Survey Results: Which iOS 15 and macOS 12 Monterey Features Do You Actually Use?

Originally published at: Survey Results: Which iOS 15 and macOS 12 Monterey Features Do You Actually Use? - TidBITS

The results are in and wow, do people not use a lot of Apple’s features. In fact, only 4 of 20 features garnered more votes from those who used the feature than those who didn’t. Some of the usage patterns are no surprise—SharePlay, really?—but others caught us off guard.

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Well, one thing changed for me. I now have full screen menu bar turned on with my new M2 MacBook Air. I never used full screen on the old non-retina MacBook Air.

I don’t use Private Relay because when I try to turn it on, I see “Some of your system settings prevent Private Relay from working…Your system has extensions or settings installed that are incompatible with Private Relay.”

Internet search has not narrowed the focus.

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It might be interesting to find out how many people started using a particular feature after taking the survey.

I had fully intended to set up a legacy contact when the feature was first announced, but simply forgot about it. Now that the survey reminded me, I have finally done it.

Thanks for that.

Thank you for running this survey and the analysis of the results. The ones that are popular are not a surprise.
Equally the ones that are not popular are no surprise. Here’s some reasons why I can’t or don’t use most of these ‘new’ features.

I can’s use some of these features because I do not have the post Intel IMac (because myopic Apple will not bring out a 27" iMac) and so can’t use Monterey.
Many have none or doubtful utility in my use of computers and devices.
The setup of many is too obscure and unique.
Many have strange interfaces and I don’t have the energy to be bothered.
Apple keeps changing the swiping gestures and input routes or have different gestures for iPhone, for the iPad, for the Mac (how hard is it to have some coordination amongst programming teams)
Some features are just plain gimmicky and trivial.
Customising computers and devices is often a waste of time and a cause of headaches.
I’m one who wishes Apple would spend programming time fixing its own applications and stop making yet more emojis and other trivia. Steve Jobs famously said Apple doesn’t do focus groups and Apple has continued his tradition. But I wish Apple would occasionally ask Apple users what features are wanted, what they wanted fixed, and what would be useful.
I wish Apple would take regard of users submitting ideas and fixes, but Apple does not seem interested in what its customers in the real world thinks and sticks to its ivory tower.

There’s a variety of reasons Apple add features and apps over time, some are just entertainment and will have limited use, our PhotoBooth App Library entirely consists of images of my daughter aged three. That limited simple app sold a lot of Macs.

Others require adaptation of how you use the computer and are more long lasting. The shifting of things along happens slowly and incrementally and sometimes new features only click when another one enters the frame and you see the benefit.

Not all of us do things the same way or even optimal ways, there are many different routes to getting to the same ends, teaching a photoshop class to experienced professionals, you learn as much as you give. That happens across the range of computing activities, more features, more ways, all good to me.

Apple’s features, even those we call Sherlocked, are often not as good as third-party apps, I too use Keyboard Maestro and have only dabbled in Shortcuts, it strikes me as somewhat clumsy, I prefer a mix of KM, Automator, Hazel and a few scripts I’ve picked up. But when I set up a shortcut on my wife’s phone, she was thrilled with it. Horses for courses. I’ll stick with Mullvad VPN over Private Relay, etc. etc.

FaceTime, huge in our immediate family and across my wife’s entire family, both video and audio Hardly ever use regular phone calls. It’s the main form of communication. We have SharePlayed but rarely, mainly at my daughter’s instigation, and used the Links only a little. My family have a mix of Android users and WhatsApp has that role there, much to my dismay. We use Zoom and Teams for work, Apple not ever going to be the dominant player in that environment.

The biggest issue I see is the tons of tiny little features buried away, how will I ever discover they are there. Well, there’s TidBITS for that.


Even new features are gimmicky or not fully implemented. I had a detailed look at the new features in Mail:

  • There is no way to change the seconds for “undo send”. I don’t want it at all but it’s not possible to disable the feature.
  • I haven’t found a way to remove a reminder.
  • The reminders are not integrated into the Reminders app.

