Best MacOS Monterey Features: AirPlay on Mac, FaceTime with Anyone, Group Safari Tabs, and more

MacOS Monterey beta is packed with new features, including the ability to FaceTime with those for Android and Windows devices.

CNET / Dan Ackerman

Apple’s latest Mac operating system, MacOS Monterey, is packed with new features that streamline the way your Mac works and lets you work seamlessly across all your Apple devices. You can download MacOS Monterey now to test some of its best features (like use FaceTime on Android and grouping tabs in Safari), as long as your Mac is compatible.

Some users reported that the update crashed their devices, but Apple has since released a patch that should fix the issue, which it said was related to T2 security chips. Whether you’ve already upgraded or are still delaying the update, here are some of the best new features in macOS and how to use them.

Read more: IOS 15 hidden features on iPhone

FaceTime with Friends on Android and Windows Devices


Join a FaceTime call whether you’re on an Apple, Android, or Windows device with MacOS Monterey.

Sarah Tew / CNET

What it is: MacOS Monterey breaks Apple’s barrier to FaceTime calls, allowing you to share a link to join a FaceTime call from your Apple device with your friends and family using Android and Windows devices. They can join the FaceTime call right from their web browser, no app or Apple device needed. The feature will also be available on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.

How you will use it: You can create a shareable FaceTime link from your Mac in Monterey. To do this, open the FaceTime app (it should be in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen, or you can search for it in the Finder). Sign in with your Apple ID if you haven’t already. In the upper left corner, click Create Link. From the drop-down menu, you can copy and paste the link, or send it via email, text, notes, or other apps.

When you are ready to join the call, click the link you just created in the app and click To rejoin. When others try to join, you can approve them before they enter the call.

We also have FaceTime Instructions on how to start FaceTime call from iPhone with iOS 15 and how to join a call from an Android or Windows device.

Group all your open tabs in Safari


Save groups of open tabs together for easier access later in the updated version of Safari found in MacOS Monterey.

Screenshot / Apple

What it is: Open tabs in the Safari browser refresh yourself in MacOS Monterey, with a more compact and modern appearance that lets you see more of the page you’re browsing. A new tab group feature lets you easily save a group of tabs so you can open and close them at the same time for easy access.

How you will use it: To configure a tab group, open the tabs you want to save. Click the square icon in the upper left corner to display the sidebar. In the sidebar, tap the button in the top right corner that looks like a square with a plus sign. Click on New group of empty tabs and enter a name for the tab set. Hit enter.

To open a group of tabs when you open Safari, click the sidebar icon in the upper left corner and select the desired group from your list. To switch between tab groups, click the sidebar icon to hide it, then click the tab with the name of the active group. From the drop-down menu, choose from the other tab groups you want to open.

These tab groups will sync across all of your Apple devices. You can also click and drag a group of tabs in an email or message and send it to others.

AirPlay on your Mac from other Apple devices


You can now use AirPlay to cast your iPhone or iPad screen to your Mac.

Screenshot / Apple

What it is: The popular Apple AirPlay functionality lets you stream music, videos and presentations from one Apple device to another or to a TV or speaker on the same Wi-Fi network. Now you can also choose to stream directly to your Mac .

How you will use it: AirPlay works the same on Mac as it does on other devices: make sure both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network and open the file you want to share on your iPhone or iPad. Tap the AirPlay icon (it looks like a square with a triangle at the bottom) and select your Mac from the list of options that appear. Your Mac can also serve as an AirPlay speaker for music.

You can also mirror your posting as another way to share. Again, make sure both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network. On your iPhone, swipe down from the top of the screen, and tap Screen mirror. Select your Mac from the list of available devices.

Live Text can read your photos


MacOS Monterey’s Live Text feature lets you copy and paste text from a photo or handwritten note.

Dan Ackerman / CNET

What it is: Apple’s new Live Text functionality found in iOS 15 is also in MacOS Monterey. Similar to Google Goal, Live Text uses computer vision to “read” the text seen in photos.

How you will use it: To try it out, open an image in Preview, Photos, or Safari. You can highlight and copy the text in the image, then cut and paste it elsewhere. You can also highlight addresses and phone numbers on websites and use them to place a call, find directions, or open a URL.

Coming soon: use SharePlay to watch movies with friends on FaceTime


The new FaceTime feature lets you enjoy streaming TV, movies and music in a video chat (this also works on your Mac).

Screenshot / Apple

What it is: The new FaceTime feature SharePlay allows you to host virtual surveillance parties and share your screen during a FaceTime video call – similar to apps like Teleparty, formerly known as Netflix party, which gained popularity during the pandemic. But unlike other apps, SharePlay also gives you picture-in-picture video chat with FaceTime, not just messaging along with the stream.

How you will use it: To use SharePlay both parties must have FaceTime on an Apple device that supports MacOS Monterey, iOS 15 Where iPadOS 15. So far, you can use it to watch content on Apple TV Plus, Hulu, HBO Max, TIC Tac, Twitch, and ESPN Plus, among others.

Note that SharePlay is available on devices running iOS 15, but it’s still in beta on MacOS Monterey. It should be available in the Monterey 12.1 update. Here’s how it works in the beta: To start using SharePlay in MacOS Monterey, initiate a FaceTime call from your Mac, open a compatible streaming app, and choose a show or movie. Press play and both parties can watch the stream at the same time.

Coming soon: Universal control to switch between your iMac, MacBook and iPad


With Universal Control, you will be able to control multiple Apple devices from the same keyboard and mouse, just by placing them next to each other.

Screenshot / Apple

What it is: At WWDC, Apple executives showcased a new feature called universal control, which allows you to place multiple Apple devices next to each other (for example, an iMac, MacBook, or iPad) and move seamlessly between them using the same mouse and keyboard, without any additional configuration. For example, you can drag and drop files between different devices and use your MacBook’s trackpad to control your iMac and iPad at the same time.

How you will use it: As of this writing, Apple has stated that a universal control will be available for testing “later this fall.” We’ll update this story once we can try it out for ourselves.

For more information, see how to tell if your computer is compatible with Monterey, how to FaceTime with Android users in iOS 15 and our favorite features of WatchOS 8.

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Margie D. Carlisle