Learn how to Put together Your Mac to Improve to macOS Monterey

As every year, Apple has given its Mac software a major update with macOS Monterey. The new upgrade offers many new features and improvements compared to previous versions.

We're going to take a look at what you should do to prepare your Mac to upgrade to macOS Monterey.

What to expect in macOS Monterey

Even if it's not as extensive as previous updates, macOS Monterey brings a number of new features for Mac users.

Fans of shortcuts on the iPhone and iPad will be pleased that the automation tool is now also available on the Mac.

Related: How to Find, Run, and Create Shortcuts on Your Mac Using macOS Monterey

Other iOS and iPadOS 15 features available on the Mac include Live Text and Focus. You can also add a Quick Note just like you would on an iPad, no matter where you work on a Mac. All of this will show up in the Notes app along with everything from your iPhone or iPad.

FaceTime gets better with the addition of spatial audio, voice isolation technology, and portrait mode.

Safari also presents itself with a new design and additional features.

Make sure your Mac is compatible with macOS Monterey

The first step in preparing your Mac for the upgrade is to check that your device is compatible with the new software.

You can use macOS Monterey with the following Macs:

  • iMac (Late 2015 and later)

  • iMac Pro (2017 and later)

  • MacBook Air (early 2015 and later)

  • MacBook Pro (early 2015 and later)

  • Mac Pro (Late 2013 and later)

  • MacBook (early 2016 and later)

If you don't know the model of your Mac, there is an easy way to check it out. Choose Apple menu in the upper left corner and select About this Mac. A dialog box will appear.

Below the name of the installed software is the model name and age of your device. If your Mac isn't compatible with macOS Monterey, the only option is to keep using your current operating system or to buy a newer computer.

Back up your Mac with Time Machine

While macOS continues to be a solid operating system, there is always a chance that something could go wrong during the update process. To ensure that you do not lose important files and data, it is a good idea to always back up your Mac.

Related: How to Back Up Your Mac

This works best with Apple's Time Machine. With the built-in feature, you can completely back up your Mac to an external hard drive. In the worst case scenario, you can restore your computer from backup and lose nothing.

After you've connected an external hard drive to your Mac, go to System Preferences> Time Machine. You then select the hard drive to back up the data.

You can then back up manually or have Time Machine work automatically every hour. The first time you use Time Machine, it can take a few hours to create a full backup of your hard drive.

Even after upgrading, consider continuing to use Time Machine. It costs only the price of an external hard drive and is a reliable way to always have a full backup of your machine. And there are three ways to restore data from a Time Machine backup on a Mac.

Instead of doing a full backup with Time Machine, another alternative is to manually add important documents and data to a cloud storage service like Apple's built-in iCloud. While it's obviously not as complete as a Time Machine backup, you have a copy of important files that you can access if something happens during the upgrade process.

Update all of your existing apps

Along with the macOS software itself, it's always a good idea to update the apps on your Mac. Especially with a major macOS update, some apps need an update to run on the latest version.

If your apps haven't automatically updated yet, go to the App Store app. Choose To update Tab, and then select To update on all available apps.

A major software update is always a good time to clean up your computer. Especially if you have a small internal hard drive, unnecessary files can take up a lot of space and slow down your Mac.

One of the best ways to do a disk cleanup is with Apple's Optimize Storage tools. To access these, select the Apple menu and then About this Mac. Choose storage Tab, and then select Administer.

You will then see a number of ways to clean up your storage and reduce clutter. In the sidebar you can select a number of areas with large files and delete them manually.

After cleaning up, it's always a good time to run Apple's first aid tool, which will fix any issues on your hard drive.

To do this, select the Spotlight icon on the Mac toolbar and enter Disk utility. Highlight your hard drive, then select First aid. After the final confirmation, the function will check the drive for errors and automatically fix any problems.

Know your iCloud account credentials

After the update, you may need to sign back in to iCloud. On the Mac iCloud is the integrated way to synchronize data and information between Apple devices and the cloud storage service iCloud Drive. A secure way to store these credentials is with your iCloud keychain or a third-party password manager that you can access on an iPhone or iPad so you can access them.

Related: What Is iCloud Keychain? Why it's useful and how to use it

Time to update to macOS Monterey

Now that you've taken a number of steps to prepare your computer for macOS Monterey, it's time to download the update.

Choose Settings> Software update. MacOS Monterey should be listed in the dialog box. Choose Upgrade now.

Don't expect a quick process. The update can be more than 10 GB. So expect that this can take some time, depending on your internet connection. After the download, the installation process can also take up to an hour.

Enjoy the latest macOS software

MacOS Monterey brings the latest and greatest features to your Mac laptop or desktop.

As Apple continues to switch to its own Apple silicon chips, Intel-based machines will continue to be supported with updates. But there will be features that are exclusive to machines with Apple's M1 chip line.

7 key macOS Monterey features you won't get on an Intel-based Mac

We're all excited about the new features in macOS Monterey, but not all will enjoy them.

Continue reading

About the author

Brent Dirks
(212 published articles)

Born and raised in sunny west Texas, Brent graduated from Texas Tech University with a BA in Journalism. He has been writing about technology for over 5 years and enjoys everything Apple, accessories, and security related.

By Brent Dirks

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