It’s that time Again of the year – a major new update has come for MacOS, Apple’s desktop operating system for its Mac. For many years, Apple has been naming its annual software release after locations in California, and this year we’ve been treated to Big Sur. If you want to be technical, this is macOS 11.
You get a new look, widgets and a whole lot more. Before we dive into some of the top new features, here’s how to install it.
How to download and install Big Sur
Before downloading anything, your first step is to backup your Mac. You can never know what could happen! If you have an external storage drive, or you have enough space, you can use iCloud. This support page walks you both ways.
If you have a Mac from 2013 or newer, there is a good chance that your device is compatible with macOS 11 Big Sur. Here is the exact list directly from the horse’s mouth:
- MacBook (2015 or later)
- MacBook Air (2013 or later)
- MacBook Pro (late 2013 or later)
- Mac Mini (2014 or later)
- iMac (2014 or later)
- iMac Pro (2017 or later)
- Mac Pro (2013 or later)
If you’re unsure about your model, click the Apple icon on the upper-left corner of your Mac’s screen About this mac. Apple has a more in-depth guide to finding your specific Mac to see if it is supported.
You’ll need to run OS X 10.9 or later, and you’ll need 4GB of memory plus 35.5 gigabytes of unused storage. Big Sur update is about 12 gigs. When you’re not in a hurry to use your Mac, you should install it, as the whole process can take about an hour.
To update, click on the Apple icon in the top left, then select System Preferences> Software Update> Upgrade Now. From there, just Macs do their thing. Now, on to the good.
A fresh look
You’ll notice first that everything looks different … different. Big Sur is not a substantial visual overhaul, but there are small design tweaks that make the interface a bit more Ipad-esque. Corners, whether you’re looking at apps or dock, are rounded up. The app icon is a square shape instead of round. Colors are bolder, grays are darker, and various icons and menus have been narrowed to take up less room (you find them). Overall, the entire operating system looks close to a mobile OS and is a big deal. modern.
A control center, plus widget!