Apple recently released the first beta version of macos sonoma 14.2 beta 1, giving us a glimpse at some of the new features coming in the next update for Macs. While not as major of an update as previous macOS releases, 14.2 still brings some helpful improvements and changes. In this article, we’ll take a look at what’s new in macOS Sonoma 14.2 beta 1.
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macOS Sonoma 14.2 beta 1 was released on October 27, 2023 to developers and public beta testers. This update comes after the release of macOS Sonoma 14.1 in mid-October, which itself didn’t have many huge changes.
As with most x.2 updates to macOS, 14.2 is more of a refinement release rather than introducing major new features. The focus in this update seems to be on improving existing apps and services, particularly those related to communication and collaboration.
Some of the more noteworthy changes in macOS Sonoma 14.2 beta 1 include:
- New sticker and emoji reactions in Messages
- Shared Apple Music playlists
- Favorites playlist in Apple Music
- Improvements to iCloud syncing in Messages
- Contact Key Verification for iMessage
Overall, these changes help streamline communication and sharing between Mac users. Apple is also continuing to refine the experience introduced back in macOS Sonoma 14.0 while maintaining a focus on privacy and security.
Now let’s dive into some of the key changes and updates found in the first beta of macOS Sonoma 14.2.
One of the more fun new additions in 14.2 is the ability to react to messages in the Messages app with stickers or emoji. Reactions appear underneath the message you are reacting to, providing a quick and easy way to respond without having to type out a full message.
Message reactions work similarly to how they work in apps like WhatsApp or Messenger. To use a reaction, you simply hover over a message and click on the popped-up emoji icon. This will bring up the full sticker and emoji picker so you can choose how to react.
Once a reaction is added, all participants in the conversation can see it, making Thread reactions a handy new way to interact in Messages on the Mac.
Shared Apple Music Playlists
macOS Sonoma 14.2 brings the ability to collaborate on shared Apple Music playlists with others. From the Music app, you can invite friends to contribute to a playlist by adding their own song suggestions.
This makes it easy to crowdsource playlists for a party or road trip, for example. Previously this was only possible through third-party apps and services.
To start a shared playlist:
- Open the Music app and create a new playlist (or select an existing one)
- Click on the Shared tab
- Click “Invite People” and enter email addresses or phone numbers of those you want to collaborate
After a collabator accepts the invite, they can view and edit the shared playlist by opening it in their Music app. All changes will sync across listeners in real time, providing a seamless shared music experience.
Apple Music Favorites Playlist
In addition to shared playlists, Apple Music is also getting a handy new Favorites playlist option in macOS Sonoma 14.2.
The Favorites playlist automatically adds songs you mark as favorite in the Music app, creating a convenient collection of your most-loved tracks. As you favorite new songs, they get added to the playlist.
You can find the Favorites playlist by going to the Playlists tab in Apple Music and looking under the “Made for You” section. From there, you can play it like any other playlist, download it, and share it.
Having an auto-updating playlist of favorites makes it easier to play your favorite music without having to manually manage a playlist.
iMessage in iCloud Improvements
macOS Sonoma 14.2 aims to provide a smoother experience with syncing iMessages across devices. iCloud sync has greatly improved over the years, but some users still experienced inconsistent message syncing between Mac, iPhone, iPad, and other devices.
While Apple hasn’t provided specifics on what improvements were made, the release notes for 14.2 beta 1 indicate fixes to this system. We can expect messging sync to be more reliable, helping keep conversations seamless when switching between Apple devices.
Having your full message history available on all devices where you use iMessage is key for Apple’s ecosystem. Smoother syncing of deletions, edits, and new messages will help Macs work even better with iPhones and iPads running iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2, which will likely release around the same time as macOS 14.2.
iMessage Contact Key Verification
In macOS Sonoma 14.2, Apple is expanding their suite of communication security features with a new option for verifying contacts in iMessage.
iMessage Contact Key Verification allows you to further confirm the identities of important contacts by comparing a short, unique phrase. This ensures that you are communicating with your intended recipient, preventing spoofing or impersonation.
To use this feature:
- Open an iMessage conversation thread
- Click on the contact’s name at the top
- Select “Verify Identity”
- A phrase will be displayed on both ends to compare for confirmation
This builds on existing security with end-to-end encryption and other privacy protections in iMessage. While most users won’t need to verify contacts, it provides extra reassurance for those who require it, like journalists, activists, executives and others who could be targets of sophisticated hacking attempts.
Along with updates like Lockdown Mode and Passkeys, Contact Key Verification reiterates Apple’s focus on making their devices the most secure communication platforms.
macOS Sonoma 14.2 beta 1 brings some nice quality-of-life improvements, particularly for Messages and Apple Music users. Shared playlists, message reactions, and smoother iCloud syncing all help enhance communication and collaboration through Apple services.
While not as flashy as updates like Monterey or Ventura, this x.2 update still provides meaningful refinements to the core Mac experience. As Apple continues testing 14.2 in beta, we may see some additional changes before the public release later this fall.
For most users, updating to macOS Sonoma 14.2 will be recommended once available to gain these new features and underlying improvements. Those enrolled in the public beta program can try out these changes now and provide early feedback to Apple.
Going forward, it will be interesting to see if Apple continues the pattern of modest updates with each x.2 macOS release. There are still opportunities to bring major new apps and features like they have in the past.
But for now, macOS Sonoma 14.2 offers helpful improvements anyone with a Mac will appreciate. The update keeps Macs feeling fresh while maintaining the core experience people rely on.