TECHNOLOGY

macOS 12 Monterey: Versions, Problems and Solutions

Apple’s latest operating system, macOS 12 Monterey, didn’t arrive until October 2021, but is already in its fourth beta. In this article, we’ll give you everything you need to know about the latest version, collect all the news about the latest version of Apple’s latest desktop operating system, and discuss the issues people are encountering with the new operating system, including reports that macOS Monterey has some Intel-powered Macs has bricked and news that some users have been experiencing USB connectivity issues after the update.

Note: The next version of macOS is Ventura. Read all about macOS Ventura in our explanation.

What is the latest version of macOS Monterey?

Apple made macOS Monterey (macOS 12) available for download (as long as you have a compatible Mac) on Monday, October 25, 2021, around 10 a.m. PT (6 p.m. UK time). Read all about Monterey and its features in our Monterey Superguide. You might also like to read our Monterey vs. Big Sur comparison.

However, since the release of Monterey, Apple has continued to update, add new features, and fix (and sometimes add) bugs and vulnerabilities. The latest version is macOS 12.5, which was released on July 20. According to Apple, it contains “enhancements, bug fixes and security updates”. There is also the new option to restart and pause, rewind or fast forward a live sports game that is already in progress. And an issue with Safari tabs is also addressed. There are also a number of security updates.

Prior to macOS 12.5, macOS 12.4 was released on May 16, 2022. It includes updates to the Podcasts app, the Studio Display Fireware Update 15.5, and bug fixes. Apple released macOS 12.3.1 on March 31, 2022. That update followed the major release of macOS 12.3 on March 14, which brought with it the much-anticipated Universal Control feature that lets you share a mouse and keyboard between Macs and iPads.

Before that, macOS Monterey 12.2 was released on January 26, 2022. That update consisted mainly of bug fixes. Version 12.2 followed the release of macOS 12.1 on December 13, 2021, which introduced SharePlay, Apple Music Voice Plan, Digital Legacy, changes to Memories in Photos, and some bug fixes.

What is the latest beta version of macOS Monterey?

We don’t expect a beta version of Monterey to come, although it is possible that Apple will be warned about further security vulnerabilities. However, it’s highly unlikely that Apple would update Monterey for any other reason now that Ventura is on its way.

Apple has been running an Apple Beta Software Program for Monterey since it was first announced in June 2021. The beta program allows developers and public beta testers to try out the new software before it is released to the public. If you want access to the beta versions of macOS, learn how to install the macOS beta. Be warned though, beta software can contain bugs and cause problems with your Mac.

The betas usually refine and fix features, and sometimes introduce issues that will be fixed in subsequent updates – so Apple doesn’t recommend installing a beta on the Mac you’re using as your main computer. The biggest changes in the beta so far are changes to the layout of the address bar and tabs in Safari.

What Macs does macOS Monterey run on?

Here’s a rundown of the Macs Monterey can run on:

MacBook models from 2016 or laterMacBook Air models from 2015 or laterMacBook Pro models from 2015 or laterMac mini models from Fall 2014 or lateriMac models from Fall 2015 or lateriMac Pro (all models)Mac Pro models from 2013 or laterMac Studio (all models)

But just because your Mac can run Monterey doesn’t mean you’ll get all the features. For example, there are some features that require an M1-powered Mac. Read: What Monterey Features Run on My Mac to find out which Monterey features your Mac supports.

We run through all the Macs that are compatible with Monterey here: macOS Monterey Compatibility.

What are the known issues with Monterey?

If it is usually the case that when Apple launches a new version of macOS, we see several complaints from people having problems after the update.

For this reason, it may be worth waiting for Apple to release the first update to Monterey – probably macOS 12.1, after which hopefully the biggest problems will have been fixed.

If that warning is too late for you, then you can read through the information below to see if your problem is being experienced by others and the best way to tackle the problem.

Monterey cannot download or install

If you’re having trouble installing or downloading Monterey, check out macOS Monterey won’t install: Solutions for help.

Battery life issues

Unfortunately, there are reports of users seeing their MacBook’s battery levels drop after moving to macOS 12.2. This appears to be related to a Bluetooth issue in macOS 12.2.

According to reports, the battery level of affected MacBook devices drops rapidly after a few hours of hibernation. Details here: macOS 12.2 ‘Bluetooth issue’ drains battery in sleep mode. Version 12.2.1 seemed to fix the battery drain issue so if you are still using macOS 12.2, this may be the cause of your battery life issue.

