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11 Features to Look Forward to in Apple’s 2022 Operating Systems

It’s that time of year again. Apple CEO Tim Cook and numerous Apple employees took the virtual stage again at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote on June 6th to share what we can expect to see later this year in macOS 13 Ventura, iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and watchOS 9. (Almost no mention was made of tvOS or the HomePod, but Apple will undoubtedly move them forward in small ways as well.)

The announcements came thick and fast, and like last year, many of the technologies cut across several of Apple’s operating systems. Before we dive in, however, remember that some older devices won’t be able to upgrade. Here are the basic system requirements, though certain features won’t be available on all devices:

  • macOS 13 Ventura: iMac, iMac Pro, MacBook, and MacBook Pro from 2017 and later. MacBook Air and Mac mini from 2018 and later. Mac Pro from 2019 and later. Mac Studio from 2022.
  • iOS 16: Second-generation iPhone SE, iPhone 8, and later
  • iPadOS 16: Fifth-generation iPad and later, fifth-generation iPad mini and later, third-generation iPad Air and later, and all iPad Pro models
  • watchOS 9: Apple Watch Series 4 and newer, including the Apple Watch SE

Here are the promised new features we think will have the most impact on your Apple experience. Assume that these features are available on the Mac, iPhone, and iPad unless otherwise specified.

Customizable iPhone Lock Screen

We’ve been able to put a photo on the iPhone’s Lock screen for years, but that’s it. With iOS 16, Apple is opening up lots of customization options along the lines of what you can do to Apple Watch faces. To start, you can customize the font, color, and placement of various options, just like a watch face. Photos dynamically display in front of the time, and you can have a set of photos shuffle throughout the day. Widgets from Apple and third-party developers provide at-a-glance information so you can check the weather, say, without even unlocking your iPhone. Notifications now scroll up from the bottom, and Live Activities help you stay up on the music that’s currently playing or the latest score in the big game.

Messages Gains Editing, Undo Send, and Mark as Unread

At long last, Messages will let us edit messages after sending, undo sending to call a message back, and mark messages as unread. The first two features are essential for clear communication, especially when you’re fixing auto-correct failures, and being able to mark messages as unread ensures that you won’t forget to respond to something that you read when you’re not in a position to reply.

Mail Adds Undo Send, Scheduled Send, Follow-up, and Remind Me

It’s surprising that Apple hasn’t spent more time on Mail in recent years, but that’s changing in 2022, when it will gain some welcome features that are commonplace in other email apps. You’ll be able to undo sending, which is helpful when you remember something to add to a message within 10 seconds after clicking the Send button. For more specific timing, scheduled send lets you specify when a message should go out. This is helpful when you are working on the weekend or late at night but don’t want your co-workers to feel that they need to reply right away.  Mail will also move sent messages that haven’t received replies to the top of your inbox so you can follow up, and you can set a reminder to come back to messages that you’ve opened but not dealt with (many of us just mark those as unread).

Multi-Stop Routing in Maps

No longer are you limited to a single destination when creating a route in Maps. You’ll be able to specify up to 15 stops on a route, making it easy to build a trip that includes a swing by your favorite diner, a quick visit with an old friend, and a pilgrimage to the World’s Largest Bull in Iowa.

iCloud Shared Photo Library Improves Family Photo Sharing

Apple’s latest attempt to help families share photos looks like the best yet—certainly better than the shared Family album that’s created for Family Sharing groups now. It will be a completely separate iCloud photo library shared with up to five other people. You’ll be able to populate it with all your existing photos or a subset based on start date or who’s in them. Everyone will have equal permission to add, edit, favorite, caption, and delete photos, so maintaining and improving it becomes a group activity. Sharing new photos will be easy with a switch in the Camera app, automatic sharing based on proximity to family members, and sharing suggestions in Photos.

