Every year in June Apple reveals details of the next major update to its various operating systems. Apple shares tons of information with developers at WWDC (its Worldwide Developers Conference) and the rest of us get to learn what new software features will be coming to Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and everything else. See: WWDC 2022: Everything you need to know.
So, we won’t know exactly what new features will be coming to Macs until June 2022 at the earliest, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make some predictions based on the features still missing from macOS 12 Monterey.
In this article we will discuss the most plausible rumours and the most wanted new features that could be coming to macOS 13 – including the name that Apple might give the 2022 Mac operating system.
When will macOS 13 be released?
While Apple will be discussing the features coming to the next version of macOS in June at WWDC (read: What to expect at WWDC 2022) the software will not be released to the public until much later in the year.
First there will be a beta program – which developers and public beta testers can sign up for (here’s how to take part in Apple’s beta program). The final version of macOS 13 will most likely arrive in October 2022.
In 2021 macOS Monterey arrived on Monday 25 October, so expect a similar time scale – our money is on Monday 24 October 2022.
What will macOS 13 be called?
Apple is likely to retain the tradition of giving every version of macOS a name in addition to a version number. This time the version number will be 13 (unlucky for some, but that didn’t stop Apple calling the 2021 iPhone the iPhone 13).
As for the name we assume it will be named after a landmark or area in California as has been the tradition since Mavericks launched in 2013. Prior to that large cats were used as names for Apple’s Mac operating systems.
9to5Mac found out that Yosemite Research LLC had the naming rights for computer systems to be extended to the term “Mammoth”. You might assume that means Apple can’t use that name – but this company has already acquired other naming rights and transferred them to Apple. Yosemite Research LLC also acquired the rights to the names “Monterey” and “Redwood” for computer systems, but has no longer extended the right to the latter name. Perhaps Yosemite Research LLC is really Apple…
The term “Mammoth” stands for “Mammoth Lakes”, a winter sports resort on the east side of the Sierra Nevada. So it could well be that the next macOS will bear this name, which could be seen to signify it being a large update. However, while Mammoth can mean huge, the name can also lend itself to jokes about macOS being an extinct operating system, so we aren’t convinced that Apple will use the name.
Which Macs will run macOS 13?
Apple had already done most of the work to adapt macOS to the M1 chips before the first Macs with Apple Silicon were launched in 2020. However, chip development at Apple does not stop – Apple developers will continue to adapt and optimize the operating system and programming interfaces to the next generation of chips (read about the Apple M2 and beyond). The next generation of Mac chips will probably have more CPUs than the M1, and perhaps we may even see several of them installed in one Mac.
We mention this because the next Mac operating system will need to operate all these computing units unnoticed by the user, other than that tasks are done quickly. The new chips coming to Macs combined with the operating system improvements could make for some very powerful systems.
But it’s not only the M1 and M2 generations of chips Apple will have to support with macOS 13. Apple will also need to continue to support Intel processors and make sure that they can cope with the next macOS.
Monterey runs on iMac, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air from 2015 as well as the Mac mini from 2014 and Mac Pro from 2013. The 2016 12in MacBook also runs Monterey. See: Which Macs are compatible with Monterey. There is no reason to assume that these Macs won’t be supported by the next macOS, especially since the 2014 Mac mini was sold until 2018 and the Mac Pro from 2013 to 2019. With that in mind Apple can’t remove those Macs from the list when people might have purchased the model just such a short time ago.
Here’s an overview of the Macs that can run Monterey:
- MacBook models from 2016 or later
- MacBook Air models from 2015 or later
- MacBook Pro models from 2015 or later
- Mac mini models from autumn 2014 or later
- iMac models from autumn 2015 or later
- iMac Pro (all models)
- Mac Pro models from 2013 or later
- Mac Studio (all models)
However, even if these Macs are supported then you can expect that they will not support some of the new functions, as was the case in macOS Monterey. See: The Monterey features that Intel Macs don’t support.
The appearance of macOS Big Sur was significantly different compared to previous versions, so it was no real surprise that the visual differences in macOS Monterey were small. We do not think there will be any further fundamental changes in the design of the user interface in 2022 either.
One reason why we think Apple may steer clear of making to big a change to the interface is that when Apple tried to make a fundamental change to the design of Safari in macOS Monterey (and iOS 15) there was an outcry, which meant that it had to make the old version the default again and the new one only an option. As a result we do not expect any fundamental changes to other applications that greatly change the usual operation, but maybe there will also be new options for other Apple programs to adapt the interface to your own wishes.
New features in macOS 13
If you take a look at what innovations macOS Monterey has brought, you will notice that the new features in FaceTime, Messages and the Shortcuts app were borrowed from the iPad and iPhone. In past years we could look to iOS and iPadOS for clues about other features that could be coming to the Mac. However, there are not many more possibilities for aligning macOS apps with those of iPadOS and iOS – most of the work has now been done.
