Apple introduced a new mac operating system- macOS Big Sur in WWDC 2020. Apple launched the WWDC 2020 on June 22, 2020. And, it was a digital-only event without any social gathering. Usually, WWDC the Worldwide Developer Conference takes place in San Jose, California. due to the increasing rate of COVID-19. Apple preview lots of iOS updates here, which you can see in their upcoming devices.
macOS 11 Big Sur: The Origin of A New macOS
It is a long-rumored successor to its previous version- mac OS X also known as mac OS 10. And it is known as one of the popular and stable OS of Apple. The new mac OS Big Sur was one of the biggest announcement of the WWDC, especially for desktop users. And finally, Apple is moving on from macOS 10.x code to the new macOS 11.0 base after almost 20 years.
“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.
The new mac OS is bringing more than numerical change. It comes with a refined user interface, a new and significant design, 3D Icons, and customizable menu bars.
Apple has increased the updating speed of macOS 11 a lot more than its predecessor. You can run it in the background and it’ll download and update the whole system automatically and faster than before.
Moreover, Apple made a couple of drastic changes and also launched some of the important updates in existing applications. However, it will give you a refreshed yet familiar look at the same time.
Let’s take a deep dive and talk about all these new features, one by one.
Don’t Miss – A Detailed Guide on How to Download and Install macOS 11 Big Sur
What is the Release Date of macOS 11 Big Sur?
Now the chances are you’ve already enticed with the preview of macOS Big Sur. And you want to try it right now. Well, if you’ve been waiting since its preview page, here is a piece of good news for you. Apple launched the Big Sur on 12 November. And you can easily upgrade your mac version from Apple’s macOS Big Sur official page.
We checked Apple’s previous records of software release. And we noticed that Apple usually follows a certain pace to release the software updates. From the past 20 software updates, Apple released the new macOS in the months of October and September for 6 times (each).
And, most of the time, Apple released the new macOS near or after the launching of a new iPhone. Although, due to COVID-19, things are happening kind of different in 2020. Still, Apple managed to launch the iPhone 12 on October 13. And it was the same as we expected. Although, I said late October or starting of November.
Moreover, Apple released a developer program named Universal App Quick Start Program which costs you $500. And this program allows you to test the beta version of macOS Big Sur. All you have to do is submit a brief application for the Universal App Quick Start Program through this link. After that, the company will select the developers who are qualified. Although, Apple is giving priority to developers with an existing macOS application.
The selected developers will get access to a Mac Developer Transition Kit with Apple Silicon. Also full access to the beta version of macOS Big Sur to test it and to create universal apps for new upcoming Macs.
The beta version comes with lots of bugs and security risks. That’s why it wasn’t open to the public. But we consider it as an option too. However, You must read the eligibility criteria and terms and conditions carefully before proceeding further.
Updated Design of macOS 11 Big Sur
1. Toolbar, sidebars, and Menubars
Apple has made a lot of significant changes in the new design of macOS Big Sur. Since mac OS 10, Apple didn’t make any drastic changes in its operating system.
Toolbars and sidebars got a redesigned version. The enhanced way of blending with each window gives it a better look. You’ll see separated buttons of the toolbars at the top of the apps. It provides a sleek, simple, and non-frustration look.
It seems like the company focusing on improving its user’s productivity with an artistic touch as Alan Dye, VP Human Interface said, during the WWDC20 keynote.
“Depth, shading, and translucency are used to create hierarchy.”
However, this is a redesigned look but it still gives you a familiar feel of the previous macOS.
Apple has reformed the icons for almost all of its native apps into a uniform and round–edged squircle design. Some of the publications have mentioned that Apple is executing the approach that windows already using with its icons.
New symbols have added in macOS Big Sur in toolbars and sidebars. Also, you’ll find new controls that will make the icons stand out and tell you what you’ll find in a specific app. Applications with common tasks show the same symbol to increase productivity without any confusion.
You’ll see the updated version of the dock in macOS Big Sur. And, you’ll find all refreshed versions of widgets and apps in it. You will find the look of the Dock more translucent and cleaner than its previous version. And Apple also redesigned it to make it perfectly blend with the desktop.
The menu bar at the top of the display is now semi-transparent. Now it doesn’t look odd as compared to the display screen and also thoroughly blend with it. It will come with the auto-hide feature and not cover the extra space when not in use, much like the toolbar in windows and the newly updated dock. More spacing lines have been added in the pull-down menus which gives you better readability than its previous version.
Moreover, Apple redesigned the dropdowns and menu bar icons. The battery icon comes with extra details such as the percentage of battery, how many hours it will run, or which app is consuming the more battery life.
“Optimizing Battery Charging feature” has also added in macOS Big Sur as we first saw in macOS Catalina. This feature helps MacBook for prolonging battery life by making some technical changes.
2. Control Center and Notification Center
The new Control Center is also added to the new menu bar. It provides some quick navigation controls with features and widgets we use most such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, volume, Keyboard, and overall display brightness. Also, you’ll be able to control toggles like Nightshift, Do Not Disturb, and True Tone from it.
