If you own a Mac with an M1 chip inside, then the MacOS Monterey update might have just added value to your machine with some unique features that you won’t be able to find on Intel-based Macs. That is according to Apple’s website, which has some bullet points noting the M1 exclusivity of some new goodies of the operating system.
There are a couple of these features you’ll need to know about, many of which were actually detailed during Apple’s WWDC keynote — without the important note of not being available on Intel-based Macs. The first relates to FaceTime, which got a number of new features in Monterey. Portrait mode will blur the background behind you and won’t be available on Intel-based Macs. Portrait Mode is also a new API that will allow other applications such as Zoom or Teams to implement the same effect. Regardless of the application, Intel-based Macs won’t support the feature.
Another big feature from Monterey is Live Text. This feature lets you pull text and phone numbers from photos, but it only will work on M1 Macs.
Elsewhere, there are two more features in Apple Maps that are exclusive to M1 Macs. You won’t be able to use the new globe view option or see the expanded details in cities like New York or Los Angeles. Offline, on-device dictation, on-device dictation without a time limit, and neural text-to-speech voices in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and Finnish also cap out the list of M1-exclusive features.
These specialized features won’t work on Intel Macs for a very specific reason. It is because all need to depend on the neural engine of the M1 chip. The processing behind the feature happens on device, too, according to Apple. This is not something that is possible with the chipsets in Intel-based Macs.
But don’t be too worried. The biggest of the MacOS Monterey features still work on Intel-based Macs. SharePlay, which lets you listen to music together with friends and family in FaceTime, still works. AirPlay to Mac still works, too, allowing you to stream what is on your iPhone to any compatible Mac on Apple’s list.
Select Intel-based Macs even support Universal Control, allowing you to control your iPad or other Mac devices with a single keyboard and mouse. Finally, all Macs that get Monterey will see the updated Safari web browser, updates to the Notes experience (and QuickNote), new iMessage features, and more.
Apple had promised that it would continue to release MacOS updates for Intel-based Macs. However, the M1-exclusivity of some of these MacOS Monterey features hints that there could be a similar set of elements in future releases that won’t be coming to Intel-based Macs in the future.
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