Any further development of apps that can be found on all three platforms will probably take place in parallel. For example, SharePlay is a new feature shared by macOS Monterey, iOS 15 and iPadOS 15. Live Text & Visual Look Up was shared across all three OSs. The changes to FaceTime and Safari came to all three operating systems in 2021.
The one feature that is still missing from Monterey months after launch is Universal Control, which builds on the Mac/iPad Sidecar feature. Once it arrives, Universal Control will allow you to use the same mouse or trackpad to select your Mac screen, type on your Mac with the keyboard, and then select your iPad screen with the same mouse and type there. You’ll also be able to drag and drop from one Mac to the other – and visually it will look like you just have a second screen set up with your Mac. We certainly hope to see this before macOS 13. We run through What Universal Control is and how Universal Control works separately.
We can make some predictions about features that could come to macOS later in 2022 though, based on the best features of iOS and iPadOS that aren’t yet on the Mac, and taking inspiration from our own wishlist of software features we’d like on our Macs.
One feature that Apple could borrow from iOS and iPadOS is App Library. Apple could replace Launchpad on the Mac with App Library so that the programs are sorted by category as they are on the iPad and iPhone.
Increased Control Centre options
The introduction of the Control Centre in Big Sur was great, but one thing we’d like to see in macOS 13 is the ability to remove items that we don’t use. It’s a flashback to the Stocks issue on old version of iOS, but one that can be changed with very little effort from Apple.
We’d also like to see Control Centre support third-party apps so that we can tidy up our menu bar even more – and this would be especially useful to MacBook Pro owners who have the notch to contend with.
System Preferences or Settings
System Preferences is integral to how you manage settings on your Mac – which is why we are left wondering why Apple hasn’t renamed is Settings yet.
Time Machine backups in the cloud
One thing we’ve been wanting for ages is the ability to create Time Machine backups directly to iCloud. While we appreciate that the first backup might be awkwardly large, because of the way Time Machine backs up incrementally it could be a great solution.
There are many benefits to a cloud backup. For example, it would ensure that if your Mac was ever lost in a fire or flood, then the Time Machine backup wouldn’t be destroyed at the same time. The same can’t necessarily be said for a physical drive, which most of us keep very close to where our Macs live.
We think we should be able to restore a Mac from the cloud in the same way as we can do with our iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. Apple will no doubt have good reasons for not offering this yet – but we really think it should!
More (or less) iCloud+
We’d love to see more options for data storage in iCloud+. These could include more intermediate levels for data, because for some users 50GB or 200GB are too little, while 2TB is too much and too expensive. How about a 1TB tier Apple? And if our wish for Time Machine backups comes true then maybe an even larger option.
Unlock your Mac with your iPhone
While more and more Macs now have a fingerprint scanner (as does the 2021 Apple Magic Keyboard, see Best price for Apple Keyboard and Mouse) you can already use your Apple Watch to automatically unlock your Mac, so why not use your iPhone to do the same thing?
Android phones can unlock Chromebooks, so we think it’s high time Apple introduced this feature, especially when you consider a lot more people own iPhones than they do Apple Watches.
If you want to use a third-party app to achieve this, read our guide on how to unlock a Mac with an iPhone.
Touchscreen controls for Mac
Yes, we realise that this is more of a hardware upgrade then software, but with the M1 Macs now running on the same basic platform as iPhones and iPads (or at least a highly compatible one) we think the convergence between the apps and services that’s been discussed for so long might be on the verge of becoming a reality.
If Apple ever plans to update its Mac line to feature touchscreens, then macOS will have to have the capability to accept these touch commands alongside keyboards, mice and trackpads.
More control over font sizes
Big Sur was a very pretty version of macOS, but in some instances the choice of font size can make it hard to read for those who aren’t blessed with 20/20 vision. Unless you go into the accessibility settings there’s no easy way to adjust the scaling and makes things easier to read. Fixing this would be very welcome in macOS 13.
Time for an alarm clock
There’s a clock on the Mac, but compared to the iOS and iPadOS Clock app it lacks so many useful features, including multiple alarms, timers, stopwatches and more. In macOS 13, we’d like to see an optimised Clock app built-into the system. Let us set alarms on our Mac Apple!
Other candidates for improvements through machine learning are text and speech recognition. Apple introduced its digital voice assistant with the release of the iPhone 4S back in 2011. It’s been a long time and yet Siri doesn’t seem to have got a lot better at his/her job.
It’s time for Apple to fix the basic things that are wrong with Siri. For example we’d like to be able to use Siri even when the computer is offline, or be able to set a timer on a Mac.
Something else that machine learning could help with is the recognition of gestures using the built-in camera. Could we wave at our FaceTime camera to get our Mac to shut down at night.
