macOS 12.1 release candidate brings SharePlay a big step closer to Mac

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

Developers got access to the macOS 12.1 release candidate on Tuesday. This means beta testing of the new Monterey version is almost over, and Mac users will soon be able to start playing with SharePlay. But there’s still no sign of the much anticipated Universal Control feature.

Apple also seeded release candidates for iOS 15.2, iPadOS 15.2 and watchOS 8.3 to developers.

What to expect in macOS 12.1 Monterey

Release candidates are what Apple used to call golden masters, and give beta testers an opportunity to test the final version of operating systems before they’re introduced to average users.

The macOS 12.1 RC will let Mac software developers test 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 and will finally be available for Mac, too.

But that might not be true for another much anticipated feature. Apple promised in October that Universal Control would be out “later this fall” but it hasn’t been part of macOS 12.1 beta testing. 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 only for devs

As of Tuesday, the macOS 12.1 Release Candidate 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.

The full release could come by mid-December, about a week after the RC. The same goes for iOS 15.2, iPadOS 15.2 and watchOS 8.3.