As announced at the Apple MacBook event on 10 November, the new macOS 11 Big Sur update started to roll out on Thursday. The new iteration of macOS is the first version of the operating system to support the new M1-powered Apple laptops and PC. The new macOS Big Sur brings a new design, enhancements to Safari, Messages, Maps, and privacy, and it has been optimized for Apple’s M1 chip. Here’s what is new on macOS 11, the devices it’s compatible with, and how you can download the update.
macOS Big Sur: Compatible devices
The new macOS 11 Big Sur is compatible with iMac 2014 and later, iMac Pro 2017 and later, Mac Pro 2013 and later, Mac Mini 2014 and later, MacBook Air 2013 and later, MacBook Pro Late 2013 and later, and MacBook 2015 and later.
macOS Big Sur: How to download and install
Apple usually rolls out macOS updates automatically. However, if you don’t see a prompt for the update, you can also download the update manually by heading to System Preferences > Software Update in the Apple menu.
Alternatively, you could open ‘About This Mac’ in the Apple menu and then tap the latest Software Update.
You can also download macOS Big Sur directly from the Mac App Store.
Currently, the dedicated macOS page on Apple’s website also had an ‘Update Now’ button on the top right that you can hit to download the update.
It is recommended to back up your data and free up some space before beginning the update process.
macOS Big Sur: What’s new?
Mac OS X Big Sur comes with a simpler design, new app icons, smoother animations, refreshed app design for all pre-installed apps. macOS Big Sur also has a new menu bar as well. The Mac will now also have a control center, like iPhones.
Messages on the macOS Big Sur offer new tools to manage favorite group conversations. You can pin conversations to the top of your Messages list, similar to iOS 14. The search feature has also been completely redesigned on Messages on Mac to help you quickly find links, photos, and matching terms. Messages for Mac also work seamlessly across iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, so conversations stay in sync.
Maps on Mac has also been entirely redesigned. It has a new feature called Guides that lets you discover places to visit and things to do and create custom guides of favorite restaurants and parks. You can also share these Guides with friends and family. Apple Maps on Mac now lets you see a 360-degree view of a destination.
Apple Maps now also have indoor maps of places like airports and shopping centers.
Cycling and electric vehicle trips can now also be routed on a Mac and sent directly to an iPhone.
Apple claims that Safari is now 50 percent faster than Google Chrome. Apple will let users decide what apps and websites can use extensions, how long they want to activate them for, among other controls. Safari also has redesigned tabs to show website previews and use tab space more efficiently.
Privacy is touted as a highlight of the macOS Big Sur. The Mac App Store will include a new section on each product page, showing a developer-reported summary of an app’s privacy practices. The information offered includes the types of data the apps might collect — such as contact information or location — and whether they are shared with third parties for tracking.