When I took the survey I thought App Privacy Report was the nutrition label thing in the App Store. Now that I know what it really is, I just enabled it. We’ll see if I remember to look at it again in the future or if it provides me with actionable information.

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To me, it is totally obvious that Apple stuffs every version of MacOS and iOS with new features of questionable usefulness as a shameless marketing gimmick, plain and simple. Users of Apple devices need a new version of their operating systems once a year every year like they need another hole in their heads. What we need is reliable, bug-free software—which we’re never going to get under Apple’s frenetic development schedule. This is how they compete in the age of the App Store, which has conditioned users to expect a never-ending stream of updates and upgrades whether they are necessary or not. What Apple (along with the rest of the computer industry) is teaching consumers is that nothing is ever good enough as it is, which is a terribly irresponsible lesson to be teaching consumers—especially the young people who constitute Apple’s primary advertising target. Has anyone else noticed the flood of articles about the next iPhone that start coming out the same day that the current new model is released? It’s an absurd situation when you take a step back and really look at it.


Enjoyed the survey and thanks for the reminder about Legacy Contacts!

  1. Kind of a surprise how much Apple relies on WiFi for Continuity and Shareplay. That is, if you try to fallback onto faster and more reliable wired Ethernet, it dumbs down (e.g.: display resolution) or doesn’t work at all.
  2. Notes has lots of potential if Apple would put a little more effort into it. Smart folders with AND/NOT/OR capability would be huge.
  3. I had a few great Shortcuts on my iPhone, when they added Mac support it just about broke every one. It’s pretty tedious to debug Gallery (previously functional, provided by Apple) shortcuts written by someone who knew what they were doing (I don’t!).

I wish Apple would do a better job of highlighting (and explaining in detail) everything new in every software update. Many handy ‘features’ will never be discovered by thousands of Mac users who don’t frequent several of the dedicated Apple websites on a frequent basis.

The various tech writers do a pretty good job of getting the word out but that doesn’t help people who never frequent the sites.

And a hint to the sites, do a better job of writing the headlines. I’ll admit, if I’m in a hurry, I’ll only read an article if the headline catches my attention. And if a site is well known for clickbait headlines, I’m even more likely to miss something I should have read.

So are you saying there is no way to set a 0-sec delay? No way to have the new Mail send immediately as it does now?

Features I actually use:

  • FaceTime Links: really only for testing FaceTime features with myself, but it’s really handy for that
  • Legacy Contacts: I actually set this up last summer when it was still in the beta and as far as I can tell, it remains set up, but I need to walk through it with my wife.
  • Visual Lookup: I’ve used this to identify various wild plants around my house.
  • Hide My Email: This is really handy for signing up for mailing lists.
  • Memories: It’s not so much I use this as it’s thrust upon me, but getting reminders of old photos of my kids is nice sometimes.
  • Shortcuts: Very sparingly. I share Adam’s frustrations with it.
  • Live Text: I use this all the time. Extremely useful feature.

Of course, I’ve tested all of the others when writing Take Control of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 but haven’t used them in actual situations. I’d hate to count how many hours Adam and I spent testing SharePlay because I don’t think either of us uses it, though I certainly see the audience for it. My brother used to watch Netflix remotely with his friends back when the Xbox 360 had that feature.

Totally agree. And Apple’s App Store requirements, interface changes and new technologies are devastating for developers, especially small outfits who, without a huge success, don’t have the resources to keep up. I wonder how many people have a list of favorite apps that just went away…

As for iPhones, in a stint at an Apple Store I was blown away by the customers who wanted the newest, best iPhone (which was frequently out-of-stock). “Oh, do you need the camera for professional quality photography or cinema work?” NO. I just want the iPhone XX, PRO MAX. —They had no “reason”. Just want the newest and best. :face_with_peeking_eye:

I’m happy that Apple fixes bugs, addresses vulnerabilities, adds some new minor features, and speeds performance up for Macs and iOS Devices asap, whenever necessary. I’d rather have the new Big Bang software features released on a timely basis, rather than waiting for a ton of stuff to be revealed all at once or twice a year. And it makes more sense for Apple to release minor add ons when they are available, rather than having a lot of little distractions during a big product, service semi annual upgrade or reveal.

