macOS 12 Monterey is the annual macOS update released by Apple in 2021. It is not a revolution compared to its predecessor ( macOS 11 Big Sur ) but it has several interesting innovations, including a completely revised Safari from the point of view of management panels, a more advanced “do not disturb” mode and many privacy functions related to iCloud.
If, however, you are here now and are reading this guide, it is very likely that you already know what we are talking about and need more practical information: specifically, I think you want to know how to update to macOS Monterey . Did I guess? Well then know that I will be happy to help you.
Below you can find everything you need to know about the macOS Monterey upgrade process: from the minimum requirements you need to meet to install the operating system to advice on how to best prepare your Mac for the upgrade. Finally, I will show you all the steps to take to update macOS without losing data and applications and the procedure to perform a clean installation of the new operating system. Happy reading and good luck for everything!
- macOS Monterey: Compatibility and Requirements
- How to prepare your Mac for macOS Monterey
- macOS Monterey: download
- macOS Monterey: installation
- macOS Monterey: clean installation
macOS Monterey: Compatibility and Requirements
Before inquiring about how to update to macOS Monterey , if you haven’t already done so, you need to make sure you have a Mac compatible with this version of the operating system (with Intel or Apple Silicon processor, it makes no difference).
- iMacLate 2015 and later
- Mac ProLate 2013 and later
- iMac Pro2017 and later
- Mac miniLate 2014 and later
- MacBook AirEarly 2015 and later
- MacBookEarly 2016 and later
- MacBook ProEarly 2015 and later
And now, always before moving on to the “hard” of the guide, I would like to list a series of news that you will find in macOS Monterey , among the most interesting. The complete list can then be found on the Apple website .
- New Safari– Apple’s browser has been completely revamped with a more essential tab bar that takes up as little screen space as possible and changes color based on the site you’re visiting. Groups have also been introduced, so you can organize your open tabs in the program into groups and switch between groups using the redesigned sidebar or drop-down menu. The groups of cards are synchronized via iCloud and, therefore, it is possible to find them on any device.
- Full immersion– a new mode that allows you to focus on your work by automatically filtering notifications based on what you are doing. A sort of enhanced “Do Not Disturb”, with granular settings on notifications to be received and not received. Also available on iOS and iPadOS.
- Universal Control– macOS Monterey introduces the ability to use the same keyboard and mouse or trackpad to control both Mac and iPad (with iPadOS 15 or later) by switching “on the fly” from one to the other without interruption. Feature not available at launch.
- Built-in AirPlay Receiver– You can use your Mac as an AirPlay receiver to send video content, audio and cast the screen of iPad, iPhone or even other Macs, as has always been done, for example, on Apple TV and TV with AirPlay .
- Integrated OCR– it is possible to copy, paste and translate the text present in the images displayed in Photos, Safari, Quick View, Safari and in the screenshots taken on Mac on the fly.
- iCloud +– macOS Monterey supports new privacy-focused iCloud services, such as the “iCloud Private Relay”, which makes online browsing more secure by encrypting outbound traffic from the device (sends all requests through two separate Internet relays so that that not even Apple will profile the user); “Hide my email” to create a disposable email address “on the fly” to avoid receiving spam; finally to mention the possibility of using a custom email domain for iCloud Mail .
- More complete iCloud Keychain– the password manager built into macOS (and iOS / iPadOS) is enriched and now has a dedicated panel in System Preferences, where you can search and manage saved passwords for apps and websites. It also supports the creation of codes OTP for 2FA .
- Notes and Reminders– are enriched with exciting new features, including tag support, to better categorize saved content.
- FaceTime– is enriched with various exciting new features, including spatial audio, portrait mode, voice isolation and FaceTime on the web, to invite anyone on a FaceTime call (even non-Apple users) to join via browser , without authentication.
How to prepare your Mac for macOS Monterey
Before installing a full-bodied update such as macOS Monterey , it is a good idea to prepare the Mac for the new operating system by freeing up as much disk space as possible (more than 35 GB of free space is required) and to “fix” small or large problems that may currently be on the system. In this regard, you could rely on an all-in-one tool like CleanMyMac X , which allows you to optimize the system by deleting unnecessary files from the disk, eliminating malware from the Mac and performing other maintenance operations that allow you to obtain a macOS stable and performing, in order to start off on the right foot before an important update like the one to macOS Monterey.
In addition to being very simple to use (it has a very intuitive interface and completely translated into Italian ), CleanMyMac X guarantees an above average degree of reliability for this kind of tool (although, as for all such software, it is advisable make a backup of your Mac before using it) and you can use it for free for deleting 500MB of data .
Once this threshold has been exceeded, to continue using it without limits you must purchase the full version of the program with prices starting from 29.95 euros; alternatively you can subscribe to the MacPaw Setapp service (the same manufacturer of CleanMyMac X) which for $ 9.99 / month after a 7-day free trial allows you to access a wide range of paid applications for macOS without having to pay for individual licenses. Furthermore, with a small addition to the monthly fee, you can also access many applications for iOS / iPadOS. Read more here .
