macOS Big Sur: A design overhaul
This is perhaps the biggest design upgrade Apple has given to macOS in years. The changes are more visible and not so subtle. For instance, the Dock has got new icons for apps — they are more squarish as Apple has dropped the more rounded look. The apps in the Dock seem nicely spaced out and feel less cluttered. The Menu Bar text is also appearance-based now. If you are using your MacBook in dark mode then the Menu Bar text comes goes dark as well, which wasn’t the case earlier.
One of the coolest feature — borrowed from iPhone — that macOS Big Sur brings is the Control Centre. The Control Centre is now placed at the top right side from where you can access Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth connections, and manage sound and brightness levels.
The other iOS borrowed feature is the all-new Notification Centre, which allows you to respond to notifications without opening a particular app.
macOS Big Sur: Messages, Safari get more features
Messages on Mac were always kind of neglected when compared to iPhone and iPad. Not anymore as macOS Big Sur gets that completely right. You get features like pinned messages, group messaging and even memojis. One India-centric feature is the support for Expressive messaging. For instance, if you wish anyone Happy Diwali via Messages, then you will see fireworks in the background. The feature will be applicable for greetings sent in 23 Indian languages.
Apple has also added 20 new document fonts that have been designed just for India.
Privacy has always been on Apple’s mind and with macOS Big Sur, Safari gets new features. The Privacy Report feature will tell users of trackers that Safari prevented them from being profiled on various websites. It’s a nice feature to have and you will be surprised to see in a week how many sites are looking to track your information and data. There are more customisations available on Safari including a new start page where you can add a personal background image as well. Safari also gets a built-in translation feature — finally after many years — under which it can detect and translate entire web pages from seven languages.
macOS Big Sur: New battery features, more
The Optimised Battery charging feature also comes to MacBooks with macOS Big Sur. Seen with earlier versions of iOS, the feature basically improves battery health as it ‘holds’ the battery after 80% charging levels. So if you plug in your Mac for longer hours, then it optimises battery life in the long-run. One can also see detailed battery usage history for the last 24 hours to up to 10 days. Do note that this feature is available on MacBooks that come with Thunderbolt 3.
The Photos app on Mac gets editing tools, including for videos. Features like filters, adjustments can now be applied for video editing as well.
Other important things to know
macOS Big Sur is about 11-12GB in size and depending on your data speed could take an hour or so to download. The models that are compatible with macOS Big Sur are: MacBook 2013 and later; MacBook Pro (late 2013 and later); iMac 2014 and later, iMac Pro 2017 and later. MacBook 2015, Mac Pro 2013 and later, and Mac mini 2014 and later are also compatible with macOS Big Sur.
Overall, macOS Big Sur gets a new look, host of new features that make using the MacBook more fun and useful.