Apple’s public release of MacOS Big Sur on November 12th was… not quite as smooth as their usual standard. Nonetheless, we here at Mac Ranch think it was worth the journey! Although some users experienced temporary issues with their Macs during attempts at download and installation of the update, Apple had the issues ironed out by Thursday evening. The more fun news is: what’s new in Big Sur?!
My favorite feature so far: the new app icons. No, really – I know this is totally insignificant and a purely cosmetic feature, but for some reason I find them delightful. Everything looks so sleek and uniform – and yes, strongly reminiscent of the iPhone, but I don’t consider that a bad thing. Over the last few years, Apple has created an immersive sort of ecosystem with their devices – everything syncs so smoothly between the iPhone, iPad and Mac that I don’t mind the Mac coming to look more like the iPhone.
But how about some more substantial new features?
Control Center is a nice new functionality to have – it houses many of the Mac’s most commonly used settings, now easily accessible from the drop down menu, rather than requiring opening System Preferences or using individual menu bar icons.
Messages has seen some major updates too, including pinned conversations (if you’ve already pinned conversations in iOS 14 on your phone, you’re already set – they sync to the Mac now!), memoji stickers, and message effects. Message effects are those animations, like balloons or confetti, you can send with a message on your iPhone – and now on the Mac as well. They exist on a sliding scale of cute to obnoxious, and considering how often I text from my Mac, all of my friends are going to really hate them within about a week.
Safari has also seen some major updates in Big Sur. The home page has been redesigned for easy access not only to your favorites, but to your reading list as well – and to Safari’s new Privacy Report feature, which identifies and prevents trackers. The home page wallpaper can be customized. Improvements have also been made to Safari’s overall speed and efficiency.
These are some of the highlights, but MacOS Big Sur comes with lots of other improvements, including updates to the Maps application, increased transparency regarding privacy in the App Store, and updates for developers related to the other big ticket item in Apple news recently, the M1 silicon chip Macs.
If you have questions about upgrading to Big Sur or encounter any problems in the process, stop in at Mac Ranch – we’ll get you up to date and ready to go!