Some of macOS Monterey's best features won't work with Intel-based Macs

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,454   +1,031
Staff member
In context: The next macOS has some pretty cool features, but several are only compatible with the new M1 silicon. It's somewhat inexplicable considering M1 Macs currently make up a tiny portion of Apple's customer base. Leaving Intel-based Mac owners high-and-dry seems shortsighted.

Apple is great at hyping its latest hardware and software. Craig Federighi showed off this skill leading Apple's opening keynote address for WWDC 2021. Live Text, Universal Control, and detailed 3D maps were played up as must-haves in macOS Monterey. However, there is a catch.

While Federighi did not mention it during the reveal, many of Monterey's hype-worthy features are not compatible with Intel-based Macs. This fact only came to light after reading the fine-print footnotes on Apple's Monterey preview page, which was posted on Monday after the presentation.

While the newest version of the Mac operating system will run on older Intel Macs, some features will be absent, including those mentioned above, Universal Control being the exception. Others that Apple footnoted as incompatible include:

  • FaceTime's portrait mode
  • The interactive globe in Maps
  • No-time-limit on-device dictation

While not really make-or-break, it is unfortunate that only those with M1 Macs will have access to the full functionality of Monterey. The first Macs with in-house silicon only arrived last fall, and Apple has yet to convert the rest of its line to the new SoCs, although they are moving fast to fix that. Additionally, those customers with recently purchased or slightly older hardware now have less incentive to upgrade to Monterey.

Sure, there are still some other great features that come with Monterey. Control Center now has a recording indicator that tells you when an app is using your mic. The Shortcuts feature for automating tasks will work with Intel silicon, as will "AirPlay to Mac." However, Federighi didn't blast these as "must-have" like he did the others.

Clearly, Apple is moving macOS toward the future of its hardware. It's just unfortunate that it chose to do so when only a tiny fraction of its user base can enjoy it.

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Posts: 4,080   +5,616
"While Federighi did not mention it during the reveal, many of Monterey's hype-worthy features are not compatible with Intel-based Macs."

Oh, their perfectly compatible..their just disabled. Hopefully some clever hackers will make a laughing stock of Apple's latest attempt at forced obsolescence.


Posts: 3,096   +2,568
Well DUH! You think Apple would allow their OS to work THE BEST with anything other than
their chips?


Posts: 127   +114
I'm fine with my Mac mini M1. I'm glad I sold my i7 with Nvidia graphics desktop (windows) to buy the M1 based mac (first macos for me). Smoother and waaay faster with video and audio editing, photo editing is brutally faster and ... wait... oh... silent!

So it's the future and I hope more people jump on the wagon.


Posts: 493   +489
Far from me defending Apple in any way, but surely they know how people will react. It's kind of retarded to pull something like this. Obviously they have no spine to say this loud and clear - 'since build/OS ver xyz we will no longer develop x86 code and focus solely on ARM'. Only that was required and reaction would be very different.

Yes still plenty of calls about planned obsolescence with which Apple reached absolute pinnacle of perfection in the Universe. But on the other side old iPhones and iPads from 7 years ago still receive new updates. So before screaming "planned obsolescence" let's not forget about big picture. Keep in mind that iPhones are 50%(+) of that company so it's not small part of that Apple-pie (pun very much intended).

Look from purely technical stand-point. Systems which run anything older than Mojave are ancient history anyway. Yes 2013 MacBook Air is still ok for browsing internet (not very safe, but works, just like WinXP laptop) or 2015 iMac is still ok at doing Numbers spreadsheets. In a sense I'm totally not surprised that Apple decided to push aside Intel Mac development. Look what happened when moving from PowerPC to Intel. In smudge under 2 years support for PPC was gone, dead and buried. We are already 9-10 months into that cycle. Why would anyone expect anything else with Intel to ARM, especially considering Intel being salty sore loser with those pathetic little ads which shame only Chipzilla not Apple. Fruit-cult simply couldn't care less about wasting manpower and resources on Intel.

I was darn impressed with that C4D plugin for importing photographed objects into 3D world. That was the one spot for me during WWDC where I was actually - WOW, I want THAT in my life NOW! :D


Posts: 33   +24
Well then Intel owners should NOT upgrade to new iOS.
It is mare exclusively for new Apple chips.
Seems reasonable to me.
Same goes with Android or iPhone support.
The newest OS only supports up to 3 models back, if that.
Here, there is a transitional period to a completely different hardware base.


Posts: 579   +257
This is how Apple stays in business. Make the fad-loving, hype-following, brand-loyal zombies....err...customers keep buying their overpriced abominations.
THE Macbook air m1 is a comparable price to similar laptops with the best speakers in it's class


Posts: 1,045   +2,048
Like Nvidia, Apple dont care for their customers.

They have pulled similar stunts in the past, like when they tried to stop the Mac Pro 4.1 from getting access to the new version of OSX (then), but that same version worked great on the Mac Pro 5.1.

Both machines were exactly the same and someone actually released a hack that masked the 4.1 id as if it was a 5.1 and guess what? the damned OS worked without an issue.

The biggest problem is the fact that some people loyalty to a brand have passed the rational and jumped into what I call rabid cult members. Whom will justify, obey and defend apple or others for illogical reasons.

And its actually that bad that you get banned from so called respectable sites because they are hardcore apple rabid cult members, like Ars.


Posts: 129   +68
Ugh. I thought it was going to be some sleep modes or some of the "run your ipad apps on your computer" type stuff where there'd be a good technical reason (ipad and m1 both using arm), but this seems totally arbitrary.

Personally I use Ubuntu, I can run what I want, if a system is too slow or too little RAM to do something it's too slow, rather than having a feature artificially removed (I've run Ubuntu on a Tegra K1 with 32-bit ARMs and various x86-64 and it was indistinguishable between the two.)


Posts: 1,018   +167
I have an i9 iMac I’m using at home for work (virtualising and developing desktop builds) and it doesn’t feel any quicker than the i7 I had five years ago. I’m also waiting for an M1 mini which I expect to be snappier. Everyone knows how Apple works. You get support for seven years or so per mac desktop then you are done. OS upgrades are free. If these additional M1 only features are make or break for you then sell your intel mac which will still have plenty of value unless it’s old and ****, and use the money to buy an m1 which are cheaper.