Is Apple's macOS Monterey 12.3 beta haunted?

The developer beta of macOS Monterey 12.3 is getting a fair share of complaints from users who say the update is playing havoc with their computers, external monitors and gaming controllers.

macOS 12.3

Soon after Apple released its macOS Monterey 12.3 developer beta earlier this month, a growing chorus of users on web forums began reporting problems ranging from failed external monitor connections to Macs being bricked to game controller issues.

The user posts were spread out among Apple Support, Mac Developer, and MacRumors forums.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment by Computerworld.

Apple released the developer beta on March 2; it's a notable update because it includes the widely anticipated  Universal Control. Universal Control allows a user to turn an iPad into a companion display for a Mac that can be controlled with the same keyboard and mouse. (Both the 12.3 public beta and the iOS 15.4 public beta have to be installed on a Mac and iPad respectively.) For some, the new feature isn’t working with external monitors.

On the MacRumors’ Forum, one user wrote: “2nd display is connected to HDMI and it will not work? Happened on reboot after beta install.”

On Apple’s Developer Forum, a user posted the topic heading: “Controller not working in macOS 12.3.”

“I tried to connect my xbox controller to my MacBook, even though the controller is registered in bluetooth setting, but it doesn't function at all,” the user wrote. “[Has] anyone met the same problem and if there's a fix for this problem.” More than a half dozen other users echoed the same problem in responses.

Also on the Apple Developer Forum, a user posted under the topic “Monterey Beta Bricking 16-inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro,” and explained that after sending his computer in for repairs, he tried to restore data using a Time Machine backup. He was prompted to update to the Monterey beta, which promptly bricked his machine.

Other posters wrote about similar experiences.

“It's happened to me, too,” one user responded. “I updated to Monterey 12.3 beta 3 and it bricked my laptop. My own attempts at revive/recover via Apple Configurator 2 failed.”

Other users posting in various Apple Support and MacRumors forums said that external displays using a USB-C cable were no longer detected by Macs

Under the heading, “USB ports, camera and sound on monitor not working on Monterey,” a user wrote: “I have tried HDMI and same issue. The odd occasion it will display a picture but once I shutdown or restart the mac mini it does not display a picture. The mac is booting up. I have had to resort to connecting it to my old TV with HDMI connection.”

Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates, said beta users shouldn't be surprised by issues that crop up.

"...It’s not uncommon to run into peripheral problems with beta OS versions – both on Apple and even on Windows at times," Gold said. "While it’s a pain in the rear to have them when you update your system, it’s also a warning that it’s a beta, and not a production version. Anyone downloading and running a beta needs to understand there are no guarantees.

"These things usually get sorted out in the final version, but often vendors will release betas not so much to test every little thing in them, but to check out some of the major updates and changes," Gold said." The driver issues are relatively minor comparatively and get fixed in the final release."

Users on the forums did offer fixes they'd discovered by, for example, adjusting user settings. One fix involved lowering the DisplayPortVersion setting from the default v1.4 to v1.2.

"As soon as I've lowered the monitor's DisplayPortVersion, my Mac with OS X 12.3 has started recognizing the second display correctly. It seems that the new OS X update has issues with a DisplayPortVersion 1.4 protocol (has faster data rate, faster refresh, and stream compression)," the user wrote on the MacRumors Forum.

Apple's new Studio Display doesn't appear to be effected by the macOS Monterey 12.3 beta update, as there were no complaints involving it. That lead one user to quip, “Only Studio Displays are allowed from here on out.”


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