Passkeys Aims to Replace Passwords… Eventually

Apple’s new Passkeys technology, which is associated with the work of an industry consortium called the FIDO Alliance to ensure cross-platform support, aims to replace passwords for websites and apps with private passkeys that are stored only on your device and accessed by Touch ID or Face ID. Passkeys are easier to use than passwords and significantly safer because they can’t be stolen from websites and each one is specific to the site for which you create it. They’ll be available on all your Apple devices, syncing end-to-end encrypted through iCloud Keychain.

Use Your iPhone as a Webcam for Your Mac

Mac webcams are nowhere near as good as the rear-facing cameras in your iPhone, so Apple is helping us improve our videoconferencing by using an iPhone as a webcam and microphone. The feature, called Continuity Camera, works wired or wirelessly and can automatically switch to using your iPhone as a webcam when you bring it close to your Mac. It provides Portrait mode to blur the background, Center Stage so you can move around, Studio Light to dim the background and illuminate your face, and even Desk View to show what’s on your desk in front of your Mac. Apple says Belkin will be making clips to attach your iPhone to your Mac.

Stage Manager Offers New Window Management Approach

We’re not yet sure what to make of Stage Manager, which is Apple’s new approach to window management on the iPad and Mac. It puts one app in the center of the screen while keeping other apps off to the side, making it easy to flip between apps or show multiple apps at once. It doesn’t replace traditional window management—you have to turn it on in Control Center—so you won’t be forced to change, but it might be welcome, especially on the iPad, where it also enables the use of an external display.

Simultaneous Dictation, Touch Selection, and Keyboard Editing

On the iPhone and iPad, you’ve been able to tap a microphone button to invoke Dictation, a huge boon when you want to send a message without typing. In iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, Apple has radically improved Dictation, so you can now simultaneously talk, type, edit on the keyboard, select text via touch, and use the Apple Pencil (on an iPad). Dictation will also automatically add commas, periods, and question marks as you dictate, and you can insert emojis with voice commands. Sadly, it seems that the Mac gets only the punctuation and emoji capabilities.

Medications App on the Apple Watch

Many of us have to take medications, vitamins, and supplements regularly. To help us better manage our health, Apple is adding the Medications app to watchOS 9. You’ll be able to enter your meds in the Health app on the iPhone, be alerted to any critical interactions between drugs, and have your Apple Watch notify you to take the right pills at the right times.

Weather App Appears on the iPad and Mac

Finally, because our list goes to 11, Apple says it’s bringing the Weather app to the iPad and the Mac. Since Weather has been on the iPhone since the beginning, it’s hard to fathom what took Apple so long. If you haven’t already jumped ship for one of the 17,000 other weather apps out there, you’ll be able to enjoy using Apple’s built-in app in iPadOS 16 and macOS 13 Ventura.

Apple’s upcoming operating system releases boast many other new features, and we plan to explore more of them once everything ships in a few months. We’ll let you know when it’s time to update!

(Featured image by Apple)


Social Media: At its Worldwide Developer Conference keynote, Apple announced oodles of new features that we’ll see in macOS 13 Ventura, iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and watchOS 9 later this year. Here are the ten—no, eleven!—features we think you’ll most like:

Use Messages to Share Your Current Location Quickly

We’ve all gotten that panicked “Where are you?!?” text message at some point. Sometimes it’s an easy question to answer, but at other times, the answer is “Well, right here, wherever that is.” That’s unsatisfying, of course, but using Messages on your iPhone, you can do better. Tap the person’s name at the top of the conversation, tap the Info button, and in the screen that appears, tap Send My Current Location. Messages immediately sends a little thumbnail map showing where you are, and if the recipient taps it, they can see a larger map, get directions, or open it in Maps. It’s a brilliant little feature!

