If you’re an Apple user, you may have heard of ‘Big Sur’ before. But what is Big Sur on MacOS, exactly? Click here to learn!
In June, Apple made a big announcement. It’s ending the OS X era, which started in the early 2000s. Apple will soon be introducing Big Sur.
What is Big Sur? It’s the first version of macOS 11. While it’s not slated for an official release yet, Apple developers are hard at work on it.
What changes can you expect with Big Sur? This complete guide will get you up to speed on what to expect from the future.
What is Big Sur Going to be Like?
As mentioned, Big Sur will be the first version of macOS 11. From the early 2000s, Apple has been working on what’s known as OS X. Over the years, there have been many different versions of OS X, from the “big cat” versions to Catalina.
Catalina made some major changes to OS X, which will likely be reflected in Big Sur. You can expect that macOS 11 will continue to be 64-bit only. Catalina ended support for all 32-bit programs.
What else can Mac users expect with Big Sur though? Upgrading between versions of OS X has often introduced plenty of changes. What will moving from OS X to macOS 11 look like?
Big Sur is currently in beta, so it’s unknown what the official release will look like. In the meantime, beta users have had a sneak peek at the new operating system. So far, it includes:
- A redesigned and upgraded Safari web browser
- A redesigned Messages app
- An upgrade for Apple Maps
- Widgets arrive on the home screen
- iOS app availability
It looks like Apple is returning to its roots by ensuring its software integrates with its hardware. Big Sur seems designed to support the company’s move away from Intel chips, to its own ARM chips.
Some of these changes also reflect the deepening connection between iOS and macOS. Catalina improved functionality across devices, allowing users to use an iPad as a second screen. The arrival of widgets and iOS apps continues this trend.
If you buy one of the upcoming ARM-based Macs, your computer will be able to natively run iOS apps with Big Sur.
Upgrades to Apple’s Stable of Software
Safari, Apple Maps, and Messages are among the apps getting an overhaul in Big Sur. Apple’s suggested that, for some of these apps, it’s the biggest redesign they’ve had in almost 20 years.
Safari’s upgrade includes better privacy settings, as well as improved tab management. The upgrades also give it the ability to load your favorite websites even faster. Safari will even be able to translate webpages for you with a click of a button.
A new feature will be extensions, which you can add from the app store. This will give Safari extra capabilities, to help customize your web experience.
Messages is taking cues from iOS 14, allowing you to pin conversations. It also improves group messages and the search function. Finally, you’ll have more options for customizing Memoji and message effects.
Apple Maps is getting a well-deserved upgrade. Big Sur’s revamped version promises more options to explore new places and share your discoveries. Indoor maps of major airport and shopping centers, Guides, and more will help you navigate.
Maps will also include routes for electric vehicles and scooters. You’ll also be able to get a 360-degree view of your destination, letting you see the big picture.
Finally, widgets arrive on the homescreen. This means you don’t need to open Calculator or Calendar to check the date. The information will be displayed on your homescreen and update itself in real time.
What else is in Big Sur on Mac? The doc and app interfaces have received a design overhaul to help put content front and center.
A new Control Center will give you access to features you use most often, like Bluetooth and WiFi connections. It also introduces new controls for playing music and more. An upgraded notification center helps you organize information from various apps.
The App Store is getting an upgrade to its privacy information. The goal is to provide more transparency for users before they download an app.
Other updates, like new sounds and icons, abound in Big Sur on Mac. The Music app has a similar appearance to iOS 14, among others. The battery icon has also received a redesign.
Big Sur will also feature some forward-thinking hardware compatibility. It will support device switching between AirPods, for example.
How to Get Big Sur on Mac
Big Sur doesn’t have an official release date just yet, but it is available for beta now. Your big question now is if your machine will run Big Sur.
Most machines newer than 2013 are compatible with Big Sur. Macbook users and iMac Pro users will need newer machines, from 2015 and 2017 or newer.
Of course, compatibility will depend on your specific system. You can always check to see if your machine is compatible with macOS 11.
If you want to test Big Sur out before the official release, then you can download and install the beta from Apple.
Should You Upgrade to Big Sur?
You might be wondering if it’s worth upgrading to Big Sur right now. Many people recommend waiting a little while to upgrade, especially for an OS with big changes like Big Sur or Catalina.
Upgraded versions of macOS are usually a little buggy to start. If you want your computer to run perfectly, you might want to stick with OS X for the time being.
If you don’t mind the occasional issue or troubleshooting, then it could be a great time to get started with Big Sur. If you’re already an iPhone or iPad user, then it might make perfect sense to upgrade early.
More Big Sur News to Come
You asked, “What is Big Sur?” and now you know. Big Sur is ushering in a new era of macOS, and it’s already looking promising.
Want to stay on top of the latest news about Mac and macOS 11? You’re in the right place! Check in with us for more coverage of Big Sur and all things Apple.