Moreover, Apple made it more customizable than before. You can choose the features and toggles to show up when you open it according to your work type and pace. You can also add your favorite app on the top by dragging and pinning it on the screen.
The updated Notification Center of macOS Big Sur will show the incoming notifications and widgets in a single view. That will help a user to be updated with their daily tasks and important messages with a glimpse.
Plus Apple added some productive and essential features in the notification center. You don’t have to open an app to do a particular task such as a reply to a message or playing the next video/podcast. All you have to do is click and hold the notification. And it will show the options that you can access through the drop-down menu.
Widgets in the new macOS look like the widgets you saw in the new iOS 14. You will be able to customize them in three sizes and set them up in the widgets screen according to your needs.
New widgets have been added to the notification center such as Notes, Screen Time, and Podcasts, etc. Users can also download and install the third party widgets from the Mac App Store.
The new updated Safari in macOS Big Sur will be more powerful and power-efficient than its previous version. The loading speed will be faster than Chrome at the 50 percent rate.
There would be few new customization settings that will surprise you. The new start page will come with customization options such as Siri suggestions, iCloud Tabs, add Favorites, Frequently visited Sites, and a Privacy Report feature.
Also, it would be an easy task if you want to switch Chrome browser with Safari, even if you’ve saved a lot of websites and passwords in the previous browser. In short, history, bookmarks, and saved passwords can easily be imported from Chrome to Safari.
The redesigned version of Safari will show more visible tabs than before. Also, the hover and tab icon features will allow you to see the preview of a page with a glimpse.
The updated safari in macOS Big Sur supports HDR videos, 4K HDR, and Dolby Vision content for popular streaming services like Netflix. However, only Mac owners with a 2018 version mac and later will be able to access this feature.
Also, Safari will come with a new feature named Privacy report. It will provide a list of all trackers that were blocked, trackers of the websites you visit, or trackers that want to access some information through your online activity. Also the list of trackers you blocked in the last 30 days.
Moreover, Apple has included the WebExtensions API support in the new Mac store app. As a result, developers will be now able to convert the coding of the extension from the browser like Chrome and Firefox to run it into the Safari.
As a result, users will be able to run Chrome and Firefox extensions in Safari. Also, there will be some security restrictions to an extension. You can add the websites which you want to use through a particular extension. And you will get a warning sign whenever an extension will try to access the page you haven’t added on the list.
All the passwords will be saved in the iCloud keychain and Safari will monitor all activities related to your passwords. It will give you peace of mind as it will keep a strict eye on the activity to prevent you from data preach.
And if Safari notices something suspicious, it will immediately send a report to its user to take quick action. However, Safari works with an intelligent tracking prevention feature that sends you weekly privacy-report data to make sure everything is running ok or not?
Also, Safari will come with a built-in web translator. It will be able to translate content in seven different languages with just a click. It means you don’t have to install a third party translator extension to read an entire article in a different language.
These are the 8 languages that work with this Built-in translation well:-
The new Safari version is more power-efficient than before. It’ll be able to do different customization options according to the user usability to make it secure, less power consuming and more productive, even if the user is using it only to stream Netflix.
Messages in the new macOS became convenient and more human friendly. It is now a Mac catalyst app that also launched with some of the new features you saw in Imessages of iOS 14.
You can now pin the most important conversion on the top in the group or a single person chat. Users can pin up to 9 conversations which will be shown up in circular icons on the top of the messages.
New typing indicators will let you know if someone is typing right now. There will be inline replies which will help you to make your message stand out for a particular person without creating any confusion, especially in a group chat.
Also, you can send an urgent message to only a particular person by placing an @ before the user’s name.
You’ll find a new Memoji editor in Messages in which you can create a customized avatar, Memoji, or emoji. Also, you can customize group chats with all of them.
A new photos picker by Memoji stickers in the Messages app will be here to find the trending images, GIFs, and Message effects as you have seen in iOS years ago. New message effects have been added such as laser, balloons, and confetti. Also, users will be able to create custom effects to apply on chat bubbles.
Apple has upgraded lots of Maps features in the upcoming macOS Big Sur. Plus like Messages, there will be new functionalities you saw on iOS 14.
New Guides have been added and lots of trusted brands made a partnership with this feature. It will improve the suggestions list by presenting more availabilities of places to eat, shop, and explore a new city. Users will be able to create a customized list such as “Best Chinese Restaurant near me“.
Plus they can easily share these lists with their family members and friends.
Users will be able to plan a cycle trip by arranging the cycling directions accordingly on their Mac. After that, they can send these planned directions on their iPhones.
More Directions options have been added such as showing the busy roads, stairs, account elevation, etc. You can also look for electric vehicle charging stations on the way if you own one.
Look Around feature of the new Maps will let you explore cities, in a detailed way by using the street-level view. Also, the indoor maps allow you to see inside the Mall, airports, and places such as museums. You can save a lot of time by checking the overall view of the place you’re going to visit.
After allowing to share ETAs in Google Maps, Apple finally enabling this feature in the native Maps too. Users can now see and share the ETAs in the maps too.
ETA- Estimating Arrival Time which helps you to follow along with the progress of someone. And it will definitely help you to know how much time you have to wait for someone.
