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You don’t have to wait until fall to try the next version of macOS

Major operating system updates from Apple or Microsoft always come with much fanfare. Big Tech loves to show off what it learned since the last update, and while the results will always get mixed reactions from users, it’s interesting to see what new features come out.

Microsoft recently announced that its upcoming OS would be called Windows 11. It will be available as a free upgrade for many users under certain conditions. Microsoft also released details about system requirements. Tap or click here to find out if your PC can handle the new Windows.

Apple’s upcoming macOS, Monterey, was announced at this year’s World Wide Developer Conference in June. Now it’s been released in public Beta form, and you can give it a test drive. Read on for details and instructions.

What’s new

As expected, the next macOS brings new features while updating what’s already available. Here are some upcoming changes:

  • FaceTime gets an upgrade – You’ll be able to FaceTime while watching TV shows and movies on your Apple computer or laptop. You can even binge watch your favorite shows with friends and family via SharePlay. FaceTime also gets spatial audio, portrait mode, grid view and more.
  • Sharing content made ease – The Shared with You section on your device shows links, images, videos and other content you’ve received in your Messages app. When you open Photos, Safari, Apple News, Apple Podcasts and the Apple TV, you’ll see shared content.
  • Better browsing experience – Safari has been streamlined to give you easier access to what you’re browsing. Tab groups let you organize and share multiple tabs in one place. Tap or click here to see how Safari fares when it comes to privacy.
  • You now control notifications – Focus lets you choose which notifications you get for a set amount of time or indefinitely.
  • Bring your photos to life – Live Text lets you interact with text found in photos.
  • Get better organized – Shortcuts let you organize your apps and services for quick access. You can also share your shortcuts.
  • Increased privacy – Mail Privacy Protection hides your IP address and Control Center shows you which apps have access to your microphone.
  • Stay private – iCloud Private Relay hides your IP address, location and browsing activity. Hide my email generates random email addresses you can use to fill out forms.

RELATED: iOS 15 Beta: 4 things you’ll love and one you’ll hate

Public Beta

Apple’s Beta Software Program gives users access to pre-release versions of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS. You can provide feedback, helping to form the final product. This program is the only way to try out Monterey right now.

Apple advises you to use Time Machine to back up your device before installing Beta software. When it comes to your Mac, the company recommends installing the software on a secondary system/device or partition. If you have a backup Mac, even better.

RELATED: Think your Apple device is impervious to viruses and malware? Think again.

All you need to sign up for the Beta program is an Apple ID or iCloud account. Tap or click here to sign in or sign up. Following that, install the upgrade from the Apple menu by clicking About this Mac > Software Update.

Monterey is set for release this fall.

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