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Why and How to Upgrade Your Macintosh to Ventura

Advantages include compatibility with other Apple devices, added security


spinner image an apple computer displaying world clock and weather apps
The Clock and Weather apps on iPhones are reimagined for laptop or desktop screens with macOS Ventura.
Apple

Like clockwork every fall, Apple launches a free operating system (OS) update for its MacBook laptops and Mac desktops.

The late 2022 edition is called macOS Ventura, meant to replace macOS Monterey and offering a host of new features and improvements. On Monday, Apple announced what will be its newest operating system, available to users in about four months. MacOS Sonoma, like the 10 other operating systems since 2013, is a place in California.

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Think of an operating system as the powerhouse of your computer. It runs the computer’s memory and processes as well as any connected and wireless devices. As the software hub, an OS runs and manages installed software, better known as apps, and the hardware that stores them.

The initial bugs that crop up with any company’s new software release have been fixed, and a newer operating system is always more secure against malware than an older one, especially if you don’t use antivirus software. So now is the time to upgrade to Ventura 13.4 or later.

spinner image a mac laptop showing safari with shared tabs opened
Sharing tabs in Safari allows a group to plan a vacation or a work project without endless email.
Apple

7+ reasons to make the leap to macOS Ventura

Mac’s latest OS helps users do more in less time with added security features and tweaks on how you interact with your desktop or laptop computer. It also weaves in deeper functionality with other Apple devices.

1. Clock and Weather apps familiar to iPhone users can live large on your desktop or laptop screen, allowing you to set alarms and timers and check forecasts.

Apple’s California-themed updates

Since fall 2013, Apple has released Macintosh operating systems named after places in California:

  • 2013, OS X Mavericks
  • 2014, OS X Yosemite
  • 2015, OS X El Capitan
  • 2016, macOS Sierra
  • 2017, macOS High Sierra
  • 2018, macOS Mojave
  • 2019, macOS Catalina
  • 2020, macOS Big Sur
  • 2021, macOS Monterey
  • 2022, macOS Ventura
  • 2023, macOS Sonoma

2. Continuity Camera lets you substitute your iPhone camera for your Mac desktop, laptop or iPad webcam. It recognizes your iPhone as a source when you stabilize it with a special mount or tripod near or on your Mac, then uses the phone’s rear camera to conduct video calls. You also can use your iPhone’s microphone instead of your computer’s and insert photos and scan documents.

For a video call, you can choose from Portrait mode with a blurred background or an optional Desk View that simultaneously shows your face and an overhead view of your desk, ideal for creating how-to videos and “unboxing” videos that show you opening items for the first time.

3. Handoff lets FaceTime users start a call on one device, such as an iPhone, then seamlessly switch to another Mac device, such as a MacBook, in the middle of a conversation.

4. Live Captions provides immediate transcription of incoming audio similar to closed captioning on YouTube, part of a suite of accessibility tools.

5. Passkeys, a password alternative, are a convenient way to log into online accounts. These unique digital keys stay on your device, not stored on a web server, so signing in is secure and easy using fingertip Touch ID or Face ID, types of biometric verification.

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6. Shared tab groups in the Safari browser allow you to collaborate with others on the web or collectively sync bookmarks, such as a family researching a vacation together. You can also start a FaceTime or Messages chat with a group within the Safari web browser.

7. Stage Manager helps you organize apps to better concentrate on what you’re working on by placing your current working app, such as Pages, in the center of the screen. Other open windows appear to the left of your workspace to access if needed.

Other Ventura highlights:

spinner image screenshot showing how to access storage on mac
Figure out how much space you have to add Ventura inside your Mac by clicking on the 1. Apple icon in the upper left corner of your screen and choosing About This Mac. 2. In the box that pops up, choose the Storage tab.
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How to update to macOS Ventura

1. Make a backup. Although your personal files and passwords should never be affected in an upgrade, back up all your important files beforehand to be cautious. Macs have a Time Machine app built in to automatically duplicate your data, but other backup solutions can do the trick, such as external hard drives or solid state drives (SSDs).

2. Check your free space. Under the Apple menu at the top left corner of your screen, choose About this Mac | Storage to see how much space remains on your Mac’s internal drive. You’ll need 25 to 30 gigabytes (GB) available to install and run Ventura.

3. Plug in to power. You don’t want your Mac’s battery to die during the update.

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4. Seek out the software. If your Mac prompts you to update to the newer operating system, let it lead you. After downloading Ventura, the installer will open automatically.

You also can navigate through the Apple menu to System Settings (formerly known as System Preferences) | General | Software Update. Your Mac will check for updates and prompt you to install them.

5. Follow the leader. Click Continue and heed the onscreen prompts.

6. Stay awake. Make sure you don’t close the lid or put your Mac to sleep until Ventura’s installation is complete. Your Mac might restart several times during the process. After it’s installed, Ventura will let you know when the update is complete.

7. Keep up to date. Subsequent versions of Ventura will eventually be available. To check on a new version or to confirm your current OS, click the Apple menu | System Settings | General | Software Update.

Is your Mac new enough for macOS Ventura? Apple offers a complete list of Mac devices that can handle the Ventura upgrade, but here are a few. If yours is too old for the update or you don’t have enough storage, the system will immediately notify you.

  • iMac desktop computer built in late 2017 or later
  • iMac Pro desktop
  • MacBook laptop built in 2017 or later
  • MacBook Air built in 2018 or later
  • MacBook Pro built in 2017 or later
  • Mac mini desktop built in 2018 or later
  • Mac Pro desktop built in 2019 or later
  • Mac Studio desktop

Pro tip: If your Mac is too old for the latest operating system, upgrade to the most recent that Apple will allow. That gives you as much security as possible on an older machine.

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