macOS 13 Ventura: Latest beta, new features, and everything you need to know

Apple introduced macOS 13 Ventura to the world at the 2022 WWDC, Apple’s annual developer showcase where the company traditionally launches new releases to its major software and operating system platforms. The successor to macOS 12 Monterey, Ventura offers many new and updated features that bring the Mac experience closer to iOS/iPadOS. MacOS 13 Ventura runs on most Macs released during the past five years. Here’s everything you need to know. 

Mac OS 13 Ventura: Latest beta

Apple released Beta 4 of macOS 13.5 on May 3, along with new beta releases of the software that powers the iPhone, iPad, Watch, and Apple TV line of products. There’s nothing big to talk about in terms of macOS 13.4 and the only real change we’ve come across in any of the previous betas is the removal of the need for profiles when accessing beta releases.

Just like Apple’s other platforms, macOS now allows people to sign in using their Apple ID and access any betas they’re eligible for without any additional work.

Mac OS 13 Ventura: Current version

macOS Ventura 13.3 was released on March 28 following weeks of beta releases.

The latest stable release of the Ventura operation system adds 21 new emojis, including animals and hand gestures. There’s also support for iCloud Shared Photo Library when detecting duplicates. Many of the same fixes come over from iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4, while Freeform has gained an upgraded remove background option that isolates the subject in an image.

In addition, Apple has added new keyboard layouts for Choctaw, Chickasaw, Akan, Hausa, and Yoruba, and a fix has been applied for trackpad gestures that might sometimes just not work.

Shortcuts users can now also make use of a number of new actions including the ability to find books, configure AirDrop, find displays, and more.

Freeform

(Image credit: Apple)

With the launch of macOS Ventura 13.1, Apple brought forth a completely new app from the company — and it’s all about collaboration. On December 13, 2022, Apple finally launched Freeform, a brand new app from the tech giant that seeks to help with “creative brainstorming and collaboration.” 

The app, which is now available on compatible iPhones, iPads, and Macs, allows users to “organize and visually lay out content on a flexible canvas, giving them the ability to see, share, and collaborate all in one place without worrying about layouts or page sizes.”

macOS Ventura: the iMore review

Our review of macOS 13 Ventura details what an incremental update that’s better than macOS 12 Monterey but not as extraordinary as macOS 11 Big Sur. Regardless, it’s here, it’s ready for your Mac, and you should definitely update — if only for the bug fixes.

To be fair, after 19 versions, Apple probably found it challenging to create macOS 13 Ventura. The latest update for Macs offers a comfortable mix of new and updated features. The Stage Manager feature probably got and deserves the most attention; many will love the new feature, although I’m convinced others will turn it off and never worry about it again. With updated tools, Handoff with FaceTime is my favorite, followed by Apple’s changes to the Mail app. 

On a more negative note, although I like how it was executed, Continuity Camera proves how poor Mac cameras are compared to those on iPhone. Additionally, I question whether the new iCloud Shared Photo Library will find broad adoption as it sounds like a feature we’ve all been using for many years.

What’s new in macOS 13 Ventura

Apple’s macOS 13 Ventura isn’t as significant an update as macOS 11 Big Sur, although it is more extensive than macOS 12 Monterey in terms of new and updated features. (Apple nonetheless likes to tout the slew of minor tweaks (opens in new tab) and incremental updates it has added, as it does for every new software update.) But, as our early preview showed, there’s something for everyone in Ventura. 

Stage Manager

Stage Manager on Mac

macOS Ventura (Image credit: iMore)

Also announced for iPadOS 16, Stage Manager provides a new way to organize your open app windows on Mac. It does so by keeping the current window in the center of the screen while putting the other open windows on the left-hand side as tiny icons. You can go back and forth between open windows with ease. You can also group open windows based on specific tasks or projects.

When Stage Manager was first announced, there were a lot of controversies about which iPads would support it (only specific iPad Pro models). Luckily, there’s not a similar issue on Mac. If your computer supports macOS 13 Ventura (see bottom), it will work with Stage Manager.

Continuity Camera

Macos 13 Continuity Camera

Macos 13 Continuity Camera (Image credit: Apple / Olivia Bee)

The webcam on Mac is getting an all-new look in macOS 13 Ventura. With the power of Continuity, your iPhone camera can act as your Mac’s webcam. Using FaceTime and other camera apps, you can bring innovative new features to all Macs, including Center Stage, Portrait, Studio Light, and more.

In addition, third-party accessory makers such as Belkin are currently designing stands so you can place your iPhone above your Mac. These will arrive this fall alongside the macOS update.

