Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.1 With SharePlay
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.1, the first major update to the macOS Monterey update that initially launched in October.
The macOS Monterey update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences. Apple has also released a macOS Big Sur 11.6.2 update for those still running macOS Big Sur and a Security Update 2021-008 for those running macOS Catalina.
macOS Monterey 12.1 adds a major missing feature to the Mac -- SharePlay. With SharePlay, Mac owners can watch TV, listen to music, and play games with friends and family members over FaceTime.
Using SharePlay, all kinds of apps integrate with FaceTime, and content is synced for all people who are part of the FaceTime call. You can listen to music and access shared playlists using Apple Music, watch synced TV shows and movies together with the TV app, work out together with Apple Fitness+, and even share your screen with friends and family members for things like group trip planning or device troubleshooting.
SharePlay was designed to work with first-party apps like Apple TV and Apple Music, but Apple designed an API for developers so third-party apps can also use FaceTime for shared games and other experiences.
macOS Monterey 12.1 brings support for the $4.99 Apple Music Voice Plan that's designed to work with Siri, and it adds Communication Safety for children in the Messages app. There are updates to the Memories feature in Photos to bring macOS 12 in line with iOS 15, and the update includes the same Digital Legacy feature being introduced in iOS 15.2.
Digital Legacy lets you designate a person as a Legacy Contact to give them access to your iCloud account when you die. Apple has also added Hide My Email support for the Mail app, a Store tab in the TV app, and bug fixes for the trackpad, HDR video playback on YouTube, charging, and notch display issues. Apple's full release notes for the update are below.
macOS Monterey 12.1 adds SharePlay, an entirely new way to have shared experiences with family and friends in FaceTime. This update also includes the Apple Music Voice Plan, new safety features for children and parents in Messages, redesigned Memories in Photos, and other features and bug fixes for your Mac.
- SharePlay is a new way to share synchronized experiences in FaceTime with content from the Apple TV app, Apple Music, and other supported apps
- Shared controls give everyone the ability to pause, play, rewind or fast forward
- Smart volume automatically lowers the audio of a movie, TV show or song when you or your friends speak
- Screen sharing lets everyone on a FaceTime call look at photos, browse the web, or help each other out
Apple Music Voice Plan
- Apple Music Voice Plan is a new subscription tier that gives you access to all songs, playlists, and stations in Apple Music using Siri
- Just Ask Siri suggests music based on your listening history and likes or dislikes
- Play it Again lets you access a list of your recently played music
- Memories has been redesigned with a new interactive interface, new animation and transition styles, and multiple image collages
- New Memory types include additional international holidays, child-focused memories, trends over time, and improved pet memories
- Communication safety setting gives parents the ability to enable warnings for children when they receive or send photos that contain nudity
- Safety warnings contain helpful resources for children when they receive photos that contain nudity
Siri and Search
- Expanded guidance in Siri, Spotlight and Safari Search to help children and parents stay safe online and get help with unsafe situations
- Digital Legacy allows you to designate people as Legacy Contacts so they can access your iCloud account and personal information in the event of your death
- Store tab lets you browse, buy, and rent movies and TV Shows all in one place
This release also includes the following enhancements for your Mac:
- Hide My Email is available in the Mail app for iCloud+ subscribers to create unique, random email addresses
- Stocks allows you to view the currency for a ticker and see year-to-date performance when viewing charts
- Reminders and Notes now allow you to delete or rename tags
This release also includes bug fixes for your Mac:
- Desktop and Screen Saver may appear blank after selecting photos from the Photos library
- Trackpad could become unresponsive to taps or clicks
- External displays may not charge some MacBook Pro and MacBook Air computers when connected using Thunderbolt or USB-C
- HDR video playback on YouTube.com could cause 2021 MacBook Pro computers to panic
- Menu bar extras may be obscured by the camera housing on 2021 MacBook Pro computers
- MagSafe may stop charging on 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro computers when lid is closed and system is shut down
For more on the new features that have been introduced with macOS Monterey, we have a dedicated macOS Monterey roundup.