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1st Look at macOS Ventura

My first impressions of the operating system for Mac

macOS Ventura on M2 MacBook Air
image courtesy of author

Always odd

macOS Ventura is here.

I downloaded it last night. As ever, I always tread cautiously when I’m installing a new OS. I think it, generally, matters less these days, but old habits die hard. It all stems back to the old days of radio. Some of the software I used was slow in updating for macOS updates – broadcast software tends not to be either Mac friendly, or as cutting edge as you may imagine.

These days though, when my main, go-to apps are from Adobe, I should probably be less concerned. I think all the Adobe updates that came down last week, are all Ventura ready. But, even so, I decided to put macOS Ventura on my M2 MacBook Air first…you know…just in case.

Having had a bit of time this morning to play around with it, here are my very first impressions on macOS Ventura.

Clean

I love a new OS – it makes your Mac feel almost like new again. A breath of fresh air. And Ventura doesn’t disappoint on that score.

The new, dynamic wallpaper, is bold and fairly abstract. I’m guessing it may not be to every one’s taste, but I happen to like it. It fits in with my vibe. So far, it all feels snappy, and responsive enough.

A few things look different, the main one being System Preferences. Rather than the page-wide layout that we’ve become familiar with, now it resembles finder far closer. You are faced with a list on the left-hand side, rather than a panel full of icons. After you spend a short while with it, you get used to it, and it is possibly more functional. All the normal settings are there, but the pages for each function look a little different.

The ‘About’ menu is different too. Hitting the Apple icon now, will simply bring up a single panel which contains very basic information such as the serial number. To get more info, you click on the ‘more information’ button, which then launches a page in system preferences. It offers a better, clearer, and more concise way of looking at the details of your Mac.

And so to some of the functionality I have come across so far in Ventura, starting with a really cool one I found in Spotlight Search.

Text recognition & Spotlight

I stumbled across this one quite accidentally. I use Spotlight Search a lot. I find it a really convenient way to search for something on my Mac, and even use it as a basic calculator as well.

Last night, I found that it now searches your picture library too. I happened to type in three letters that were from a registration plate from a car I had years ago, and Spotlight, found a picture of it from 2008! Impressive – it’ll also search pictures based on descriptions such as cat, tree and so on.

So, Spotlight is now even more useful in Ventura.

Mail

The Mail app has had a few changes that I have come across so far.

The first being unsend. To use it, though, act quickly – I think you may only have about 10 seconds grace. After sending an email, if you look at the bottom of the left-hand sidebar, in blue text, you’ll now see the option to unsend an email. Once you click it, it pops back up as if you are still typing. Then you can alter or delete it as you wish.

Two other features that are new for Mail in Ventura, are schedule and remind. To schedule an email you are typing, you’ll find a drop-down arrow next to the standard send icon. There you’ll see four options – send now, tonight, tomorrow or later. I suppose, if you are sending an email to someone, say, in the US, and you wanted it to arrive at the start of their working day, it could prove handy.

The remind me option is there for mail that you have read in your inbox. Once read, if you want to act further on it, you can ask Mail to remind you in an hour, tonight, tomorrow or a time that you can specify.

Clocked!

Mac, with Ventura, now gets the clock app, just like you have on iPhone. It looks just the same, and offers you an alarm, world clocks, a stopwatch, and the timer as well. It seems ludicrously overdue, but, oddly, as if it’s been there forever.

Wanting to find the time of this week’s Grand Prix in Mexico City, now I can launch the clock app on my MacBook. I have actually pinned the app in my dock, as I can see that one being super useful.

Continuity Camera

I have only had the very briefest of plays with this, but so far, so good.

Any apps that use your camera, such as Zoom, FaceTime, or QuickTime, will now search out your iPhone as a camera. We all know that this one is a cunning work-around for the woeful webcams that Apple use – need I remind you about the one in Studio Display?

Well, with iPhones having such great cameras, even the selfie camera on my iPhone 14 is decent, you can ask the apps to use that camera instead of the built-in one. It looks like third-party webcam sellers are about to take a hit! As long as your iPhone and Mac are on the same network, signed in to the same account and have bluetooth on, you are ready to get going. I have not yet been able to check out the ‘top-down’ feature. I think, possibly, that is what you require the Belkin clamp for.

But for regular video calls, it is a great idea. The camera on the iPhone 14 is way better, than even the Logitech 4K webcam that I only recently bought. Again, I can see me using this feature too – for instance, when calling guests to record interviews for my Minus Sixteen podcast.

iMessage

Similar to the Mail app, you now have a couple of editing options within iMessage.

You can edit messages you have just sent. The recipient will notice that you have edited it, but at least you now have the option to correct details such as telephone numbers, names, or addresses. And, again, something that you’d have thought would have been in iMessage forever, is the option to mark as unread an open, read message. A neat way to remind you to reply later.

Passwords

Stay with me – I know passwords are pretty tedious, so I won’t dwell on them too long, but I have found two handy tweaks to passwords with Ventura.

Firstly, Wi-Fi passwords, or rather forgotten passwords, are easier to sort out now. Before, if you couldn’t recall or find a password, you’d have to launch Keychain or your password keeper. With Ventura, you can head over to system preferences, and then wi-fi. Then, simply by clicking on the three dots next to the network you are on, you’ll be able to copy the password to your clipboard to share, or paste it in to whatever device you wish. A way, way simpler solution.

Have you ever been using Safari to suggest a strong password for a new online account, and the password has been bumped out, as it used special characters, numerals, or was simply too long? With macOS Ventura, you can now edit those passwords to suit the requirements of that website.

Stage Manager

Now, straight off the bat, I am no authority on this one. Many have been using it for months now in beta, and are better qualified to give a full round-up on it, but it looks handy and neat.

Until now, to see what apps I have open, I have either used the three-finger gesture on the trackpad, or hit F3 to launch Mission Control. With Stage Manager in Ventura, though, they all sit neatly to the left-hand-side of the screen.

Bearing in mind, I am looking at this on my 13.6-inch MacBook Air, it actually sits well, and makes good use of the real-estate I have available. From the little use I have had of it, it makes sense. Time will tell, but for now, I don’t see where all the bad rap has come from. As you might know, I am not a big iPad user, so how it translates to iPadOS, I have no idea, but on the Mac…I like.

To initially open it, you’ll be heading up to control centre in the menu bar. But, moving forward, if you want quicker access to it, you can. Go to system preferences > control centre > stage manager > show in menu bar.

Universal Control

I love this feature, but, for a while, I couldn’t find it. It is there, though. Go to system preferences > displays > link. It’s the uppermost box. Select the Macs you want to link with from there, and also arrange the screens to your liking.

Wrapping up

My first few hours have been uneventful with macOS Ventura, which is probably a compliment.

There have been no traumas, and I have not found anything not working, aside from Audio Hijack. But even then, they had an update waiting.

I think, based on today’s findings, that I will most likely be updating my workhorse, the 16-inch M1 MacBook Pro, over the next couple of days. The new features I have come across so far, I like, and I can see being useful.

Have you downloaded, and installed it yet? What have your thoughts and findings been?

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Get in the vibe and listen along to today’s chosen soundtrack. I wrote this whilst listening to get in the vibe and listen along to today’s chosen soundtrack. I wrote this whilst listening tohttps://music.apple.com/gb/album/off-the-wall/186166282

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