Apple released macOS Monterey back in October 2021, but development hasn’t finished yet. The company continues to fix bugs and add new features, including some features that were announced back in June 2021, but haven’t yet made it into the final version.
Apple has been working on macOS 12.3 since 27 January 2022 when it released the first beta of macOS 12.3 alongside the first beta of iOS 15.4. On 14 March Apple released the latest Mac operating system update. Read on to find out what’s in macOS 12.3 and whether you should install it following reports that some users are experiencing monitor issues.
The biggest news is that macOS 12.3 brings Universal Control, a long awaited feature promised for macOS Monterey back in 2021. Universal Control settings can be found under Displays in System Preferences.
macOS 12.3 Release date
Apple released macOS 12.3 on 14 March 2022.
Then on 31 March 2022 Apple released another update: macOS 12.3.1. The .1 update brings display fixes and addresses a Bluetooth issue. There are also critical security fixes.
Apple’s release notes mention a display problem with USB-C or Thunderbolt displays not turning on when connected to a 2018 Mac mini as a second display.
Apple’s notes say: “USB-C or Thunderbolt external display does not turn on when connected to Mac mini (2018) as a second display”.
In our case the problem relates to a M1 Mac mini, so we are not sure if the problem has been addressed in full.
The security update addresses a problem with the AppleAVD media decoder and tel Graphics Driver, both of which may have been exploited, so the update is recommended.
Should I install macOS 12.3?
There are some great reasons to install macOS 12.3, but the most prominent is probably the addition of Universal Control. However, as is all to often the case there are also some bugs being reported.
Display not working
Some Mac users – including at least one Macworld editor – are finding that external displays no longer work.
The day after installing macOS 12.3 on a Mac mini one of the two monitors we use began working intermittently – turning off at intervals and then turning on again. Despite giggle the cables and turning it off and on again nothing seemed to fix the problem. It seems we were not alone with this issue.
Mac users claimed that previously functioning screens would no longer be detected following the update.
Apple’s macOS 12.3.1 update addresses a problem where “USB-C or Thunderbolt external display does not turn on when connected to Mac mini (2018) as a second display,” however, in our case the problem was with a M1 Mac mini so we don’t know if the issue has been addressed in full.
Games controller issues
Apparently there is also an issue with games controllers, which may be related to Bluetooth.
This comes soon after the battery draining Bluetooth issue that was rectified in the 12.2.1 update. See: macOS Monterey 12.2.1 fixes Mac battery drain issue and New Apple updates protect from security vulnerability.
The Bluetooth issue has also apparently been fixed in macOS 12.3.1. Apple claims .1 fixes a problem where: “Bluetooth devices, such as game controllers, may disconnect from your Mac after playing audio through some Beats headphones”.
Some MacBooks unable to update
Apple has addressed an issue in the 12.3.1 update where “some 2021 MacBook Pro models cannot update or restore to macOS Monterey 12.3”.
Apple did issue one warning about installing the beta version of macOS 12.3 – but we can’t imagine it applies to many people. Apple is warning those who are running macOS Catalina and planning to update to the betas for macOS 12.3 or macOS 11.6.4. Apparently updating can cause a boot loop issue if you install on an APFS volume with FileVault enabled. Apple says: “If your Mac currently has macOS Catalina installed, installing macOS Monterey 12.3 beta or macOS Big Sur 11.6.4 beta on a volume with FileVault enabled might cause a boot loop when attempting to log back into the previous volume.”
The above might apply to you if you are running macOS on a separate volume and switching between different versions of macOS, as per these guides: How to run macOS on a external drive or how to dual boot macOS.
How to get macOS 12.3
You will either see an alert on your Mac letting you know that the update is available. Otherwise click on System Preferences > Software Update. We explain how to download the macOS beta and how to install macOS separately.
If you want to test the next beta version you can join the Apple beta program to test the new software. For more information read this: How to join the Apple beta program.
Always back up your device before installing new beta versions and use a device that is not your system critical computer.
What’s in macOS 12.3?
After a rather boring update in macOS 12.2 that was mainly security fixes, macOS 12.3 brings one long-awaited feature that Apple announced for macOS 12, but hadn’t yet included: Universal Control. That’s not the only new feature though, as you will see if you read on.
One of the most eagerly awaited and as yet unavailable features is Universal Control, which will make it possible to use the same mouse or trackpad to select your Mac screen, type on your Mac with the keyboard, and then select your iPad screen with the same mouse and type there. We run through What Universal Control is and how Universal Control works separately.
Apple had initially said that feature would arrive in the fall/autumn, but then it officially delayed Universal Control until the spring of 2022.
Now Universal Control has finally made an appearance in macOS 12.3.
Not all Macs will be able to take advantage of this new feature. Read: Some Monterey features don’t work on Intel Macs.
There are new emoji in macOS 12.3. These include a melting face, a saluting face, biting the lip, a jar, the beans, X-ray, and bubbles. The blog emojipedia has a first look at these new emoji.
Log in without passwords
Thanks to Passkey Preview Technology users will need a security key to log in with their ID and password on supporting pages run on appropriate hardware.
The technology simplifies iCloud Keychain for the user. It means that instead of verifying themselves with Face ID or Touch ID to add the correct password to a website or service, the user logs directly in with his own key. Read more about Apple’s plans to retire passwords.
UWB support (ultra-wideband)
9to5mac has discovered several system elements in the beta of macOS 12.3 that indicated that UWB support is coming to Macs. However, before it would be possible for Macs to support UWB Apple will need to install U1 chips in its computers, similar to those found in iPhones and AirTags since iPhone 11.
The U1 chip was introduced with the iPhone 11 in 2019 and allows users to detect and locate compatible Apple devices more precisely and accurately via high frequency radio waves – comparable to WLAN – including the AirTags, Apple Watch or the HomePod Mini. This works via the Find My app.
The presence of the technology in the macOS beta is a sure sign that Apple is preparing, or at least testing, ultra-wideband support for future Mac models.
Dropbox and OneDrive support
Apple is retiring kernel extensions that were responsible for Dropbox and OneDrive synchronization. It appears both Dropbox and Microsoft are testing a newer alternative for this.
New settings for screen recordings
Apple has provided a new interface for video conferencing programs. ScreenCaptureKit will give the user more control over the content that viewers see during a video stream. The new software distinguishes shareable content by screen, program and individual window from these programs.
AirPods updates via the Mac
Previously if you wanted to keep your AirPods up to date, Apple’s headphones had to connect to an iPhone or iPad from time to time, because the firmware updates were provided by the developer via iOS and iPadOS. Now it should be possible to update the AirPod firmware via macOS 12.3.