Apple announced Big Sur – the next version of Mac OS at WWDC in July. Betas have been available for developers since then, and the public beta program is now open too, so brave early adopters can give Big Sur a try.
Big Sur is an interesting Mac OS update in a couple of ways. Most notably, the visual changes are quite pronounced, more so than in Apple’s recent yearly updates. Big Sur brings a much more iOS like aesthetic to the Mac, which can be a bit startling initially, but once you get used to it it’s a fun, vibrant interface to use, and generally has a clean, modern vibe.
There is a new Control Centre, much like the one in iOS, updated Notifications Centre, and updated design for Finder windows, save dialogs, menu bar and menus and the Dock.
Under the hood, Big Sur goes a lot further in allowing iOS apps to run on MacOS, and also lays further groundwork for Apples move to using their own processors, rather than Intel’s over the next couple of years.
Safari is faster and more battery efficient than ever in Big Sur and features enhanced privacy features to give you more control of browser tracking, an editable start page, and improved tab design.
The Messages app is now a direct port of the iOS version, and that means it now has all the features it was previously missing, compared to its equivalent on iOS. The Maps app has been similarly upgraded to mirror its iOS counterpart.
Note that like Catalina, the current version of Mac OS, Big Sur is 64 bit only. So if you use any older apps that are 32 bit, you might need to hold off until you find equivalent apps that will run under Big Sur.
Testing at Mac Aid has found Big Sur quite stable and most regularly used applications seems to work well. While you should never install beta software on your primary Mac, if you have a spare Mac around, and a taste for adventure, you can register for he public betas yourself and give it a try.
Big Sur should be released during Spring 2020.