Over the years at the same time as Apple has updated the Mac operating system it has also made changes to various apps that ship with the Mac, and we can expect more this year. Whichever new features Apple announces for apps like iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, Safari, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Notes, Preview, Messages, Maps, Calendar, Mail, Reminders, TV, and Music, you can expect to see them on the Mac too. There are likely to be changes to the Finder too.
There are some Mac apps still waiting for a iPhone-like update. . One of these is Photo Booth. We think it’s time for Photo Booth to get an update – it’s time to breath some fun back into the app! On the iPhone is a similar app called Clips, and the two could merge to make an entertaining app on the Mac.
While Maps is not naturally an app we use on our Macs – it’s better suited to the iPhone – we assume any changes to Maps on iOS will come to the Mac.
One improvement to Maps we’d like to see is more content in Europe and the UK. For example, Apple currently offers cycle routes for a handful of cities as well as for California and China. For a company that is committed to environmental protection, this is an incomprehensible gap. It’s time for Cupertino to look outside of its own State.
More intelligent Photos
We expect Apple to develop lots of useful features based on machine learning for the next macOS. One candidate for advanced machine learning would be the Photos app, which could be improved with better recognition of people and image content. Machine learning could also contribute to the automatic improvement of photos and videos. However, you should also be able to switch off such automatic processes.
Machine learning-based text recognition in images was introduced to Mac, iPad and iPhone in the 2021 system updates, benefits from the neural engine of Apple chips. A neural engine was first built into the A-chips of iPhones and iPads and is now also part of the M1 chips in many Macs. Live text also works on some Macs with an Intel processor, where the graphics processor is used, but the function only really comes into its own with a Neural Engine.
Better Home app
It’s a sad fact that the Mac versions of iOS apps are often worse. We’d like to see them get significantly better on Mac. The Home app, for example, is not an app that thrives on a Mac at all. Clicking on an accessory to turn it on or off is okay, but right-clicking and then pressing Show controls, to then be able to change the brightness of a lamp does not feel at all well thought out.
Indeed, it does look like Apple has plans for the Home app – a job listing has revealed that the company is recruiting for someone to work on HomeOS, which may mean that more is coming in that respect.
The Apple Health app is an excellent way to monitor your fitness and activity levels, plus if you have the lastest version of the Apple Watch then you can benefit from seeing your blood/oxygen saturation levels.
It’s frustrating then that Apple keeps the Health app on the iPhone and doesn’t allow you to view or use the data on the Mac. We hope this should pave the way for the app to make the transition to macOS.
We’d also like to see Apple port over the Apple Wallet app, Desktop Widgets, and Apple Health and Fitness+ from iOS.
Security and stability enhancements
Every year we see Apple improve security and privacy on the Mac, iPhone and iPad. We expect 2022 will be just the same – in fact, as Roman Loyola argues in macOS 13 features we hope to see, it would make a lot of people happy if the new version of macOS ONLY featured optimizations and updates to make it the most stable OS on the planet. Here’s what we can expect to see (or at least hope to see).
Better password management
With Apple Keychain, there has long been a way to store user names and passwords for websites that you visit in Safari, as well as passwords for network and email accounts. These can also be synchronized between multiple devices if you activate iCloud Keychain. In macOS Monterey a Passwords System Preferences option was added via which you can manage and view all your passwords.
However, this password management only works with Safari passwords right now, other browsers do not use them. Also, passwords for email accounts and for access to WLANs or network drives cannot be found here, but only in keychain management. This is not exactly a shining example of ease of use. Apple could combine password management under one roof in the next version of macOS and possibly open it up for other programs, but this would get in the way of password managers from other manufacturers.
Apple may also continue the path to logging in without passwords via the open web standard Web Authentication (WebAuthn), which is only available as an experimental feature for developers in macOS Monterey. With this technology, which is based on the private and public key system, it would be possible to log in to websites or apps via Face ID or Touch ID via Passkeys stored in iCloud Keychain, without requiring any passwords.
Communication via Messages and FaceTime is safe from prying eyes thanks to end-to-end encryption. However, when communicating by email encryption is still missing. Although there has been a programming interface (API) with MailKit since macOS Monterey, which allows, among other things, Mail extensions to be added to sign and encrypt emails, but nothing has materialized so far.
Maybe Apple will manage to offer encryption in Mail in 2023. After all, since macOS Monterey, you already have the possibility to hide email addresses for privacy reasons, but iCloud+ is required for this.
Unfortunately it’s often the case that when Apple makes updates they introduce more problems than they fix – and this doesn’t do much for user confidence. For that reason we hope that Apple takes the time to make sure that macOS 13 is not full of bugs.
Teething problems are to be expected when making such a big shift, but after months of beta testing you would hope that testers could spot issues with macOS 13 and deliver a more stable and efficient experience for users.