And I think that having a few product reveals and major upgrades released a few times a year or so gives journalists, including Adam and his crew, a lot to cover, compare and analyze over time. My thinking is this has been a smart PR strategy as well as a benefit for Apple customers. It is a good comparative selling point for Apple vs. Google and MS stuff.

I tried Translation on our recent trip to Austria and Germany. That included menus and newspaper articles. In some cases, I couldn’t even get the option to translate, when I took a photo of a menu. In others, the translation result was terrible, barely readable! That was in part due to problems that I’d attribute to OCR and article assembly before the the scanned result was sent to the translation engine. But at other times, the translation engine itself does not seem to be very good. It’s WAY BEHIND Google Translate.

Of the list, the only other item I’ve used is Hide My Email, and that only once. It seems to work.

Now you could argue I’m in part a Luddite for a lot of these advanced features. I really despise it when I accidentally trigger Mission Control features, I’m perfectly happy manually managing windows and desktop. (and file systems, the new Mac OS open file dialog is -broken- in apps like Preview.) And I admit to having never tried Siri. The only time I talk to my computer/phone is to swear at it, and I do NOT expect it to answer.

I still see significant bugs in Apple Mac OS apps at least. crashed on me three times today. And has multiple Heisenbugs, including one where the sound stops coming out of my display features despite that being selected as an output, and another one where will progress to the next track in an album and stop. The UI (arrow vs double bar) indicates the track is playing, but there’s no progress (i.e. the track time counter doesn’t advance) and no sound comes out. These are REALLY ANNOYING to me, since I use (and AirPlay) for music around the house.

Finally, I’ll say there is one feature that I really miss from my old Palm Pilot that I wish iOS would adopt. PalmOS had a ‘learning feature’ for its handwriting recognition. I wish the iOS keyboard had a similar feature, as I tend to consistently make the same small set of fat-finger mistakes. It would be great if I could teach the keyboard “here’s how I type, adjust yourself accordingly.” But them, maybe I’m just “typing it wrong” :-)

Are these features in the Ventura beta? Because I am not finding them in Monterey.

I try hard to avoid criticizing a beta version before it’s actually released, plus, of course, it was confusing to me to read your comment in a thread about iOS 15 and Monterey. Feedback to Apple, of course, but there is still time to change the way the features are implemented.

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Off-topic and tangentially related, is anyone else frustrated by the way the iOS App Store always opens in Today? Well over 90% of the time when I go to the App Store, it’s because there is a badge on it and I’m looking for the updated app. Almost all the rest of the time, it’s because I have something in mind and I want to search for it. Never (and I am reluctant to use that word) am I interested in whatever hit the street and has flashy colors.

I see there is an update to the iOS App Store, which I am downloading now. Maybe that will offer a solution to my frustration.

The macOS App Store, at least when selected from the Apple menu, nicely opens at the update page if it believes there are pending updates. (I phrase it that way because the macOS App Store is bugging me to install the versions of Numbers and Pages that I already have installed.)

Yes, including compatibility problems the new features introduce. I complained somewhere else about a new version of an app (Numbers, I suspect) not working with the old version still on another device.


I completely agree. I was reading a site once and couldn’t believe people were actually calling an apps ICON outdated. “It is SO behind the times and needs to be updated!!!” I am a very visual person and hate when icons and colors change.

I do truly miss the days of new software only coming out when there was something fantastic in it.

Like some others, I can’t even begin to keep up with new features and have seen some in this thread I really should be using but didn’t know about. Some I wanted to use fell flat in reality (like Focus)

I also miss quick start guides. One page with bullet points.


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