Screen not working

Some Mac users — including at least one Macworld editor — found that external displays stopped working after installing macOS 12.3.

Apple’s macOS 12.3.1 update fixed an issue where “USB-C or Thunderbolt external display won’t turn on when connected to Mac mini (2018) as a second display”. So it looks like the problem is now fixed.

Problems with the game controller

Apparently there is also a problem with game controllers introduced in macOS 12.3, this problem could also be related to Bluetooth.

Bricked Macs

After the introduction of Monterey in 2021, there were disturbing reports that some Macs were bricked when Monterey was installed. The issue appears to affect older Intel-based models – there is some suggestion that it affects T1- and T2-equipped Macs, with the T1 apparently more affected than T2. (The T1 and T2 are chips that power the System Management Controller (SMC) and Touch ID sensors in some Intel Macs).

The reason for the failure after the update may be the new firmware that comes with the update. If something goes wrong during the installation, such as the Mac is disconnected from the power or some other process is interfering with the firmware update, it can lead to a total failure of the operating system.

One solution was to restore the firmware of the Mac, Apple explains how to do that here. The rescue procedure for T2 Macs, as described in that Apple document, requires a second Intel Mac, from which you can update the damaged computers with new firmware for the T2 processor via Apple Configurator 2. All data on the internal storage (hard disk or SSD) must be kept.

Fortunately, Apple has released updated bridgeOS firmware to fix the problem – at least for owners of T2-equipped Macs.

In
a statement Apple said, “We have identified and resolved an issue with the firmware on the Apple T2 security chip that prevented a very small number of users from booting their Mac after updating macOS. The updated firmware is now included with existing macOS updates. All users affected by this issue can contact Apple Support for assistance.” More here: Apple releases major Monterey fix for T2 chip Macs.

However, if you want to update the firmware on a T1 Mac, you may need to go to an Apple Store. Any user affected by the bug before the update arrived is encouraged to contact Apple customer service.

The T2 chip is a feature of the following Macs, which may be affected:

iMac 27 inch (Retina 5K, 2020)iMac ProMac Pro (2019)Mac Pro (rack model, 2019)Mac mini (2018)MacBook Air 13 inch (Retina, 2020)MacBook Air 13 inch (Retina, 2019)MacBook Air 13 inch ( Retina, 2018 )MacBook Pro 13 inch (2020, 2 x Thunderbolt 3 ports)MacBook Pro 13 inch (2020, 4 x Thunderbolt 3 ports)MacBook Pro 16 inch (2019)MacBook Pro 13 inch (2019, 2 x Thunderbolt 3 ports)MacBook Pro 15 inch (2019)MacBook Pro 13 inch (2019, 4 x Thunderbolt 3 ports)MacBook Pro 15 inch (2018)MacBook Pro 13 inch (2018, 4 x Thunderbolt 3 ports)

Memory management problem

A memory manager error seems to be causing some Macs to run out of free memory. You may see the warning: “Your system is out of application memory.”

Not sure why I keep getting this warning on my M1 Max. I’m not doing anything crazy
pic.twitter.com/B0o7t2jtN0— Tyler Stalman (@stalman)
October 28, 2021

Twitter

The bug has appeared on new and old Macs, so it doesn’t seem to be limited to just Apple Silicon or Intel machines.

The recommendation if you encounter the bug is to force quit applications or restart your Mac.

There was the suggestion that the Monterey Memory Bug is related to the cursor. Monterey introduces the ability to change the mouse pointer color (via System Preferences > Accessibility > Display > Pointer). As noted on Apple’s support forums, if users return the cursor to the default colors, the issue can be resolved.

However, this solution has not solved the problem for everyone. Read more here: macOS Monterey memory leaks attributed to cursor.

USB issues

There have also been reports of a problem with USB hubs. It seems that some USB hubs and some USB peripherals are not working properly after the upgrade.

It seems that some USB 3.0 ports have stopped working after a Monterey upgrade.

The problem seems to be most common on computers with Apple’s M1 chip, but Intel Macs are also affected. In some cases, some ports will work, but others will not. For some users, the hubs don’t work at all.

Some beta testers had reported USB issues earlier in the beta process. Hopefully the issue will be resolved in macOS Monterey 12.1.

Curious about what’s coming to macOS in 2022? Read our macOS 13 guide. To see what the company has in store for its hardware in the coming year, check out our guide to the new products Apple will announce in 2022.

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