macOS Monterey release date is October 25 and it'll be free – but it's missing a key feature

Apple Unleashed
(Image credit: Apple)

After months of speculation and public beta releases, macOS 12 Monterey has a release date of October 25.

Apple announced it in a press release after the October 2021 Event concluded, which saw the company announce two new MacBooks as well: the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) and MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021).

As for macOS 12 Monterey, it’s a software update that focuses on productivity, privacy and connectivity, but with some features being delayed for a future release.

However with the new MacBooks sporting new M1 Max and M1 Pro chips, it's a more substantial update than you may think at first, but it's also missing a feature that many have been looking forward to since WWDC.

The good news is that as with previous macOS updates, macOS 12 Monterey will again be a free upgrade for any compatible Mac or MacBook. If you have an Apple computer from the last five years, you should be good to get the update.

WWDC 2021 screenshot

(Image credit: Apple)

Missing its most important update

While macOS 12 Monterey brings a bunch of new features, its most exciting one, Universal Control, won't launch with the operating system. Instead, it's scheduled for later this year.

Universal Control allows you to use an iPad as a second screen for your Mac, so you can drag and drop any files between devices seamlessly.

In a press release, Apple says that 'Coming later this Fall, Universal Control will make it easy for users to work effortlessly across their Mac and iPad.'

While it's a shame that the feature is still under development, anyone who's planning to buy one of the new MacBooks next week probably shouldn't be too disappointed, as these laptops look set to bring some great new features and performance upgrades.

Apple's Unleashed event explained how macOS 12 Monterey will be taking advantage of the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, showcasing how apps will be able to take advantage. Alongside this, there's also the new menu bar that's going to take advantage of the notch that's present in these new MacBooks.

Expect our review of macOS 12 Monterey and the new MacBooks soon, and with Universal Control and SharePlay still on the horizon, there's a lot to look forward to, even if their absence next week will disappoint many people.

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time, he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider'. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's usually found playing games old and new on his Steam Deck and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.