Get ready for Apple’s macOS Big Sur release today

Apple today will release macOS Big Sur, the latest version of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system. macOS Big Sur introduces a beautiful redesign that is entirely new yet instantly familiar. Safari is packed with new features, including a customizable start page, elegantly designed and more powerful tabs, quick and easy translation, and a new Privacy Report. The updated Messages app lets Mac users send and receive more personal and expressive messages, and easily keep track of and interact within group messages. Maps also offers an all-new experience with immersive features for exploring and navigating the world.

macOS Big Sur, unveiled at WWDC20, introduces a beautiful redesign and new features in Safari, Messages, and Maps.
macOS Big Sur, unveiled at WWDC20, introduces a beautiful redesign and new features in Safari, Messages, and Maps.

“macOS Big Sur is a major update that advances the legendary combination of the power of UNIX with the ease of use of the Mac, and delivers our biggest update to design in more than a decade,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, in a statement. “With its modern and clean look, huge improvements to key apps including Safari, Messages, and Maps, and new privacy features, we think everyone is going to love the breakthrough experience that macOS Big Sur offers.”

macOS Big Sur delivers a spacious new design that makes navigation easier, while putting more controls at users’ fingertips.
macOS Big Sur delivers a spacious new design that makes navigation easier, while putting more controls at users’ fingertips.

Biggest Design Upgrade Since the Introduction of Mac OS X

macOS Big Sur delivers a spacious new design that makes navigation easier, while putting more controls at users’ fingertips. Everything from the curvature of window corners to the palette of colors and materials has been refined, and new features provide even more information and power. Icons in the Dock have been thoughtfully designed to be more consistent with icons across the Apple ecosystem while retaining their Mac personality. Buttons and controls appear when needed, and recede when they’re not. The entire experience feels more focused, fresh, and familiar, reducing visual complexity and bringing users’ content front and center.

The customizable menu bar features an all-new Control Center, delivering quick access to controls from the desktop. An updated Notification Center includes more interactive notifications and redesigned widgets that come in different sizes, providing users with more relevant information at a glance. And a new design for core apps brings more organization to multiple open windows and makes interacting with apps even easier.

The new Dock in macOS Big Sur features icons thoughtfully designed to be more consistent with icons across the Apple ecosystem.
The new Dock in macOS Big Sur features icons thoughtfully designed to be more consistent with icons across the Apple ecosystem.
The all-new Control Center in macOS Big Sur delivers quick access to controls right from the desktop.
The all-new Control Center in macOS Big Sur delivers quick access to controls right from the desktop.
An updated Notification Center in macOS Big Sur includes more interactive notifications and redesigned widgets, providing users with more relevant information at a glance.
An updated Notification Center in macOS Big Sur includes more interactive notifications and redesigned widgets, providing users with more relevant information at a glance.

A Faster, More Personal, Privacy-First Safari Experience

In the biggest update to Safari since its original launch in 2003, the world’s fastest browser is even faster, providing industry-leading speed1 and battery life. Safari’s fast JavaScript engine helps it outperform other browsers on Mac and PC, and Safari loads frequently visited sites an average of 50 percent faster than Chrome. Tabs have been entirely redesigned to make navigating with Safari faster and more powerful by showing more tabs onscreen, displaying favicons by default to easily identify open tabs, and giving users a quick preview of a page by simply hovering over the tab.

New features in Safari let users customize their experience with background images and content sections on the home page.
New features in Safari let users customize their experience with background images and content sections on the home page.
Tabs in Safari have been redesigned to display more tabs onscreen, show favicons by default, and provide a preview of a webpage by hovering over the tab.
Tabs in Safari have been redesigned to display more tabs onscreen, show favicons by default, and provide a preview of a webpage by hovering over the tab.

Safari brings new features for greater personalization while browsing the web. Users can customize the new start page with a background image and sections like their Reading List and iCloud Tabs. With built-in translation, Safari can detect and translate entire webpages from seven languages with just a click.3 Users can further personalize their experience with improved support for extensions, and the Mac App Store makes it easy to discover and download great Safari extensions with a new category that includes editorial spotlights and top charts.

Privacy has always been built into Safari, and a new Privacy Report delivers added visibility into how Safari protects browsing activity across the web. Users can choose when and which websites a Safari extension can work with, and tools like data breach password monitoring never reveal your password information — not even to Apple.

A new Privacy Report in Safari delivers added visibility into how Safari protects browsing activity across the web.
A new Privacy Report in Safari delivers added visibility into how Safari protects browsing activity across the web.

Powerful and Expressive Messages

Messages on the Mac includes new tools to better manage important conversations and share expressive messages. Users can now pin their favorite conversations to the top of their messages list for fast access, and search has been entirely redesigned — organizing results into links, photos, and matching terms — to help users quickly find what they are looking for.

