MacBook Pro 2021 users will finally be able to use Safari at 120Hz — but there's a catch

a photo of the MacBook Pro 2021 (14-inch)
(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

There is much to like about the MacBook Pro 2021, with one of its best features being its new 120Hz display. And using those slick screens is about to get even better.

The release notes for Safari Technology Preview Release 135 (via iMore) detail the addition of 120Hz support for scrolling animations. If you're a user of Apple's default browser, then you'll be able to enjoy the smoothness more effectively from now on.

Apple introduced 120Hz ProMotion displays with the latest MacBook Pro screens, so these changes seem to be made with the new laptops in mind. While Apple's Pro Display XDR maxes out at 60Hz, there are plenty of third-party 120Hz monitors available, so you should be able to take advantage of these MacBooks' support for up to three extra monitors and spread the Safari smoothness across your whole setup.

However, despite having now introduced 120Hz MacBook hardware, Apple hasn't fully converted macOS Monterey to work at the new higher refresh rate. It seems to have been left up to app developers, including those under the Apple umbrella, to convert their apps to work above the default 60Hz. This has resulted in an inconsistent experience for owners of these thousand-dollar-plus laptops.

Additional inconsistency was discovered by one user Moshen Chan, who tweeted that they noticed that 120Hz wasn't available on all websites in Safari, and found that it only works on websites with the "Smooth Scroll" effect enabled in its code.

The Technology Preview Release is a separate browser to the public version of Safari that's not intended for use by the average user. If you're a Mac developer or are particularly curious then by all means give it a go, but we recommend most users wait for the stable update to Safari to give it a try.

That may not be an issue for some potential users as MacBook Pro delays are pretty bad right now. Demand for the new laptops has been so high that it may be a month or two until you finally get your hands on Apple's new laptops.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.