macOS Big Sur, also known as macOS 11.0, brings the biggest design change to the Mac operating system since the release of macOS X, back in 2001. It includes depth shading and translucency for its interface, alongside powerful controls and intuitive customization options for all compatible Macs.
macOS Big Sur beta program is currently ongoing and we’re testing out the upcoming Mac software for you. In this article you can find a collection of the most important new features available in macOS 11.0 including: new Control Center, redesigned Notification Center, enhanced Messages improved Maps, Privacy and more.
macOS Big Sur Key Features
macOS 11.0 includes ensures improved user experience, with the help of a refined user-interface that brings an updated menu bar, a new floating Dock, a lighter window appearance, redesigned icons for apps, new and updated sounds as well as full-height sidebars and redesigned sheets. Other important changes are:
1. Control Center for Mac
macOS Big Sur brings a Control Center designed just for Mac. You can open this new control panel, by clicking The Control Center icon, available in the top menu bar. Tweak Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirDrop and other Mac settings without opening System Preferences. You’re one click away from turning Do Not Disturb on or off.
Click on an option to bring up additional settings in an expanded view. For example, if you tap on Display you unveil options for Dark Mode, Night Shift, True Tone and AirPlay.
Tip: You can customize the Control Center and add features that you use often like Accessibility and Batteries. You can also drag & drop your favorite menu items to pin them at the top of the menu bar. This enables one-click access!
2. New Notification Center
The macOS 11.0 Big Sur Notification Center combines both notifications and widgets into a single column.
Notifications are automatically sorted by most recent. Today widgets are revamped and can now deliver info at a glance.
Notifications are grouped by thread or app. You can click & hold them to unveil more quick actions like reply to an email, listen to the latest podcast, or enlarge a Calendar invitation to see more about the event.
Widgets are available for stock apps like Calendar, Stocks, Weather, Notes, Reminders and Podcasts. You can pick from different sizes and use the ones that suit you best.
Tip: Third part widgets are also available as soon as developers update your favorite apps with macOS Big Sur widget integraiton!
3. Redesigned Dock
The macOS Big Sur Dock is more translucent, making the desktop wallpaper noticeable in the background. This creates the impression that the Dock is lifted from the bottom of the display. The app icons are redesigned and easier to identify.
4. Enhanced Safari
Apple claims that its stock web browser can load frequently used sites on average, 50% faster than Chrome. On top of that Safari for macOS Big Sur is more efficient than any other browser. You can stream video for up to three hours longer, or browse the web for one hour longer when compared to Chrome or Firefox.
In terms of features, in macOS Big Sur you can customize the Safari start page. Set your desired background image and pick the sections that you want to be displayed on the start page. You can choose from: Favorites, Siri Suggestions, Reading List, iCloud Tabs and Privacy Report.
Website previews allow you to peek by hovering the pointer of the tab to quickly preview the page.
Translation is a macOS Big Sur beta feature that’s currently only available in the U.S. It allows you to click the translation icon available, for compatible pages, in the address field and the page will be instantly translated
into English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, or Brazilian Portuguese.
In macOS Big Sur you can easily import passwords and other settings like history and bookmarks from Chrome to Safari!
Password monitoring is also a welcomed new feature that allows Safari to alert you whenever your saved passwords have been involved in data breaches.
5. Privacy Report
In macOS Big Sur Safari is able to generate Privacy reports for your browsing history. The reports are available for every website that you visit. You just need to click the Privacy Report button available in the Safari toolbar, to get a summary of all cross-site trackers that are blocked by this new feature.
How it works? Safari uses a so-called Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature to spot and block trackers from profiling your web activity.
Tip: You can open Privacy Report from the Safari menu and get info about all cross-site trackers that have been blocked in the past 30 days.
6. Improved Messages
macOS 11.0 Big Sur allows you to pin conversations to the top of the Messages list. The pin is animated and supports Tapbacks, new message previews and typing indicators. You can pin up to 9 conversations which sync across Messages in macOS, iOS and iPadOS.
Inline replies allow you to reply direct to a specific message of a group conversation. All related replies are displayed in their own, allowing you to keep a better track of the discussion.
Memoji stickers are supported by macOS Big Sur. They’re automatically generated for your Memoji character. A Memoji editor allows you to modify or create your Memoji from scratch on your Mac.
Mentions are now also supported. You can make sure that your reply reaches the targeted individual from a group chat by typing the participant’s name and clicking on the suggested mention or by using the ‘@’sign before the name.
Tip: Effects are now also available in macOS Messages. They premiered in iOS 10. You can send texts with balloons, confetti, lasers or the Bubble effects that you’re familiar from your iPhone: Slam, Loud, Gentle and Invisible Ink.
7. Better Maps
macOS Big Sur bring the Guides feature to Maps. This is a new way of learning about the best places to eat, shop and explore in the cities around the world. The Guides are curated by trusted brands.
Tip: You can create your own guides and share them with your family.
Look Around is another enhancement added to the stock Maps app. You can explore select cities in 3D. Pan 360 degrees and virtually discover famous streets and neighborhoods.
Similar to iOS 14, Maps on Mac get Cycling directions, electric vehicle routing, indoor maps, live updates for shared ETA, congestion zones and license plate restrictions.
More macOS Big Sur Features
Hidden or less know features are listed here. This is an open list. If we missed something don’t hesitate to comment and let us know. We’ll update the list as soon as new features are found:
1. Faster Software Updates
macOS Big Sur supports automated software updates in the background. This help you keep your Mac up to date and secure.
This is available because in macOS 11.0 your Mac knows the exact layout of your system volume, thus allowing it to perform software updates in the background.
2. Automatic Devices Switching For AirPods
macOS Big Sur supports the new automatic device switching feature, which allows compatible AirPods to auto-switch between your active devices that are paired to the same iCloud account. This way you using the wireless earpods is even easier.
Fact: A banner pop-up hints which display is providing the audio.
Tip: Automatic device switching is compatible with Apple and Beats headphones that pack the Apple H1 chip.
AirPods automatically switch between active devices paired to the same iCloud account — making it even easier to use your AirPods with your Apple devices.10 A pop-up banner shows which device is playing audio. Automatic device switching works for all Apple and Beats headphones featuring the Apple H1 headphone chip.
3. Optimized Battery Charging
macOS Big Sur borrows optimized battery charging from iOS 14. This aims to slow down the wear and tear of the Mac battery, by making sure that the computer is fully charged when unplugged. It learns your daily charging habit and activates charging only when the OS anticipates that it will be plugged-in for a longer time-frame.
4. FaceTime Sign language Prominence
In macOS Big Sur and iOS 14 a participant, of a group Facetime call, that uses the sign language is automatically detected. It’s tile will automatically be more prominent during the conversation.
5. Siri Web Answers
The macOS Big Sur virtual assistant is able to help you find answer for more complex questions. It outsources info from the web. For example you can ask for info like ‘How do electric cars work?’
6. Next-hour precipitations in Weather
In macOS Big Sur the medium and large-size Weather widgets provide a minute-by-minute chart that shows rain / snow intensity for the upcoming hour. (Available in the U.S.).
Significant shifts have also been added allowing the Weather widget to show when the weather will become much colder or warmer in the upcoming day.
Severe weather alerts are available in widgets for U.S., Canada, Australia, Europe and Japan.
What do you think about macOS Big Sur? Do you plan to update? Share your feedback, using the comments section available below.
Related: Download the macOS Big Sur wallpaper for any computer and get the macOS 11.0 feel on your device.