Apple has started rolling out macOS Monterey version 12.4, making this the fourth major update since the system’s launch in late 2021.
If you haven’t gotten the update yet or are curious about what’s in it, Apple posted the release notes on its support page (opens in new tab). You will now be able to limit the number of podcasts on your Mac and automatically delete old episodes; a change that has been seen elsewhere.
Apple’s Studio Display will get Firmware Update 15.5 which improves webcam quality. There are also a wide variety of security fixes and a few updates for developers. The macOS subreddit noticed another change that Apple didn’t mention in its notes: Universal Control coming out of beta.
Taking a close look at the Monterey update, it’s strange that Apple didn’t mention the Universal Control change in the official notes. For those unaware, Universal Control is a unique feature of Monterey that allows you to control multiple Macs and iPads with one keyboard and mouse. The feature has been in beta since the middle of March as Apple ironed out the bugs.
Next is the change to Studio Display, which is a 27-inch monitor that was released earlier this year and comes with a 12MP Ultra-Wide camera. People have criticized the camera for shooting terrible quality images. Update 15.5 addresses the complaints by improving the camera’s contrast, framing, and reducing image noise. However, this update is not part of the Monterey 12.4 update, so you’ll have to download it separately.
The Apple Podcasts change seems inconsequential at first, but it’s part of the company's renewed interest in podcasting. The iOS 15.5 and iPad 15.5 updates saw the exact same change in their release. And Apple is working on a new service that will help creators manage and publish their podcasts on third-party platforms.
Patching up security
The Developer changes (opens in new tab) have very little to do with consumers. The release notes include a fix to the incompatibility between Universal Control with macOS 12.3 and iOS 15.4. Apple also resolved an issue developers were having with StoreKit 2.
The more important change has to do with over 50 fixes to Monterey’s security settings (opens in new tab). All of them have to do with preventing bad actors from gaining access.
For example, the Contacts app on Monterey now has better checks so that plug-ins don’t gain access to user data. Safari Private Browsing also got improved protection against malicious websites tracking people.
While not as impactful as previous patches, 12.4 does appear to improve the overall quality of macOS life for users.