Apple drops macOS Monterey features from Intel-based Macs

When Apple announced plans to transition from Intel processors to its own custom silicon last year, the company said it would “release new versions of macOS for Intel-based Macs for years to come.”

It turns out this promise comes with a caveat: Intel-based Macs will miss out on new software features starting this fall. As spotted by MacRumors, Apple’s feature page for macOS Monterey lists several features that will only work with Apple silicon.

Those include FaceTime’s “Portrait Mode” for background blur, offline speech-to-text dictation, the ability to dictate more than 60 seconds of text at a time, additional city details in Apple Maps, an interactive Earth globe in Apple Maps, and text-to-speech for certain languages such as Swedish and Norwegian.

According to Rene Ritchie, those features rely on Apple’s Neural Engine, a machine learning system that isn’t available on Macs with Intel processors. But that’s of little consolation to Mac users who believe at least some of the new features should be available on Intel processors. MacRumors’s forum thread on the news includes more than 700 comments, many of them frustrated. One example: “This is an outrage. No technical reason this can’t be on Intel. Forced depreciation in action.”

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Apple debuted its M1 processor in the 13-inch MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini last fall, and it added the chip to its 21-inch iMac in May. Still, the company continues to sell several Mac models that only come with Intel processors, including the 16-inch MacBook Pro, the 27-inch iMac, and the Mac Pro desktop. The company said in June of last year that it plans to finish migrating to its own chips “in about two years.”

In the meantime, Apple hasn’t committed to a specific time frame for supporting Intel-based Macs with software updates. Now that it’s withholding new features from those machines, buying one seems riskier than ever.