macOS 12.1 Monterey moves closer with SharePlay and (maybe) Universal Control

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SharePlay for Mac iPad and iPhone
A highlight of macOS 12.1 Monterey will be SharePlay.
Photo: Apple

Apple seeded macOS 12.1 beta 4 to developers on Wednesday. It has a build number that ends in “a,” which suggests the public release is only a week or two away. This version of Monterey will bring SharePlay to the Mac. It might also be the debut of the much anticipated Universal Control.

It is not accompanied by fresh betas of iOS 15.2, iPadOS 15.2 or watchOS 8.3.

What to expect in macOS 12.1 Monterey

Apple began beta testing macOS 12.1 in October, and is scheduled to release it in the next several weeks. That’s because Cupertino promised that two of its signature features will debut “later this fall” and that’s a deadline running out quickly. Plus, as noted, the latest beta ends in “a” after counting down from “h.”

One of the highlights of macOS 12.1 is SharePlay, which allows users to enjoy music, movies, TV shows, etc. together during a FaceTime call. The feature launched for iPhone and iPad weeks ago.

Universal Control is a separate question. It’s the other feature Apple promises is coming “later this fall” but it hasn’t been part of any previous beta. At this point, it’s not clear when it’ll be available. When it launches, Universal Control will enable a single keyboard to control both a Mac and an iPad, allowing users to easily jump between them.

Still just for devs

As of Wednesday, macOS 12.1 beta 4 is available only for devs who pay to be in Apple’s developer program. That said, those in Apple’s free public beta program should get access soon.