Apple previewed macOS Big Sur along with operating systems such as iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 last June. However, the release of this new desktop version came about two months after the others. The release of macOS 11, or macOS Big Sur, was a bit later than last years, considering Apple’s calendar this year, we cannot say that this is a delay. Because Apple had chosen November for the announcement of the innovations on the Mac platform in 2020. At the Apple event on November 10, Apple-designed MacBook Air with M1 processor, 13-inch MacBook Pro and Mac mini, along with the arrival of macOS Big Sur, were also announced. And the expected day has come, on November 12, the macOS Big Sur update was released on the Mac App Store. This macOS Big Sur review contains key innovations and comments. We recommend that you take a look at the review video.
Just like iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the list of devices that support macOS Big Sur is also quite large. MacBook released in 2015 and later, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro released in 2013 and later, Mac mini and iMac released in 2014 and later, Mac Pro released in 2013 and later, and iMac Pro released a few years ago can be upgraded to Apple’s latest desktop operating system version. .
macOS Big Sur review: Brand new design and Control Center
The biggest innovation brought by macOS Big Sur is on the visual side. Over the past few years, Apple has been making strides in bringing iPads and Mac computers closer together. Big Sur contains the biggest steps taken in this direction. Visual design is going through a comprehensive innovation, a brand new desktop view awaits users. We’re seeing these changes, from the wallpaper to the menu bar and the dock.
In previous versions of macOS, Apple used a photo it chose from the place that gave the version its name. This time, we are witnessing the preference of colorful wallpapers as in iOS and iPadOS. A semi-transparent background is used in the menu bar and dock sections as in mobile operating systems. With this look, the operating system becomes simpler and more attractive. Not only the translucent appearance of the dock, but also its geometric shape are likened to the mobile side. There is a rectangular dock with curved corners. The application icons we see on the dock also adopt the style of iPhone and iPad. It has a more streamlined and consistent dock look than before. We anticipate that as time goes on, third-party apps will adopt this new app icon look. In addition, developers who will carry iPad applications directly to computers with M1 processors will not need to do a separate design work for the application icon.
The menu bar also has a translucent background as well as font and icon style changes. Thanks to these, an appearance similar to the status bar at the top of the screen on iPhone and iPad is obtained. Speaking of the status bar, with macOS Big Sur, Control Center, which has been on iPhone and iPad for a long time, also comes to Mac computers. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, audio, etc., easily accessible in the menu bar. You may think how necessary Control Center is when there are controls. However, in some cases, the menu bar can be filled with too many icons, especially when working with a lower screen scale. This causes some of the icons to disappear. With Control Center, you can move the connection settings here and use the space in the menu bar more efficiently. You can define and customize the controls that will take place in the Control Center from the Dock and Menu Bar section under System Preferences. If you wish, you can drag a control in Control Center to move it to the menu bar. Within the Control Center, we see components that control the media playing as well as connectivity, screen sharing, brightness and volume controls.
There are also some changes within System Preferences. For example, we see that the battery settings have been improved a little more, there are no settings for only power or battery use. As with iPhone and iPad, the battery usage in the last 24 hours or the last 10 days is shown in graphs. The Notification Center also appears with a new and slightly more iPad-like appearance. Notifications of the same application are grouped in chunks. This makes the notification center look more organized. We see the new generation toolkits that come with iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 in macOS Big Sur. However, it is not possible to drag and freely drop widgets on the desktop like on the iPad. Currently only Apple applications have toolkits. However, we think that as time passes, more applications will come to the toolkit. Especially on Macs with M1 processors, with the natural operation of the iPad applications, the toolkit options will become even richer.
macOS Big Sur review: Safari
Safari also contains innovations that will offer users a different experience while surfing the internet. There are notable changes both in appearance and in the background. First of all, we are starting to see a Safari interface similar to the iPad on Mac computers with macOS Big Sur. There is a simpler interface than before, where everything is easily accessible.
Known for its sensitivity to privacy, Apple provides information about the followers on the website you visit thanks to the Privacy Report feature included in Safari. When you click the “i” icon in the small window that opens, you can get a comprehensive report regarding all the sites you visit. Support for the WebP format, which has long existed in Chrome, is also coming to Safari. WebP is a more efficient image format than JPG and reduces the load on websites. Thanks to WebP support, Safari will load images faster. VP9 support, which was previously used in Chrome and used by YouTube to play 4K videos, is also coming to Safari. When you open the YouTube website and select a 4K video, you will see resolutions up to 2160p within the playback settings. There is also the feature of turning the page automatically. The Start page that appears when you open a new tab has a more organized, simple and understandable appearance. Favorites, Privacy Report, Siri Suggestions and Reading List items are listed one under the other.
Of course, let’s not go without talking about Safari Extensions. In fact, there were extensions in Safari as in Internet browsers such as Chrome and Firefox. However, these were not as advanced as those on competing internet browsers and did not stand out. With macOS Big Sur, great progress is being made in this area. By following the Safari Extensions path under the Safari menu, you can go to the Safari Extensions section offered under the Mac App Store. We see that many expansions take place here from day one. You can also edit and remove all the extensions you have installed from the Extensions section under the Preferences section in Safari. It is a fact that the Safari experience will get richer with the extensions.
macOS Big Sur review: Messages and Maps
Last year, Apple opened the door to bringing applications made for iPad to Mac computers under the Catalyst project. The stock market also carried some iPad applications such as Voice Memos to Macs in this way. This year, we’re seeing Messages and Maps and more Apple apps move the iPad experience to the Mac. In the Messages app, we see features like pinning frequently contacted people or chats, using Memoji stickers and message effects. Apple Maps is now becoming a more useful application. If you want to plan before setting off; You can also get directions for cars, public transportation, and bicycles from the desktop application. Guides are also a useful feature added. You can access them more easily by adding the places you visit frequently or you intend to visit to the guides you will create. We also see features such as traffic and satellite views in the new Apple Maps application.
Apart from the innovations and changes listed above, we see that with macOS Big Sur, Mac computers will have the opportunity to work with other Apple devices more seamlessly. For example, the automatic connection and switching feature with AirPods or AirPods Pro comes to the Macs with Big Sur after iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 and iPhone and iPads. AirPods or AirPods Pro automatically switch between active iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac devices that are paired with the same iCloud account. In the music application, the Listen Now section comes, just like the iPhone and iPad. This way, you can access newly released albums, interviews with artists and custom playlists in one place.
macOS Big Sur review: Other innovations
With Big Sur, new system sounds are also coming. On top of that, long-silent Mac computer bootups are getting sound again. The usual Mac startup sound comes back with Big Sur.
As a result, macOS Big Sur includes more noticeable changes. Particularly changing the Desktop design, changes in the dock and menu bar, the arrival of Control Center makes the line between iPad and Mac a little more transparent. On top of that, add the migration of more iPad apps to the Mac. And starting next week, with the release of the Apple M1-powered MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini, and later the Mac with more Apple Silicon, we’ll see more iPad apps running on Mac computers.
In terms of performance, macOS Big Sur looks good. Big Sur works properly on the entry-level MacBook Air 2020 model with an Intel Core i3 processor. Of course, I will see the difference in performance when I upgrade my Mid 2014 MacBook Pro, one of the oldest models to support Big Sur, to this latest version. A few months ago, when I switched to Catalina with a delay, I saw that the performance was better than the previous version, Mojave. Normally, updates slow down the system, but at Apple we can see the opposite. I will share my impressions when I update my 2014 MacBook Pro. Only after you are sure that the applications that are important to your business are working well in Big Sur, you can safely upgrade to this latest desktop operating system version.