(Featured image by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels)

Use the Driving ETA Feature in iOS 13’s Maps App to Share Your Arrival Time

A small but welcome new feature of iOS 13 is Driving ETA, which helps you share your estimated time of arrival with a contact whenever you’re navigating with the Maps app. To use Driving ETA, start navigating to a destination in Maps, tap Share ETA at the bottom of the screen, and pick the person with whom you want to share your location and arrival time. (You’ll share in Maps with iOS 13 users and via Messages with everyone else.) The other person will receive a notification of your ETA and if you’re delayed, updated times. You do have to start navigation in Maps to use Driving ETA, so it’s a little inconvenient when you already know the route, but it’s a brilliant feature for long-distance trips.

(Featured image by Dan Gold on Unsplash)

Understanding Dark Mode in macOS 10.14 Mojave

The feature Apple is promoting most heavily with macOS 10.14 Mojave is Dark mode, which the company advertises as “a dramatic new look that helps you focus on your work… as toolbars and menus recede into the background.” Let’s look at what Apple has done with Dark mode, after which you’ll have a better idea of what to think about while trying it.

Enable Dark Mode

First, to turn Dark mode on, go to System Preferences > General and click the Dark thumbnail to the right of Appearance. Mojave immediately switches to Dark mode, turning light backgrounds dark and swapping the text color from dark to light.

While you’re in System Preferences, click over to the Desktop & Screen Saver preference pane. If you scroll down in the Desktop Pictures list, you’ll discover a bunch of new wallpapers that blend well with Dark mode.

Dark Mode Support and Controls

You’ll notice that the color change takes place instantly not just in the Finder, but also in any apps that support Dark mode. Most of Apple’s apps support Dark mode and third-party developers are rapidly adding support to their apps as well. However, Dark mode requires explicit support from apps, so older apps that aren’t being updated will maintain their standard dark-on-light color schemes.

Some apps, such as Maps and Mail, give you additional options that change just how dark they get. In Maps, choose View > Use Dark Map to toggle between a dark map style and the familiar map style that mimics a paper map. Similarly, in Mail, go to Mail > Preferences > Viewing and deselect “Use dark backgrounds for messages” to return to a white background.

If you generally like Dark mode but have trouble reading light text on a dark background due to the reduced contrast, you may be able to choose a different font or style in the app’s preferences that makes the text more readable. Apps like Mail give you a fair amount of that sort of control.

For even more control over contrast, open System Preferences > Accessibility > Display. There you’ll find a Display Contrast slider that lets you make text lighter and backgrounds darker. You can also select Reduce Transparency to make it so items like the Dock and menu bar are solid colors, rather than allowing the background to bleed through. To separate dark and light further, select Increase Contrast, which increases the brightness of divider lines as well.

The Dark Side of Dark Mode

Contrast is necessary for pulling out fine details, but too much contrast can be uncomfortable or even painful—think about how you feel when someone turns on a bright light in a previously dark room. For visual comfort, it’s usually best to match your screen with the lighting of your surroundings. That’s why people who often work at night or with the window blinds down like dark modes—a bright screen seems brighter in a dimly lit room. That’s the theory behind the traditional dark text on a light background too, since the room will be quite light during the day.

So Dark mode can run into two problems. First is that using it during the day or in a brightly lit room may create an uncomfortable contrast between the screen and its surroundings. Controlling your room lighting can eliminate this as an issue. Second and more troubling, even apps that support Dark mode may have large content areas that are bright white, creating a strong contrast between the content area and the rest of the app. Many Web sites in Safari have this effect, as do documents in apps like Pages and Numbers. There’s no way around this scenario.

Even if Dark mode isn’t perfect, it’s worth a try if you have trouble looking at bright screens. Regardless, if it goes too far for you, one of the new dark wallpapers may be easier on your eyes. While most people aren’t overly light sensitive, a non-trivial percentage of the population is, particularly those who suffer from migraines or who have endured concussions, and those with a variety of ocular conditions. And if you’re on the other end of the spectrum—if Dark mode looks dirty and is hard to read—just stick with the traditional Light mode.


Social Media: Apple is promoting macOS 10.14 Mojave’s new Dark mode heavily. Read on to learn if it might be for you, how you can tweak its contrast settings, and what problems you might encounter.