More detailed maps will be added in Canada, Ireland, and the UK in the upcoming future.
Extra Features of macOS Big Sur
New Homekit Secure video cameras support Face Recognition and Activity Zones in the Home app now. It will also tell you who is on the detected video by recognizing them from their added names in the Photos app.
New Homekit connected smart lights change the colors throughout the day. It’s just a new adoptive lighting feature named Night Shift for light bulbs. The bulb will change the color temperature according to the day and minimize the blue light at night.
The newly redesigned toolbar interface only show you what is more important and things that need urgent attention like new updates or low battery indication.
There would be a new feature named Spotlight in Finder. It helps you to find a particular document faster and without any frustration. The search results you’ll see in the Spotlight are more organized and simplified as compare to its previous version.
Also, you’ll be able to see full-size previews of almost any document with the help of the Quick Look feature of the Spotlight. Users will also able to do a quick edit task such as cropping through a website and app without launching it. The spotlight will also allow you to add the find menu in apps like Safari, Pages, Keynote, etc.
3. App Store
Apple also added some surprisingly new features to its App Store and Mac Store. “Nutritional Label” in macOS Big Sur will show the information and the data an application has collected. And is this application using this data to track you or your other apps and websites? That feature can help you to decide which application you should download or which you should not?
Deeper Game Center integration in Apple Arcade will show you the games by different sort-by settings such as popular games, games with milestones. Also, you will see your achievements in the game with the Game Center profile.
Now you can see the recently played games in the Apple Arcade tab. Also In the Apple Arcade section of the App Store will show a sneak peek of upcoming games.
Moreover, the App developers got success to do make in-app purchases. And now users will be able to share the subscription app features among their friends and family members.
4. Apple Music
Apple music’s search will show you music albums and tracks from different genres or categories such as “POP Love” or “Romantic 101“. This feature will help you to find music according to your mood and your personalized music taste.
The “For You” section has renamed to “Listen Now“. In this section, you’ll find newly released albums and tracks, and songs based on what you listened to previously. In short, we can say it’s similar to the previous one but with the content with more personalization.
The improved version of the retouching tool has added to the Photos app. You can use this tool to remove unwanted details or to make corrections in your photos.
New filters and portrait Lighting effects also be here to give your photos the customized look you want. The same tools will be available to you while you edit the videos.
Users can add text to images by a new feature named description (renamed to “Captions” now). This can help to manage or organize your photos better.
In macOS Big Sur, you don’t have to manually switch between paired devices. Airpods in new macOS will do this automatically. However, these paired devices should be connected to the same iCloud account.
So while watching a video on your mac Airpods automatically swap over to your iPhone when you receive a call on it.
7. Notes and Reminders
The search section of “Notes” supports a new menu named “Top Hits“. This section shows you the suggestions that might be relevant to you.
The new scanner with continuity camera scans better and sharper than before. Also, it supports the autocropping feature for the irrelevant background. The new pinned notes section can be closed and expand in a glimpse. Also, a new quick style feature, text styles, and formatting options have been added to it.
New and smart suggestions in Reminders will be shown according to your previous activity. Users will be able to create a personalized list by using emoji, and other organizational options. The search engine has been improved and new keyboard shortcuts have already added.
These features will help you to find a list, old reminder tasks or to customize them easily. Also, users can be assigned reminders to people who share lists.
The new weather widget will provide the details about upcoming grim weather events. Also, it will tell you the details about major temperature shifts on upcoming dates. And it will show the sudden weather changes in your city in upcoming hours such as snowfall, storm or heavy rain, etc.
Device Compatibility of macOS Big Sur
Apple appropriately tests the upgraded macOS in all of its previous devices. And after testing all these devices they announce an official list of all the supported devices. The company did the same with the new macOS Big Sur and here is the final supported devices list of it:-
- MacBook released in 2015 and after
- MacBook Air released in 2013 and after
- iMac released in late 2014 and after
- iMac Pro released in late 2017and after
- Mac Pro released in late 2013 and after
- Mac mini released in late 2014 and after
- MacBook Pro released in late 2013 and after
So, that was everything we know about the macOS: Big Sur. Apple surely made a lot of little changes and redesigned most of the parts of the display.
New icons with added shadows, depth give them a 3d look. Plus the toolbars with autohide feature and translucency effect gives the new mac a crystal-line transparent look that feels sleek and better than before.
Showing the notifications and widgets on a single panel seems a good idea to me. Also, replying to these without launching/opening the app is the cherry on the top.
Safari’s new built-in translator feature and weekly privacy support give a good duo of productivity and security.
Also, new features such as cycling directions in the Maps, inline reply in the Messages app, automatically device switching in Airpods, and other extra features in Homekit, Photos, and Apple music are much appreciative.
Apple definitely focusing on improving productivity by providing new content with design sleekness. As Craig Fredrighi Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering said the new macOS is a legendry combination of Power of the Unix and ease of the use of mac.
However, you can still test out the beta version of macOS Big Sur. Let us know in the comments if you’re going to try the beta version of it. Here is the link again and share this post with your Apple companion who is crazy excited about macOS Big Sur.