The Verge is among those with new reviews fo Apple’s macOS Big Sur, the latest version of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system, now available to Mac users as a free software update.
Big Sur introduces a beautiful redesign and is packed with new enhancements for key apps including Safari, Messages, and Maps, as well as new privacy features. And Big Sur has been engineered, down to its core, to take full advantage of all the power of the M1 chip to make the macOS experience even better for the new 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini. The combination of Big Sur and M1 truly takes the Mac to a whole new level with incredible capabilities, efficiency, and more apps than ever before, while maintaining everything users love about macOS.
Should you update? My advice is usually to wait a few weeks and let early adopters report all the problems, especially with your primary work device. In this case, though, I would actually feel okay updating today. I’ve been using the operating system on a 2019 MacBook Pro 13 for the past several weeks. Apple really seems to have ironed out the numerous bugs that popped up during the surprisingly rough beta period, and the final release is quite stable without any major problems.
heThe headline feature is the redesign. The whole OS has a new look, which Apple says is its biggest design update to its desktop operating system since the debut of OS X. The company has made a number of tweaks that will sound small on paper but add up to an aesthetic that’s friendlier, more modern, and much closer to iOS.
Of course, the biggest advantages of macOS Big Sur will be seen on Apple’s new Arm-based Macs. Apple emphasized that Big Sur is optimized for its own processors, and it says you’ll see this compatibility reflected everywhere from performance to battery life.
In particular, the OS comes with an emulation layer called Rosetta 2, which will ensure that apps created for Intel machines work on Arm Macs until developers can port them over. You don’t interact with Rosetta 2. If it’s working correctly, you’ll have no idea that it’s there. If you want to know how well Rosetta 2 works on Arm systems, keep an eye out for our reviews of the new MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini.
MacDailyNews Take: macOS Big Sur is new, but also instantly familiar, especially to those of us who also use iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Apple TVs.