macOS Big Sur rolling out: Here’s all you need to know

Apple is now delivering the latest version of its macOS software, Big Sur, to eligible devices. Announced at WWDC 2020 in June, macOS Big Sur brings a ton of renovations to the UI including an updated menu bar, redesigned Dock with updated app icons, a better Control Centre and much more. In addition, Apple at its recent ‘One More Thing’ event also promised optimizations for M1 chip-powered new MacBooks that will not only make the laptops zippier but also offer features such as Universal Apps. The major update is now being rolled out and is available to Mac users. 

macOS Big Sur: How to Update

Updating is automatic usually as Apple pushes new OTA updates directly to its machines. Hence, it should appear as a notification. Alternatively, you can manually check for the macOS Big Sur update by going to System Preferences > Software Update. 

Note: As of this writing on November 14, many users have been facing slow/failed download issues with the new Big Sur update. Apple has acknowledged the problem and hence it is better to wait it out for some time till the issue gets ironed out. Also, it is advisable to keep your machine fully charged and backed up before you hit the update button.

macOS Big Sur: Compatible Apple Macs

Talking about compatibility first, here are the list of machines that will be able to download and utilize the update.

  • MacBook – 2015 and later models
  • MacBook Air – 2013 and later models
  • MacBook Pro – late 2013 and later models
  • Mac mini – 2014 and later models
  • iMac – 2014 and later models
  • iMac Pro – 2017 and later models
  • Mac Pro – 2013 and later models

macOS Big Sur: Key Features 

In terms of aesthetics and visuals, the UI has been tweaked to be more navigation-friendly while decreasing clutter and looking cleaner. Dock Icons also now appear more consistent with the overall look and feel of the UI. Several apps such as preloaded Messages, Maps, and Safari have been redesigned to be simpler. The new Control Center gives users quick access to controls for Do Not Disturb, displays, keyboard brightness, and offers more relevant at-a-glance information in the Notification Center, along with redesigned widgets. Specifically for India,  the new macOS update brings new fonts, with 20 new document fonts and upgrades to 18 existing fonts.

The Updated Safari 

Apple is touting the new browser build as “biggest update to Safari since its original launch in 2003”. The company says it is on an average 50 percent faster than Chrome. Especially with the M1 chip, Safari is now up to 1.5x speedier at running JavaScript and nearly 2x more responsive. More personalization options have such as a customizable start page, background images, Reading List, and iCloud Tabs have been added. Mac users will also be able to see more tabs and page previews. On the privacy front, Safari now offers comprehensive tools such as Privacy Report (preventing trackers), data breach password monitoring (safeguard passwords) which are great additions to an already great update.

Messages

Messages also has received some big features including the ability to pin conversations, create custom memoji and share, as well as faster sharing. The search feature has been remade to work faster to help users find links, photos or whatever they’re looking for.  The apps allows more freedom of personalized conversations with inline replies and users can simply type individual names in a group to converse with them. Photos or emojis can also be assigned to further personalize group messages.

Maps

Maps has also been built from the ground up. Features such as Guides and Look Around make it easier for people to navigate and find new places such as restaurants, parking areas, and vacation spots to explore. Also, cycling and electric vehicle trips can now be routed on a Mac and sent directly to iPhone.

With the new M1 chip, Apple unveiled Universal Apps that can run on Macs as well as they run on iOS devices. However, for existing Intel-based Macs, Apple has rolled out Rosetta 2 that will enable existing Intel x86-supporting apps not yet upgraded to Universal to run seamlessly on Macs with Apple silicon. 

 

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