If everything is clear, I recommend that you go straight to the official CleanMyMac X website and download the program by clicking on the download button . Then open the .dmg package obtained, drag the CleanMyMac X icon into the Applications folder of your Mac and answer affirmatively to all the security warnings that are proposed to you, then accept the privacy conditions and Terms of service and follow the initial tutorial .
Now all you have to do is start a first general system scan by clicking on the Scan button : within a few seconds, CleanMyMac X will tell you the unnecessary files to be deleted to free up disk space, the security problems present in the system (e.g. malware) and will show you a series of tips to optimize macOS performance.
To fix everything automatically, click on the Start button and wait for the program to do its job. If, on the other hand, you prefer to choose the various actions to perform individually, press on the items relating to Cleaning , Protection and Speed , check only the options you prefer and start the cleaning / optimization action by pressing the appropriate button.
Other useful tools of CleanMyMac X can be found in the left sidebar: in addition to the aforementioned tools for Cleaning , Protection and Speed , which can be used individually, there are commands related to Applications (to uninstall applications without leaving residual files on the disk and update them to versions more recent), to Files (to find “heavy” and “unused” files and delete files safely, so that they cannot be recovered even with data recovery software).
Please note: on first use, you will be asked to allow CleanMyMac X full access to the disk and to other areas of the system on which you are going to operate; therefore, open System Preferences and check the relevant boxes, as instructed on the screen.
CleanMyMac X also has a handy anti-malware function and an assistant active in real time, to protect the system and alert you when there are possible performance problems. The assistant can be used via the convenient icon in the menu bar (near the system clock) which allows you to view the status of memory, band, disk and other components in real time and to access various CleanMyMac functions X (the same goes for the widget available in macOS 11 Big Sur and later).
In case you want to disable the anti-malware function or the CleanMyMac X assistant, start the program, go to the CleanMyMac X> Preferences menu (top left) and disable the relevant boxes from the Protection and Menu tabs of the window that appears . More information can be found in my tutorial on how CleanMyMac X works , where I have explained to you even more in detail how to use the program.
macOS Monterey: download
Once your Mac is properly prepared, you’re ready to upgrade to macOS Monterey . To do so, all you have to do is open System Preferences (the gear icon located on the Dock bar) and go to Software Update (make sure your Mac is connected to the Internet ).
Wait, therefore, for the availability of macOS Monterey to be detected and start the download by clicking on the Update now button . Once this is done, you can also close the System Preferences window and continue working. The Mac will offer you the window for installing the update as soon as it is ready for use.
macOS Monterey: installation
Once the download is complete, the macOS Monterey installation screen will automatically start. If not, you can invoke the application related to macOS 12 from the Launchpad or from the Applications folder of the Mac.
So, in the first screen that is proposed to you, click on the Continue button . Then continue by accepting the conditions of use of the software two consecutive times and select the target disk of the operating system (ie the disk on which macOS is currently installed). If necessary, unlock the drive by entering the Mac administration password and click the Continue button to start the actual installation.
This will take several minutes (depending on your Mac’s performance) and will cause your computer to automatically restart several times. When finished, you will find your Mac with all the files and applications as you had them before, but with all the news of macOS Monterey ready to be used. It wasn’t difficult, was it?
macOS Monterey: clean installation
Don’t want to upgrade to macOS Monterey, but do a clean installation of the aforementioned operating system? No problem. Make sure you have a USB stick with at least 32GB of free space (no important data inside, as it will be formatted), make a backup of the data on your Mac (as the computer disk will also be formatted) and proceed as follows.
First, download macOS Monterey as described in the previous chapters ; then open the Terminal (found in the Other folder of the Launchpad ) and issue the following command: instead of volume name put the current name of the key on which to copy the operating system (it is what you also see on the Desktop or in the Finder sidebar) .
sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ 12.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/nomevolume
Answer affirmatively to the Terminal’s request (by pressing Y and giving Enter ) and wait a few minutes for the macOS Monterey installation files to be completed on the stick. The counter in the Terminal must reach 100% and the indicator for accepting new commands must appear (ie the name of the Mac with your username next to it).
Now, if you have a Mac with an Intel processor , reboot the system and hold down the alt key on the keyboard until, when you turn it on again, the list with the devices you can boot from appears. If, on the other hand, you have a Mac with an Apple Silicon processor (eg M1) , perform a complete shutdown of the computer, turn it back on and hold down the Power button until the list of devices from which you can boot appears.
At this point, regardless of the type of Mac you use, select the macOS Monterey installer icon , wait for the menu with the available utilities to appear and select Disk Utility . Next, click the Continue button , select your Mac’s main drive (presumably Macintosh HD ) from the left sidebar and, if necessary, unlock the drive by clicking the Activate button and entering the Mac admin password . Finally, press on the Initialize button located at the top, type the name you want to assign to the disk, select APFS as Format and click on the Initialize button .
Once the disk has been formatted (which will erase all data inside it), click on the Finish button and close Disk Utility. Then select the item Install macOS 12 , click on the Continue button and proceed with the installation of macOS Monterey just as explained in the previous chapter (the steps to follow are almost identical).