Message effects let users add personality to their messages with balloons, confetti, and more. Users can now create and customize their Memoji on the Mac, and express themselves with Memoji stickers to match their mood and personality. And with a new photo picker and #images, it’s easy to quickly share images, GIFs, and videos.

New group messaging features streamline interactions with family, friends, and colleagues. Inline replies enable users to respond directly to a message, and now they can direct a message to an individual in a group conversation by simply typing their name. And users can now set a photo or an emoji for their group conversation that’s shared with all members of the group.

With macOS Big Sur, users can now create and customize their Memoji on the Mac, and express themselves with Memoji stickers to match their mood and personality.
With macOS Big Sur, users can now create and customize their Memoji on the Mac, and express themselves with Memoji stickers to match their mood and personality.
macOS Big Sur brings a new photo picker and #images to Messages, making it easy to quickly share images, GIFs, and videos.
macOS Big Sur brings a new photo picker and #images to Messages, making it easy to quickly share images, GIFs, and videos.
Users can now pin their favorite conversations in Messages at the top of the list for fast access.
Users can now pin their favorite conversations in Messages at the top of the list for fast access.

All-New Planning Tools with Maps

Completely redesigned for macOS Big Sur, Maps brings new features for exploring the world. Discover places to visit and things to do with Guides from trusted resources, or create custom guides of favorite restaurants, parks, and vacation spots that can be shared with friends and family. Get a 360-degree view of a destination with Look Around, and browse detailed indoor maps of major airports and shopping centers. Cycling and electric vehicle trips can now be routed on a Mac, and sent directly to iPhone to have when on the go.

Maps gets completely redesigned in macOS Big Sur, bringing new features like Guides from trusted resources to help users discover new places and things to do.
Maps gets completely redesigned in macOS Big Sur, bringing new features like Guides from trusted resources to help users discover new places and things to do.

Industry-Leading Privacy

Privacy is at the core of the Mac experience, and macOS Big Sur offers users even more transparency and control over their data. Inspired by the convenience and readability of food nutrition labels, new privacy information detailed in the Mac App Store will help users understand the privacy practices of apps before downloading them, including the types of data the apps might collect — such as usage, contact information, or location — and whether that data is shared with third parties for tracking.

World-Class Developer Tools

Apple’s developer community of more than 20 million use the Mac to create amazing experiences for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Xcode 12 makes developing great apps for macOS easier than ever. SwiftUI gets a major upgrade so that developers can write entire apps with shared code across all Apple platforms, while easily adding custom Mac features like Preferences windows. And SwiftUI is used in even more places, powering the new widgets for Mac, iPhone, and iPad using shared Swift code.

Mac Catalyst, which debuted with macOS Catalina last year, has made it easy for developers to bring their iPad apps to the Mac. And in macOS Big Sur, Mac Catalyst apps automatically inherit the new look, while giving developers powerful new APIs and total control over the look and behavior of their apps.
Developers can now also offer Family Sharing for their in-app purchases and subscriptions, and with support for the WebExtensions API, developers can easily bring extensions built for other browsers over to Safari.

Availability

macOS Big Sur will be available later today as a free software update. For more information, including compatible Mac models, visit apple.com/macos/big-sur-preview. Features are subject to change. Some features may not be available in all regions or languages.

MacDailyNews Take: The redesign really does seem new, yet instantly familiar!

Don’t forget to BACKUP BEFORE UPGRADING to macOS Big Sur (or any major operating system release).

Yes, we’re soothsayers:

Think code convergence (more so than today) with UI modifications per device. A unified underlying codebase for Intel, Apple A-series, and, in Apple’s labs, likely other chips, too (just in case). This would allow for a single App Store for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users that features a mix of apps: Some that are touch-only, some that are Mac-only, and some that are universal (can run on both traditional notebooks and desktops as well as on multi-touch computers like iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and – pretty please, Apple – Apple TV). Don’t be surprised to see Apple A-series-powered Macs, either.MacDailyNews Take, January 9, 2014

5 Comments

  1. My late-2013 2017 iMac 3.5 Ghz i7 quad-core with 32GB RAM and 2 TB SSD and 4GB VRAM didn’t make the cut for the upgrade. I wondered why, as the specs are better than many 2014 Macs. As far as I can tell, the reason is the GPU (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4 GB). It seems this GPU doesn’t have all that is needed for the graphics processing in Big Sur. Oh well… Fingers crossed I will be able to move to a new M1 Mac at some point.

  2. I’ve had the beta on my MacBook for a couple months and had zero issues across-the-board — zero. It’s an incredible update – way more useful features than previous versions.

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