Posts tagged with "macOS Sonoma"

The Continuity Camera and ‘Unlock With Apple Watch’ Conspiracy

Continuity Camera is amazing. Since it was introduced in macOS Ventura, I’ve been using the feature almost daily. Continuity Camera is a native feature on macOS that lets you use an iPhone as your webcam. For it to work, you can either connect the iPhone to your Mac using a cable, or use it wirelessly if both devices are signed in with the same Apple ID. It’s quite impressive that, despite having to rely so often on video calls for work, I still don’t own a webcam today. Instead, the camera I use at my desk is an old iPhone SE (2nd generation), which was my partner’s main iPhone until they upgraded last year.

Over the past few months, however, the number of video calls I have needed to take on a daily basis has become critical. As an activist, part of my work now also involves conducting online training sessions with sometimes up to a hundred participants at a time. I just couldn’t afford to join one of those sessions and not have my camera working. Continuity Camera became a feature that I need to work reliably. Sadly, it doesn’t. Half of the time, apps like Zoom and Discord on macOS could not see the iPhone SE in the list of available cameras. This meant I had to fetch a Lightning cable to manually connect the iPhone. If I was unlucky that day, and that didn’t work, I would have to completely reboot the Mac. If I was really unlucky that day, and even that didn’t work, I would end up joining the call without a camera. Despite meeting all the requirements listed by Apple Support, this problem just kept happening on random occasions.

I had to find a fix for this bug, or at least a way to work around it.

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Macintosh Desktop Experience: No Mac Is an Island

One of the perks of a Club MacStories+ and Club Premier membership are special columns published periodically by me and John. In this week’s Macintosh Desktop Experience column, John explained how widgets in macOS Sonoma are the glue between apps and services that make the Mac feel even more like part of an integrated ecosystem of platforms and devices:

The Mac’s place in users’ computing lives has changed a lot since Steve Jobs returned to Apple and reimagined the Mac as a digital hub. Those days were marked by comparatively weak mobile phones, MP3 players, camcorders, and pocket digital cameras that benefitted from being paired with the Mac and Apple’s iLife suite.

The computing landscape is markedly different now. The constellation of gadgets surrounding the Mac in Jobs’ digital hub have all been replaced by the iPhone and iPad – powerful, portable computers in their own right. That’s been a seismic shift for the Mac. Today, the Mac is in a better place than it’s been in many years thanks to Apple silicon, but it’s no longer the center of attention. Instead, it sits alongside the iPhone and iPad as capable computing peers.

What hasn’t changed from the digital hub days is the critical role played by software. In 2001, iLife’s apps enabled the digital hub, but in 2023, the story is about widgets.

Stay until the end of the story and don’t miss the photo of John’s desk setup, which looks wild at first, but actually makes a lot of sense in the context of widgets.

Macintosh Desktop Experience is one of the many perks of a Club MacStories+ and Club Premier membership and a fantastic way to recognize the modern reality of macOS as well as get the most of your Mac thanks to John’s app recommendations, workflows, and more.

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macOS Sonoma: The MacStories Review

In one sense, the story of this year’s macOS update is that there is no story, but that’s not exactly right. Instead, it’s a bunch of stories. It’s the tail end of the realignment of macOS with Apple’s other OSes that began with macOS Catalina in 2019. However, Sonoma is also part of a work-at-home story accelerated by COVID-19. The OS is also linked to the story of visionOS, only part of which has been revealed. Sonoma is a bundle of narrative threads built on the foundation of past releases, adding up to a collection of updates that will be less disruptive for most Mac users than recent macOS updates. Instead, Sonoma is packed with a variety of useful new features that help draw it closer to iPadOS and iOS than ever before, design enhancements, and a few disappointing omissions.

The timing for a more modest macOS update is right. In recent years, Mac users have had to adjust to substantial redesigns of everything from their favorite system apps to the Finder’s windows and toolbars. The changes were inescapable and necessary to harmonize the Mac with Apple’s other products, but also disruptive for some long-time users.

Sonoma adds a vast collection of new wallpaper and screensaver options.

Sonoma adds a vast collection of new wallpaper and screensaver options.

With macOS Sonoma, the biggest design shifts seem to be behind us – at least for the time being. Interactive widgets on the desktop are a big change this year, but it’s not like macOS dumps a bunch of them on your desktop by default. If you never want to see a widget anywhere near your desktop, you don’t have to. Other than the subtle way the login screen has changed and the new screensavers and wallpapers that are available, the core macOS experience has barely changed.

Instead, this year’s update is primarily about refining and building upon the foundation of the past few years, coupled with a handful of more significant updates to system apps. So, while the marquee features and design changes may be less notable than in recent years, there is still a long list of new and refreshed items that touch nearly every aspect of the OS, so let’s dive in.

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Timery’s Updated Widgets Enable Starting and Stopping Timers, Pagination, and More

It’s interesting to compare Timery 1.6, Joe Hribar’s time tracking app for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch, with Widgetsmith. David Smith’s app uses interactivity across a wide range of different types of widgets, allowing for a highly personalized approach to your Home Screen. Timery is a little different. It’s just as customizable, if not more so, but in a deep, focused way that makes it hands-down the most customizable and useful way to track time from a widget.

If you had asked me how I used Timery in the spring, I would have said I primarily use the Mac app. That’s changed drastically over the summer. My answer now is that I’m primarily a Timery widget user.

What I love about the app’s widgets is that they allow you to create a set of widgets that work how you use the app and nothing more. One of Timery’s strengths has always been its rich set of features that make it valuable to a broad cross-section of users. However, that means there is more to Timery than most people need. But with the app’s widgets, it’s possible to pare the app down to just the components that are essential to you, which is the ultimate in customization.

