before on a webcam. With the power of Continuity, Mac can automatically recognize and use the camera on iPhone when it is nearby -- without the need to wake or select it -- and iPhone can even connect to Mac wirelessly for greater flexibility. Continuity Camera delivers innovative features to all Mac computers including Center Stage, Portrait mode, and the new Studio Light -- an effect that beautifully illuminates a user’s face while dimming the background. Plus, Continuity Camera taps into the Ultra Wide camera on iPhone to enable Desk View, which simultaneously shows the user’s face and an overhead view of their desk -- great for creating DIY videos, showing off sketches over FaceTime, and so much more.

There also improvements to Safari (including shared Tab Groups), Mail (including enhanced searching), Messages (including the ability to edit recently sent messages) and numerous other built-in apps and features. Spotlight, for instance, now provides a more consistent experience across devices, and System Preference as been rebranded as System Settings and given a redesign that is in keeping with the look and feel of the same feature on iPhone and iPad.

Apple is also making much of the capabilities of its new chips, saying: "The power of Apple silicon enables every new Mac to run AAA games with ease". Upcoming titles include GRID Legends and Resident Evil Village, and the promise of iPad titles such as No Man’s Sky.

So, will you be able to upgrade to Ventura? Apple has shared a list of eligible devices:

  • iMac: 2017 and later
  • Mac Pro: 2019 and later
  • iMac Pro: 2017
  • Mac Studio: 2022
  • MacBook Air: 2018 and later
  • Mac mini: 2018 and later
  • MacBook Pro: 2017 and later
  • MacBook: 2017 and later

There is more information available on the macOS Venture Preview page, with Apple providing details of how to obtain the beta version.

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