In the Keynote opening WWDC 2022, Apple announced the release of macOS 13 Ventura this autumn/fall. Apple has already provided an overview, and a more detailed list of most of the changes coming. This article looks at some of the more surprising and significant changes, and follows on from yesterday’s article looking at where we’ve come from.
Apple has dropped some recent models from the list of those officially supported by Ventura, which reads:
- iMac 2017 (iMac18,1) and later
- iMac Pro
- MacBook Air 2018 (MacBookAir8,1) and later
- MacBook Pro 2017 (MacBookPro14,1) and later
- Mac Pro 2019 (MacPro7,1) and later
- Mac Studio
- Mac mini 2018 (Macmini8,1) and later
- MacBook 2017 (MacBook10,1) and later.
It’s also adding the two new M2 models announced at WWDC, the MacBook Air 2022 and MacBook Pro 13-inch 2022. Notable by its omission is any Mac mini 2022.
Just a few weeks after Apple updated its Platform Security Guide, Ventura brings significant changes to what’s described there. Hopefully that guide will undergo interim update before its next major revision in Spring 2023.
Most important among them is Accessory Security, which in the first instance is only available on M1 and M2 notebook models. By default, this requires the user to approve all new USB and Thunderbolt peripherals before they can connect with that Mac. It doesn’t apply to some classes of device, including power adaptors, standalone displays, or when the peripheral is connected to an approved hub. This isn’t mandatory, and is configured by the user, who can choose to allow all devices if they wish. Once approved by the system, devices are remembered so they don’t have to be renewed with each macOS update, nor presumably with any supporting software update for that peripheral.
This is an excellent proactive move by Apple to anticipate malicious device attacks, which use hacked peripherals to gain entry to a Mac. I don’t believe that this is currently a significant risk, although I think a couple of exploits have been described. As physical access to the Mac is required, protection is most important for notebook models, but Apple might decide in the future to add it to others as well.
Ventura also introduces a new type of security update, in Rapid Security Response, intended as “important security improvements” delivered in between normal macOS updates. These are claimed to not require the Mac to be restarted once they’re installed. It will be interesting to see how these work, and whether they replace any existing security protection. Because their purpose appears quite different to that of MRT, I doubt whether they’ll replace that, but Apple hasn’t yet explained any more about them.
For developers who notarize their software, there are changes coming in how that’s performed. We’ve now entered a transition period during which four different methods are available:
- Xcode 13.x and earlier
- Xcode 14.x and later.
In the autumn/fall of 2023 (next year) with the release of macOS 14, the first two of those will stop working. This means that, for those using Xcode, development or at least notarization will have to be migrated to Xcode 14 over the next 15 months or so. Apple has now added a public REST API which you may find more convenient, and you can also copy
stapler from Xcode 14 to use in older versions of Xcode.
Other notable announcements
Unlike Monterey, almost all of Ventura’s new features are available on all supported models. The only notable exceptions appear to be automatic live caption transcripts in FaceTime and elsewhere, which requires an M1 or M2 model. Another interesting trend is support for languages: Ventura includes no additional support for the Russian language, but in some features support is added for Ukrainian. Among those is Live Text photo search.
Here’s a round-up of some of the other significant announcements:
- Mail – search has been overhauled
- Spotlight – has been overhauled, and now includes images in Photos, Messages, Notes and the Finder. It also includes text and objects within images
- Safari – has benefitted from a big push on new technologies, including Passkey, intended to replace passwords and become phishing-proof
- Messages – adds integration with third-party products, including its Shared with You feature
- iCloud – introduces Shared Photo Library, and now makes Hide My Email available to third-party mail clients
- Stage Manager – a new feature in the Finder which can move open and active apps to one side allowing you to concentrate on one or two in the centre of the display. This is integrated with Spaces and Mission Control
- FaceTime – adds automatic live caption transcripts (M1 only)
- use of an iPhone as a webcam and microphone is supported if not encouraged
- Freeform – coming later this year, this will be a new collaborative whiteboard diagramming app
- System Preferences – have been redesigned to look similar to the Dock & Menu Bar pane in macOS 12
- Clock app – is a new arrival from iOS/iPadOS
- Home app – has been redesigned, with support coming for Matter, a new cross-platform standard
- Live Text – is added to videos, and has additional language support for Japanese, Korean and Ukrainian
- Visual Look Up – this lets you lift identified objects from their background. New identification domains added include birds, insects and statues
- Weather – is coming to macOS with third-party app support.
Apple has already made its first developer beta available, and is likely to release the first public beta in early July. Unfortunately, for anyone wishing to develop for Ventura, betas of Xcode 14 are only available to those with access to protected developer downloads.