Alongside the release of its ARM-based MacBooks, Apple has begun rolling out the latest version of its OS: macOS Big Sur, which is available for download now.
Similar to iOS 14, macOS Big Sur ushers in an refreshed look for the Macs, with a focus on tiles and widgets. This redesign delivers a more spacious look to make navigating your Mac easier. Everything from dock icons to window corners take on a more curved design, giving off a cleaner look.
All-new Notification Center and Control Center
With the new Notification Center, the Mac looks more organized, now akin to the iPhone’s and iPad’s notification shade. You can now group notifications together to reduce clutter. You’ll also see more relevant information at a glance in the new notification shade. To access, click on the date in the menu bar.
Meanwhile, the more intuitive Control Center gives you quick access to controls like Do Not Disturb, keyboard brightness, sound, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, and more. Found at the top-right side of the screen, the Control Center will also give you power over playing media.
The widgets, which will show up in the Notification Center, can be customized to your liking. You can add widgets so you can get a quick glimpse of info and details without needing to open other apps like Calendar, Reminders, and Weather. You can choose how big or small you want the widget and place them anywhere in the notification shade.
Safari gets a big boost in this update—it’s now faster and safer to use. Apple says this revamped browser will reveal page previews when hovering over tabs and display favicons by default for easy identification.
Now, the browser offers a more personalized experience, allowing you to customize the start page with a background image, add a Reading List, iCloud Tabs, and more. Beefing up privacy, Safari now comes with features like Privacy Report and data breach password monitoring.
Messaging on the Mac gets a number of improvements. You can now pin important conversations for quick access, and send expressive messages using balloons, confetti, and Memojis on the Mac.
Also, the app lets you send inline replies in group chats, allowing you to respond to a message directly.
Running iOS apps
Apple introduces a new feature exclusive to the new M1-equipped MacBooks: running iOS apps on the Mac. This is made possible by tech called Rosetta 2.
How to get macOS Big Sur
To download macOS Big Sur, follow these steps:
- Back up your Mac and make sure you have at least 4GB of memory and 35.5GB of storage available.
- Visit www.apple.com/macos/big-sur or go to System Preferences > Software Update and find macOS Big Sur. Then click Upgrade Now and wait for the download to finish.
The new OS will run on the following machines:
- MacBook – 2015 and later
- MacBook Air – 2013 and later
- MacBook Pro – late 2013 and later
- Mac Mini – 2014 and later
- iMac – 2014 and later
- iMac Pro – 2017 and later
- Mac Pro – 2013 and later