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Two months with MacOS Ventura: here’s how it goes and the main news!

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For some time now a Mac Studio that I upgraded to MacOS Ventura, the latest version of the operating system of the bitten apple, currently only available in beta but already very stable and absolutely usable. Compared to the latest releases, I must say that many new features are visible and appreciable even by less “geeks” users, indeed, I would say that the direction taken by Apple with its operating system is precisely that of looking for a simpler and more familiar approach to bring even those who are still skeptical to the Mac world because of a “to learn” operating system. Well, in this article I will tell you, after more than a month of use, what are the most interesting and impactful news in my view.

iPHONE AS WEBCAM

I immediately start with what is the novelty that most intrigued and interested me already only in the announcement phase of the new operating system, or the so-called Continuity Camera. Those who have been using a Mac and an iPhone for a long time will certainly not be surprised by the Continuity package of functions, that is the set of elements of interaction between iPhone and Mac that allow a rapid and absolutely fluid transition of workflows from one medium to another. An example? The synchronized Safari tabs, the shared photos, the notes always updated no matter where we take them, the ability to view and answer calls directly from the desktop and so on. Well, with this release of MacOs, Apple introduces the possibility of using your iPhone as a webcam.

A function that will be very useful especially for those who still have an older generation Mac, perhaps with a 720p webcam, but more generally for those who want quality support to recover during a call or a live. Once the iPhone function is activated it will be seen as a source among the different capture possibilities and can be used as such in all programs that require a webcam. Needless to tell you that the quality is much higher than that of any webcam you can find integrated into a notebook and, despite being a function still in beta, the operation is excellent and the connection very stable. In fact, it is enough that the iPhone and Mac are connected to the same WiFi network, have both Bluetooth turned on and have been logged in with the same Apple ID. If these conditions occur, automatically, you will be offered to use iPhone as a webcam and after accepting the first time it will automatically appear among the options of the various video-call software.

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Having said that, it is also fair to point out that this is not an absolute novelty, there are third-party apps that allow you to do the same thing, but the fact that the function is already integrated into the operating system is a step towards the simplification I mentioned above.

NEW SETTINGS LAYOUT

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And here we are with the second big news, which for some could be a complication rather than an improvement. Don’t worry, it’s just a matter of habit and, as anticipated, it’s a novelty that aims to bring the desktop experience closer to that of mobile devices. I’m talking about the new organization of the settings menu. With MacOS Ventura Apple has redesigned the entire setting menu by changing the graphics, layout and even the navigation system. A really quick glance is enough to understand that everything has been rethought to meet users who come from a mobile operating system, iPadOS or iOS, and for the first time have to do with a Mac.

For how the new menu is set up the experience is very similar to what we find on board an iPhone or even better than an iPad. We therefore have on the left the list of all the settings items that are exploded on the right when we click on one of these to enter its submenu. But it does not end there because in the reorganization some items that were not there before have been added and others have been moved. Don’t panic, what at first may seem like a dead end labyrinth will become absolutely familiar again in no time, it’s just a matter of habit. For the first time, the advice is to use the “search” function which will allow you to identify the items that have changed places until you have learned the path to get there.

STAGE MANAGER
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And let’s move on to the third big news introduced with MacOS Ventura and this time it is a novelty that obviously winks at those who find a Mac in their hands for the first time after years of Windows, or at least, that’s the impression I got after trying it for a while. I’m talking about Stage Manager, the new system for organizing windows open on the desktop. Indeed, even for me, who have been using a Mac for some time now but have been arriving for years and years of Windows PCs, the way in which MacOS manages windows has always been the most difficult element to digest. Dozens of applications and windows open one above the other, sometimes even duplicated, which remain open for days without noticing. Here is the new Stage Manager will allow you to better organize the desktop by moving the applications not in use to the side of the screen, but leaving them clearly visible to be recalled when necessary.

Compared to minimizing them in the taskbar there are two main differences. The first is a decidedly clearer and cleaner display, the second is given precisely by the mechanism and operation of this stage manager that allows us, for example, to overshadow a set of applications with several windows at the same time. We can therefore create real workspaces that are always available to be recalled. For example, imagine grouping apps with chats and email, browsers, productivity apps, all in separate workspaces that can be recalled with a single click. It will take some getting used to but personally I see it as an important step forward for multitasking.

SPOTLIGHT, WEATHER, CLOCK AND PHOTOS
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Still with a view to bringing the desktop experience closer to mobile, and vice versa, MacOS Ventura also brings major changes in Spotlight search and introduces or renews the graphics and functions of some applications such as the Photos, the Weather and the Clock. There really isn’t much to say about the latter two, except that by opening them you will be faced with essentially the same application that you have on your iPad, which differs from that of the iPhone only because of the form-factor. The Photos app has instead undergone a slightly deeper restyling with the addition of some functions that make it even more similar to its mobile counterparts. With a more intuitive interface we can now group photos from our library into albums and collectionsbut also modify them in the same way as used on mobile devicescopy the changes and go and paste them to an entire set of images.

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By switching to Spotlight, however, the way in which items are searched within the system has been changed. Searches are now carried out on the web, but also between apps, and more generally in the system’s memory. Searching for the word “dog” for example, the results concern web pages that talk about dogs, online images, e-mails related to online orders that contain products for dogs and in addition to this, the photos contained in our gallery are also shown at the inside of which are depicted dogs. In short, a more complete and detailed research and certainly useful in some situations.

But it does not end here, because in addition to this, again through Spotlight, we can now give the system some written commands. As in a sort of assistant we can, for example, set a timer or enter an appointment in the calendar. At the moment this type of interaction is still quite limited, especially in Italian, but I trust that with the passage of time the possibilities will be increased.

MESSAGES, MAILS AND SAFARI

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And I close with another set of applications that has received a renewal, but above all has introduced some new functions. Starting with messaging apps like Messages and Mail which must certainly be mentioned for a new common functionality, that is the one that will allow us to collect an email or a message after it has been sent. Obviously all this under a couple of conditions: the first is that on the other side the message has not yet been read, the second, however, is that less than 15 seconds have passed since sending. Within this time, you can press the Cancel Enter key that appears at the bottom of the Mail app interface. In addition to this, but it seems quite obvious, for messages we are talking about an exclusive function of iMessage, which will not work with SMS instead. And again as far as the Mail app is concerned, it was introduced the possibility to schedule the posthumous sending of an email.

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There is also an interesting novelty also for what concerns the Apple browser or Safari. With Monterey the possibility of create groups of cards that you can now share with MacOS Ventura. In this way you can collaborate with colleagues to have an eye on the same web pages during a brainstorming or share itineraries, flights and car rentals for your holidays together with friends, all with a click.

CONSIDERATIONS

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As I have repeatedly said above, with the release of MacOS Ventura, Apple’s intent seems to be to make your desktop operating system more and more familiar and simple to interpret; also and above all by those who have never had to deal with a Mac and would like to buy one for the first time. If iPhone and iPad are in fact now widely cleared devices, so it is not yet for Apple PCs, in any of their formats. With the MacBook Air M1 and Pro M1, now often available for less than 1000 euros, in fact, too the price obstacle is no longer so insurmountable, and users are often held back by “having to learn to use” a different operating system.

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The goal is therefore to make everything as familiar as possible, without however distorting the productivity qualities of the various solutions. MacOs Ventura is an important step forward in this sense and after trying it for a few weeks I can say that, as far as I’m concerned, the road is the right one. Some of the new features are really interesting, others will need a few more hours of use to be assimilated, but everything points in a clear direction, and that’s what counts.

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