Should you upgrade to MacOS 12 Monterey?

Mac OS Monterey

Apple will release their most recent upgrade for Macintosh October 25th, called Mac OS 12 Monterey. (Yet another in the series of California-themed packages like Big Sur, Catalina and Mojave.)

For the most part, last year’s macOS 11 Big Sur release has proven to be relatively solid, with far fewer complaints than previous upgrades. Some beta testers believe that macOS 12 Monterey is more of a refinement upgrade, without the major architectural changes that marked Big Sur and Catalina. That would suggest more stability and the possibility of an easier and earlier upgrade.

macOS 12 Monterey is looking to integrate all your Apple devices much more seamlessly than ever before, and it’s getting a lot of changes that will make it the best version to update to. Big Sur was the first macOS to bring constant integration with other iOS devices, and Monterey is looking to improve that. Here is a quick look at the new upgrades that are going to take place with Monterey over Big Sur:

  • Seamless and Universal Control across all Apple Devices
  • Spatial Audio support
  • AirPlay being introduced in macOS
  • Improved FaceTime and audio features
  • Newly designed Safari and extensions
  • Automation and Focus increases productivity
  • Under the hood improvements for Notes and iCloud
  • Improved Performance throughout the UI
  • Privacy improvements for the OS and User

All these design and performance upgrades are looking to change the overall experience of how you use your Mac and make it a whole lot better and tightly integrated, compared to Big Sur.

So, should you upgrade to macOS Monterey?

Here’s a list of the models the can run Monterey:

  • iMac – Late 2015 and later
  • iMac Pro – 2017 and later
  • MacBook – Early 2016 and later
  • MacBook Air – Early 2015 and later
  • MacBook Pro – Early 2015 and later
  • Mac Pro – Late 2013 and later
  • Mac mini – Late 2014 and later

If you’re someone who has crucial data that you can’t risk losing at all and are happy with how Big Sur is performing for you, then stay as you are, and hold back on the update and let it roll out to see how it fares with your device and how stable it is to use.

An Ounce of Prevention…

If you are ready to dive in, as always, the very first thing to do is to make a solid backup of your existing data. RoaringApps has a full listing of which apps are compatible with Monterey and which are not. Also note that the installer download is over 12Gb huge, and you will need plenty of hard drive space for the install to complete.

Want some help with that?

Contact Us if you would like some help with making your transition to Monterey as smooth and as safe as possible. We will get it done!

Mac OS Big Sur: Is It Too Big to Upgrade?

Mac OS X Big Sur

(Update 2/1/2021 – Apple released their Big Sur 11.2 update, and we now give this a thumbs-up, after you have read the entire article below.)

Apple this week finally released their latest operating system for the Mac, Mac OS Big Sur.

We’ll start with the hardest decision—when should you upgrade to macOS 11 Big Sur? Last year, macOS 10.15 Catalina shipped with quite a few problems. We recommended holding off on the upgrade for most people for at least several months. For many of our clients, we’ve recommended staying on 10.14 Mojave for the time being. It’s too early to have a sense of how stable Big Sur will be. But we hope that Apple will have learned its lesson with Catalina and will have shipped a more stable release. 

Note that Big Sur requires a Mac released in 2013 or later; some 2012 models that were compatible with Catalina won’t be able to make the trip to Big Sur.

Apple has put a lot of design effort into the user interface of Big Sur. Windows, menus, dialogs, sidebars, and even icons have all received design updates. You may or may not like the new look more than the old, but again, it’s not a big reason to upgrade quickly for most people.

On the plus side, Apple has worked on smaller features that might improve your everyday user experience. It features a new Control Center, similar to what you’re accustomed to on the iPhone and iPad. It also provides quick access to controls from System Preferences in a single place. Notifications are now grouped by thread or app, and interactive notifications let you do more without opening the associated app.

There’s an App for That…

Safari receives a new start page, shows more tabs at once, displays a preview of a site when you hover over a tab, translates pages into seven languages, provides more privacy details, and checks if your passwords have been involved in a data breach. Messages lets you pin important conversations, thread messages in group conversations, and direct messages to individuals in a group conversation with an @name. Apps such as Photos, Reminders, and Notes also get enhancements, and your AirPods will switch between your devices more seamlessly.

So our advice is to stick with your current version of macOS for now, while Apple, Mac developers, and the Mac community figure out how to sand down the rough edges in everyday Big Sur use.

We recommend waiting until at least version 11.2 before upgrading. That allows time for Apple to resolve any unanticipated problems. However, if you are determined to install Apple’s latest “new and shiny,” make sure you have a solid backup of all your data first. RoaringApps has a full listing of which apps are compatible with Big Sur and which are not. Also note that the installer download is over 12Gb huge, and you will need plenty of hard drive space for the install to complete.

Just like it is in Catalina, 32-bit apps such as Microsoft Office 2011 will not work in Big Sur. You will need a functional alternative to open your Office documents. Fortunately, we have an article about that.

Apple has their own page that will tell you everything they want you to know about it.

Want Some Help With That?

Contact Us if you would like some help with making your transition to Big Sur as smooth and as safe as possible. We will get it done!

Can I Do Dictation on My Mac? Yes!

Most everyone is familiar with how to do dictation on an iPhone by activating the microphone within the keyboard and/or using Siri. This has your phone interpret your speech and turn that into text, as if typing on the keyboard. But did you know you can do the same thing with your Mac? It’s true! Apple has continued to improve upon this service over the years. Any Mac with OS X from Mojave 10.14 and beyond, has the ability to do dictation with high accuracy.

Whether you are composing an email, sending a message through iMessage, or writing a long Word document, your Mac can take dictation for you – no typing required.

Set up your Mac to Listen

  1. Under the Apple menu, open System Preferences.
  2. Select “Keyboard” and when that opens, click on the “Dictation” tab on the right.
  3. For the “Dictation” radio button, turn that to “On.”
  4. On the left, select “Internal Microphone” or other preferred mic. You will see the microphone animation responding to the ambient sound.

To get started, open your email, Word document, or iMessage window and place your cursor where you want to begin. Press the Function or “fn” key in the lower left-hand corner of your keyboard twice in a row. A small window with a microphone will appear and will indicate that your Mac is now listening and waiting to dictate your speaking.

Similar to Siri or dictation on the iPhone, you will need to speak your punctuation as well, such as saying “period” or “question mark” at the end of a sentence. Fortunately, Apple put together a handy list of Commands for Dictating Text on Mac.

When you are finished, either press the Done button text just below the microphone icon, or press the function or “fn” key once to have your Mac stop listening.

The quieter your surrounding environment can be, the more accurate your Mac’s dictation will be.

Can you help me?

Yes, that’s what we’re here for! Contact Us and we can get you set up!

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