That doesn’t mean you won’t use the main app ever again. Some people may, but I certainly haven’t. Instead, it’s been more of a focus shift that allows me to continue whatever I’m working on, switching timers as needed on the fly from whichever device I have handy at the moment without opening the app most of the time. Timery’s update is a stellar release, which also comes with a new watchOS app that fans of the app are going to love.

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The Weather App Adds More Detailed Data in iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma

Apple’s Weather app is packing more data than ever before on iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma. The thing about weather is that beyond the basics, everyone cares about different things, and some people care about it all. With Apple’s latest version of Weather, there’s more weather to nerd out on than ever before.

Hourly precipitation predictions for a full 10 days.

Hourly precipitation predictions for a full 10 days.

The Weather app includes hourly precipitation predictions in its 10-day forecast detail view. Is there really a 45% chance of rain in Nashville a week from Monday? Probably not, but if that sort of precision is what you’re looking for in a weather app, Weather has it.

The wind animates on the new radar map overlay.

The wind animates on the new radar map overlay.

Wind map overlays have been added to Weather, too. The overlay looks excellent and animates to show you which way the wind will blow over the next 24 hours. It’s a great addition if you’re going out to fly a kite or a drone, sail a boat, and more.

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iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma Expand Password Management and Access System-Wide

Passwords permeate our lives. With an ever-growing number of sites, services, and apps to log into, people need help generating, managing, and accessing them. There are excellent third-party apps that can help, but the reality is that most people aren’t going to download a third-party app, and even fewer are likely to pay for one. That’s why Apple’s work with passwords is so important.

However, what makes that work impressive is the lengths to which the company has gone to make good password practices easy for users. The password updates to iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma are fantastic examples, making it easier than ever to share passwords and for users to begin adopting passkeys, a superior method of authentication compared to traditional passwords.

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These Are the iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma Features Coming Later This Year

Next week, Apple will begin releasing its new OSes, which are packed with a lot of new features. However, those updates won’t include everything you may have heard about over the summer. For the past few years, OS features that are announced at WWDC have been increasingly released after the fall release of major OS revisions. Sometimes, those later releases are signaled at WWDC, but often they’re not, so we’ve compiled a list of features that won’t be available in Apple’s fall OS updates but have been promised to come in a later release. Unless otherwise indicated, the following features will be coming later to iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma:

  • One of the tentpole features of Messages this year is the ability to create stickers using every OSes’ ability to lift subjects from a photo. The option to share stickers from Messages’ ‘Plus’ menu is already in this fall’s updates, but later, you’ll also be able to send stickers using the Tapback menu, too.
  • Messages will also sync settings, like text message forwarding, SMS filters, and send and receive accounts, via iCloud in a later release.
  • The ‘catch up’ arrow button found now on iOS 17 that takes users to the top of new messages in a busy thread will come to iPadOS 17.
  • The News widget will add playback controls for Apple News podcasts and News+ audio stories on iOS and iPadOS 17.
  • AirDrop will add the ability to finish a file transfer using the Internet if a local peer-to-peer connection drops.
  • A lot of Music’s promised updates are coming later, including:
    • Collaborative playlists that will allow a group to add, rearrange, and remove songs.
    • Emoji reactions to song collaborative playlist song choices in the Now Playing view.
    • A new Favorite Songs playlist, something which I’ve maintained as a smart playlist forever, will be available automatically in your Library and via Siri.
    • Marking items as favorites is expanding to include songs, albums, playlists, and artists. Favorites will automatically be added to your Library, eliminating what is now a two-step process, and will be used to improve your recommendations.
    • Also, Music will add a macOS Sonoma widget to allow users to play or pause a song or album or see a list of top charts and, for Apple Music subscribers, recommendations.
  • Intelligent PDF form detection with enhanced AutoFill will be available systemwide in apps like Files and Mail, as well as for scanned documents.
  • The Fitness app will allow you to prioritize the volume of trainers’ voices or the training session’s music on iOS and iPadOS 17.
  • Proximity sign-in using the particle cloud used by devices like the HomePod and Apple Watch will be expanded to make it easier to use a signed-in, trusted iPhone or iPad to sign in to other devices.
  • Your iPhone will add the ability to tap to unlock Matter-enabled smart locks with a home key or set up a PIN code in the Home app on iOS 17.
  • Finally, there’s no word yet on when Journal, Apple’s journaling app, will make its debut.

Of these features, I’m especially looking forward to the updates to Music, checking what Journal is capable of, and sending stickers using Tapback, which I expect will increase my use of them a lot. There’s no word yet when these features debut, but I expect we’ll see them trickle out starting later this year.

macOS Sonoma: The MacStories Preview

Never before have the iPhone, iPad, and Mac been as interconnected as they are today. It wasn’t that long ago that the iPhone was, well, the iPhone, the iPad was essentially a big iPhone, and the Mac was off doing its own thing. Now, the iPad has its own OS, the Mac is running on a whole new chip architecture, and the design and functionality of virtually every bit of UI and system app of every device have been realigned along a more rational continuum, making it easier than ever to move among them.

A big part of reshaping macOS involved updating system apps to match the functionality available on Apple’s other OSes. That work is largely finished, which leaves us entering a new phase of macOS’s evolution. Instead of playing catch-up to iOS and iPadOS, macOS is moving along the same path, with a collection of genuinely useful new features coming this fall that I’ve been testing as part of Apple’s developer beta program. Now, you too can join in the testing if you’d like because today, Apple released its first public beta of macOS Sonoma as part of the Apple Beta Software Program.

We’ll have full reviews on MacStories of each OS when the final versions are released this fall. However, after about a month of using Sonoma daily, I wanted to hit the highlights of what’s in store this fall for any readers who might be thinking of joining the public beta.

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