So in a first for me, I correctly predicted macOS Monterey.
After getting the developer beta installed on my test Mac, I started poking around.
Since I pay for iCloud storage, I got iCloud+. Some of these features are really awesome! The major features here are Private Relay and Hide My Email. You can find these features in Apple ID within System Preferences.
Hide My Email
This was a feature that was announced when Apple created the Apple Sign In. You had the option to use a free private email to give to websites and apps that would forward to your email. I’ve used this a few times, as you can see. With iCloud+, you can create a forwarder for any reason at any time.
When you create a Hide My Email address, Apple automatically generates a random, unique email address. Once this is generated, it’ll never be used again.
On the next screen, you can give it a label. Like for instance, I’ll use this with Reddit (I’m not, this is just a demo).
And now you have an email address you can easily tell who sells your info. Want to pause email to this address? You can temporarily deactivate it.
When it’s deactivated, you can then re-enable it or delete it if you want to permanently get rid of it. Just go to Options under Inactive Addresses.
From there, you can reactivate or delete it.
This email has been deleted so you can spam it all you want. 🙂
Immeditately, you’ll notice that the address is @icloud.com instead of @privaterelay.appleid.com. This makes it so that providers cannot block these addresses. Otherwise, they’ll have to block all @icloud.com emails. Smart thinking, Apple!
This feature is like a VPN for Safari. It’s pretty basic, but it works great.
By default “Preserve Approximate Location” is selected, but I changed it to Use Broader Location.
And here’s the IP that pulled up when I browsed to https://bgp.he.net.
You can see the IP belongs to Fastly. I’m not sure if this is only for the beta period or if Apple has contracted out with Fastly to operate as a VPN provider.
That’s it. Nothing special here. It’s pretty fast and it will even work if you have internal websites.
The new Safari interface is kind of nice as well.
The tabs and address bar is a little weird, but you get used to it. Safari is nice and fast. Apple has done a great job with it.
Shared with You
This is an interesting feature. Whenever anyone shares something with you, it appears in a relevant app. For example, here is a news article a friend shared with me and it appears in News.
The same with Photos, Music, etc. It’s kinda cool and easy to keep tabs on the things people send you.
Messages got a lot of improvements. One of the big noticable features (also in iOS) is if you send multiple photos, they appear in a stack.
Clicking on the stack (or tapping in iOS), will expand the stack.
Everything is more round – notifications have the same border radius as the windows which also matches the images, as you can see. It may also be my imagination, but the dock seems to be floating higher up. Again, it might be my imagination.
In the keynote, we also saw icons with more pastel colors. These icons are not present in Monterey. Just like Big Sur, expect icons to change throughout the beta process.
At least the batter icon still looks like it did in the final version of Big Sur.
The new Mail privacy is also nice. This is also where I encountered a slight issue. When I was adding my Gmail account, Safari did crash a few times so it took a few tries to get it added. Once it was added, it was smooth.
The other thing I noticed is that the drop shadows in the menu bar have disappeared (see the screenshot of the News app above that includes the menu bar). This is kind of nice as I wasn’t a fan of those drop shadows. The menu bar will change based on the wallpaper.
Overall, it’s very good. It’s quite stable. It’s a lot like Big Sur. It’ll be exciting how Monterey will change by the time Fall comes around!