Apple has today released macOS Monterey 12.1, watchOS 8.3, and tvOS 15.2 to the public.
Our testing suggests that the following issues have been addressed in macOS Monterey 12.1:
- It is once again possible to unmute VoiceOver using the mute speech toggle
- VoiceOver now speaks the first header of a web table as expected when navigating with VO-Right-Arrow
At the time of posting we are unaware of any changes for blind and low vision users in either watchOS 8.3 or tvOS 15.2.
As we always stress, we can make no claims on the completeness or accuracy of our testing. We are only a small team, and it is simply impossible for us to test all devices, configurations, applications, and use cases. Accordingly, to help us ensure that the information on this page is as complete and accurate as possible, please let us know in the comments of any additional fixes; enhancements; or regressions that you find in your own use of these software versions.
macOS Monterey 12.1 Release Notes
macOS Monterey 12.1 adds SharePlay, an entirely new way to have shared experiences with family and friends in FaceTime. This update also includes the Apple Music Voice Plan, new safety features for children and parents in Messages, redesigned Memories in Photos, and other features and bug fixes for your Mac.
- SharePlay is a new way to share synchronized experiences in FaceTime with content from the Apple TV app, Apple Music, and other supported apps
- Shared controls give everyone the ability to pause, play, rewind or fast forward
- Smart volume automatically lowers the audio of a movie, TV show or song when you or your friends speak
- Screen sharing lets everyone on a FaceTime call look at photos, browse the web, or help each other out
Apple Music Voice Plan
- Apple Music Voice Plan is a new subscription tier that gives you access to all songs, playlists, and stations in Apple Music using Siri
- Just Ask Siri suggests music based on your listening history and likes or dislikes
- Play it Again lets you access a list of your recently played music
- Memories has been redesigned with a new interactive interface, new animation and transition styles, and multiple image collages
- New Memory types include additional international holidays, child-focused memories, trends over time, and improved pet memories
- Communication safety setting gives parents the ability to enable warnings for children when they receive or send photos that contain nudity
- Safety warnings contain helpful resources for children when they receive photos that contain nudity
Siri and Search
- Expanded guidance in Siri, Spotlight and Safari Search to help children and parents stay safe online and get help with unsafe situations
- Digital Legacy allows you to designate people as Legacy Contacts so they can access your iCloud account and personal information in the event of your death
- Store tab lets you browse, buy, and rent movies and TV Shows all in one place
This release also includes the following enhancements for your Mac:
- Hide My Email is available in the Mail app for iCloud+ subscribers to create unique, random email addresses
- Stocks allows you to view the currency for a ticker and see year-to-date performance when viewing charts
- Reminders and Notes now allow you to delete or rename tags
This release also includes bug fixes for your Mac:
- Desktop and Screen Saver may appear blank after selecting photos from the Photos library
- Trackpad could become unresponsive to taps or clicks
- External displays may not charge some MacBook Pro and MacBook Air computers when connected using Thunderbolt or USB-C
- HDR video playback on YouTube.com could cause 2021 MacBook Pro computers to panic
- Menu bar extras may be obscured by the camera housing on 2021 MacBook Pro computers
- MagSafe may stop charging on 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro computers when lid is closed and system is shut down
watchOS 8.3 Release Notes
Apple's official release notes for watchOS 8.3 are currently unavailable. However, 9to5Mac cites the following changes:
- Apple Music Voice Plan gives you access to all songs, playlists, and stations in Apple Music using Siri
- Support for App Privacy Report to record data and sensor access
- Fixes an issue where notifications may interrupt Mindfulness sessions unexpectedly for some users.
tvOS 15.2 Release Notes
Outside of the major upgrade each year, tvOS updates are typically minor in scale with a focus on under-the-hood fixes and performance improvements. As Apple does not provide release notes for tvOS updates, we will have to wait and see if tvOS 15.2 does include user facing changes. We will update this post if anything of note is discovered.
How to Update
To install macOS Monterey 12.1, choose System Preferences from the Apple menu, click the Software Update preference pane, and click the Update Now button to begin the update process. If other updates are available, you can click "More info" to see details about them and select specific updates to install.
More information on how to update the software on your Mac is available on this Apple Support page.
watchOS 8.3 is available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings > General > Software Update) or by going to the Watch app on your iPhone and navigating to General> Software Update. To install the update, your Watch must be connected to its charger and have at least 50% battery power.
More information on how to update the software on your Apple Watch is available on this Apple Support page.
To install tvOS 15.2 on Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD, go to the Settings channel, then look for the System section near the bottom. From here, look for Software Updates under Maintenance, then select Update Software and Download and Install. Wait for your Apple TV to download the update. Don't disconnect or unplug your Apple TV until the update completes.
More information on how to update the software on your Apple TV is available on this Apple Support page.
As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences of the new features and enhancements in these releases, so please let us know by posting a comment below.
Mail attachments bug also fixed
Since macOS Monterey 12.0.1, VoiceOver users were unable to locate mail attachments in the mail body text field. this issue has also been fixed in Monterey 12.1. Mail attachments can be located reliably once again with VoiceOver.
Missing sound effect
When using VO-F to search for text, if the text being searched for isn't found, the corresponding sound effect does not play, nor is there any feedback that VoiceOver did anything. Not a big deal, but I am used to that sound effect and found it a bit disconcerting when I first encountered the change in behavior.
The sound effect still plays as expected when using other navigation methods, such as moving by headings or links. It's only the VO-F find command, along with VO-G and VO-Shift-G for finding next and previous, that don't play the sound.
There seemed to be a terrible memory leak in macOS 12.0 which - fingers crossed - looks like it has been fixed with this update. It's a hell of a lot better anyway.