New Mail features

In macOS 13 Ventura, Apple is finally adding features some third-party mail apps have had for a long time. These include the ability to unsend and schedule emails, among other new offers. With the former, you can unsend an email within 10 seconds of first sending it. The feature gives you a little time to bring back an embarrassing or incorrect email. The latter makes it possible to schedule emails, so they go out at a more opportune time.

The Mail app in macOS 13 Ventura also adds the ability to get reminders to follow up or come back to a message later and rich links, which give email messages more content and details at a glance. Mail will also alert you when you forget to include an attachment or a recipient. There’s also a smarter search engine in place.

System Settings

System Settings on Mac

(Image credit: iMore)

In macOS 13 Ventura, System Preferences has been replaced by System Settings. With the name change comes a redesign that should look very similar; System Settings on Mac includes a sidebar design like the one found on iPad.

Safari and Passkeys

Passwords could be a thing of the past, thanks to Passkeys. Available within Safari, Passkeys introduces a new sign-in method that provides end-to-end encryption to thwart phishing and data leaks. Apple says Passkeys are stronger than two-factor authentication and will work on Mac and even non-Apple devices.

Safari is also picking up shared tab groups. With these tabs, you can share Safari tabs and bookmarks, send messages, and start FaceTime directly from the app.

Spotlight

macOS Ventura Spotlight

macOS Ventura Spotlight (Image credit: Apple)

Apple seems to tweak Spotlight, the built-in search tool for Mac, each year. In macOS 13 Ventura, the Spotlight changes mainly focus on an enhanced image search, although other changes also look promising. The updated Spotlight tool makes it possible to find images in Safari, Photos, Messages, Notes, and the Finder. With Live Text, you can also find pictures by whatever text might be included in an image.

Meanwhile, the new Spotlight design in macOS 13 Ventura provides large, scrollable previews of your files, plus additional information whenever search results include contacts, albums, TV shows, and more.

Messages

Like with Mail, you now have the ability to unsend iMessages in the Messages app. You can also edit already sent messages. Both have a 15-minute time limit to do so. Apple’s also bringing SharePlay to Messages so you can watch TV shows or listen to music with others directly from that app. Other collaboration tools are also set to arrive on Messages this fall.

Photos

Photos on macOS Ventura

(Image credit: iMore)

We can already share photos with others. However, those photos are ultimately stored in your existing iCloud Photos library. With the all-new iCloud Shared Photo Library feature, content is entirely separate from other photo libraries, and members (up to six) can view, add, and manage content at will. The Photos app will also suggest which photos should be shared with others based on what’s already there.

FaceTime

Last year, Apple made significant changes to FaceTime, including SharePlay. In macOS 13 Ventura, there’s only one new feature in FaceTime, and yet, it’s a pretty big one. Thanks to Handoff, you can now move a FaceTime call from one device to another with a click. So, for example, you could start a call on your Mac but shift it later to your iPhone and vice versa.

Privacy updates

Apple’s software has long been packed with advanced privacy features. This time around, it’s adding even more. With macOS 13 Ventura, Apple will send out essential security improvements between regular software updates. These updates, called “Rapid Security Response,” ensure your Mac is always protected against the latest security issues.

The company is also locking Hidden and Recently Deleted photo albums by default. To open these, you’ll need to use your Mac authentication method: Touch ID or password.

Accessibility

On the accessibility front, Apple’s introducing Live Captions, which turns audio into text in real-time. There’s also a Voice Control spelling mode and buddy controller. The latter lets you combine two game controllers so that someone can help you while playing your favorite games.

Other goodies

There are additional macOS 13 Ventura features that haven’t gotten much attention. Among these are:

  • The official Clock and Weather apps jump from iPhone to Mac. Better still, they’re taking advantage of Mac’s larger display.
  • A new Apple News sports feature makes finding information about your favorite sports teams easier, including their schedules, results, and standings.
  • The Home app is getting a minor update across all Apple platforms. The redesigned app makes it easier to organize, navigate, and view your smart home accessories. There’s also support for the Matter home connectivity standard for the first time.
  • Meanwhile, your Memoji are picking up new stickers and customization options. These include nose shapes, headwear, hairstyles, and more.
  • Finally, the Maps app is gaining the ability to plan multiple stops along a route in advance. You can also look up directions on your Mac and see them on your iPhone once it’s time to get moving; fares for public transportation are also being added to the Maps app.

Questions and Answers

How do I download Ventura for Mac?

Can I upgrade to macOS 13 Ventura?

According to Apple (opens in new tab), the macOS 13 Ventura update is compatible with and will run on the following devices:

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

When did macOS Ventura launch?

Introduced to the public at WWDC 2022 on June 6, 2022, macOS 13 Ventura was available in a public beta that lasted throughout the summer and fall of 2022. Ventura officially launched on October 24, 2022. 

Read more at iMore.

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