Passkeys will sync across all your iCloud-enabled devices, including iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, in addition to Mac (with end-to-end encryption). On non-Apple devices, you’ll have to sign in using your iPhone. Google and Microsoft are part of the same group working with the FIDO digital identity organization, so similar functionality is coming to Windows and Android soon.
The Home app received a long-overdue redesign. You’re now able to see your entire home in one feed, making it easier to navigate and organize all of your smart home accessories. With support for the Matter standard, you can now add and connect accessories beyond the Apple ecosystem.
If you’ve ever wished you could use your iPhone’s excellent camera instead of the relatively crappy one on your Mac during video calls, your wish has been granted. Apple introduced a new feature called Continuity Camera (for the iPhone XR or later). It works wirelessly. If you have a newer MacBook (with an M1 or M2 processor), it automatically recognizes your iPhone camera whenever it’s nearby. From there you can take advantage of the same features you’d find on recent Mac cameras, including Center Stage and Portrait Mode. The company also teamed up with Belkin to release a circular plastic mount that snaps onto your iPhone so the handset’s camera can be easily positioned at the top of a MacBook’s display.
Other features take advantage of the iPhone’s advanced optics. With Studio Light on the iPhone 12 and later, the camera will brighten your face while dimming the background. A feature called Desk View, compatible with the iPhone 11 and later, shows your face and an overhead video of your desk at the same time. It does this by utilizing the wide field of view of the ultrawide lens on the iPhone and computationally pulling apart the image to create two separate views. The result looks as though you’re using two cameras—one pointed at you, one pointing down.
Apple’s search tool received a rather hefty revamp with MacOS Ventura. Originally introduced in iOS 15, you can use Spotlight on your Mac to search for photos, messages, notes, and images from the web. It also supports Quick Look, allowing you to see full-size previews of files. You can also create timers, set alarms, and run additional shortcuts.
Rather than hanging up and restarting a FaceTime call whenever you want to switch to another device, the new Handoff feature in Ventura lets you transfer the call to another machine. So if you’re on a FaceTime call on your iPhone, your Mac will recognize that you’re nearby and show a prompt asking whether you want to move the call over to your Mac. You can do so with a click. It works the other way too; you can start a FaceTime call on your Mac and move it over to your iPad or iPhone.
In 2021, Apple introduced Focus Mode—a feature that lets you create profiles to limit certain distractions and alerts on your Mac. You can choose from preset options like Do Not Disturb, Commuting, Sleep, Personal, Driving, and Work, or create your own. Now, you can add Focus Filters within specific apps as well, including Calendar, Mail, Messages, and Safari. For example, if you have Work Focus on with Safari, you’ll only see tabs that pertain to work. That way you can better focus on the tasks in front of you.
Apple’s new Stage Manager feature automatically organizes all your open apps on the left side of your screen. This keeps them discernible at a glance and in full view rather than hidden behind other apps or down in the dock. Stage Manager keeps whatever app you’re using in the center of the screen. You can also group apps together for specific projects, and rearrange the sizes and positions within your focused workspace. Switch between windows whenever you need to; Stage Manager will preserve your groupings and the arrangement of apps within the group.
As an added layer of protection from “highly sophisticated cyberattacks,” Apple introduced Lockdown Mode. When turned on, features, apps, and websites will be limited for security in an effort to help keep spyware or malware from compromising specific data. You can learn more details about the feature and how to enable it here.
FreeForm is a new productivity app from Apple that allows you to collaborate with others in one space simultaneously. You can share files, as well as insert videos, web links, documents, and audio. It’s an ideal tool for those who want to brainstorm with groups in real time. In addition to MacOS, the app is also available on iOS and iPadOS. You can read our impressions on Freeform here. It’s important to note that if you were having an issue where drawing strokes (whether you used your finger or an Apple Pencil) were not appearing on shared boards, Apple has fixed the issue with MacOS Ventura 13.2.
Those who use their M1- or M2-powered Mac for gaming will see a redesigned Game Center dashboard, complete with the ability to see what friends are playing, when they beat your high score, and all their achievements. You’ll also be able to play any multiplayer game in Game Center using SharePlay.
Apple ID Support for Physical Authentication Keys
For an extra layer of security on your devices, Apple has added support for hardware keys as part of its two-factor authentication process. Unlike codes, hardware tokens can’t be shared or compromised as easily.
Rapid Security Response
Rather than going through the process of installing a new version of an operating system whenever Apple issues important security patches, this feature automatically installs the fix whenever you quit an app or restart your Mac (depending on the exact fix).
The feature is enabled by default but you can turn it off. Go to System Settings > General > Software Update > Automatic Updates and then click the “i” icon on the right. From there, toggle off Install Security Responses and system files. To turn it back on, follow the same steps.
- Weather App: Apple finally brought the Weather app to Mac. You now have access to local forecasts, air quality, and precipitation intensity.
- Clock App: You also have access to the Clock app—as seen on the iPhone and iPad. You can use it to see local times in various time zones and set alarms.
- Reminders: If you rely on the Reminders app, you can create, share, and save templates to reuse. With a new Completed Smart List, you’re also able to see your completed reminders, and when they were completed, all in one place.
- Notes: Rather than creating a new password to lock notes, you can use your Mac password, eliminating the need to remember multiple passcodes. With Smart Folders comes new customizable filters too, based on checklists, attachments, creation dates, and more.
- Dictation: As you speak, Dictation will automatically add punctuation with periods, commas, and question marks. You’ll be able to use your voice to add emojis, too.
- System Settings: The System Settings menu received a full revamp, with a sidebar design that resembles the one you’d find on iPhone and iPad—making it easier to use.
- Apple News: Sports fans are now able to follow their favorite teams and leagues to stay up-to-date on the latest news from various publications, along with scores and schedules.