KEY POINTS

  • Apple has finally announced the latest macOS update, macOS 11 Big Sur
  • macOS Big Sur is now available as a developer beta
  • It can be installed in many Macs

Apple has finally announced the newest major macOS update for Macs, macOS 11 Big Sur.

The macOS Big Sur is the first operating system version for the Mac after macOS 10, and it boasts of new features and a slew of enhancements meant to make the Mac experience better than ever. It brings powerful enhancements to Maps, Messages, and Safari, on top of many upgrades across the board.

Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, said macOS Big Sur delivers the biggest update to macOS design in a long time. He said it combines “the power of UNIX with the ease of use of the Mac,” and is designed to give users the best Mac experience yet.

“With its modern and clean look, huge improvements to key apps including Safari, Messages, and Maps, and new privacy features, we think everyone is going to love the breakthrough experience that macOS Big Sur offers,” Federighi said.

As of now, macOS Big Sur is only available in beta for developers, and will not be publicly released until ready in the fall. Registered developers can now download and install the developer beta from the Apple Developer Center. A public beta will be released next month.

Apple macOS Big Sur preview Apple macOS Big Sur preview Photo: Apple

Those who want to upgrade to macOS Big Sur, whether a developer looking to install the developer beta or a regular Mac user waiting for the public version, must make sure that their Mac is compatible with the operating system. Here's a list of Macs that are compatible with macOS Big Sur, according to Apple:

  • MacBook (2015 and later)
  • MacBook Air (2013 and later)
  • MacBook Pro (Late 2013 and later)
  • iMac (2014 and later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 and later)
  • Mac mini (2014 and later)
  • Mac Pro (2013 and later)

Based on this, the following models cannot be upgraded to macOS Big Sur despite being capable of running the previous version, macOS 10.15 Catalina:

  • MacBook Pro (2012 and Early 2013)
  • MacBook Air (2012)
  • iMac (2012 and 2013)
  • Mac mini (2012)

Those who want to install macOS Big Sur betas are advised to not install on a primary machine since these are early release software and are prone to bugs, MacRumors noted.