A lot of interesting things were presented at WWDC 2020. But the most-most Apple, traditionally announced near the end. IOS 14 (a detailed review of new features) with its widgets faded into the background, the new macOS Big Sur drew attention to itself.
What Mac computers can I install macOS Big Sur on?
Here is a list of devices that will be compatible with macOS Big Sur:
- MacBook 2015 and later
- MacBook Air 2013 and later
- MacBook Pro 2013 and later
- Mac mini manufactured in 2014 and later;
- iMac released in 2014 and later;
- iMac Pro 2017 and later
- Mac Pro 2013 and later.
Apple has announced a gradual transition from Intel processors to ARM-based in-house designs. The first device with an Apple Silicon processor running macOS Big Sur will go on sale later this year, while a dedicated version of the A12Z-based Mac mini with ARM architecture will be released to developers, the same processor used in the 2020 iPad Pro.
How to install macOS Big Sur beta
MacOS Big Sur is currently only available as a developer beta. However, this does not prevent everyone from getting to know the operating system with their own eyes. Here's what to do:
1. First, make a backup of all your data so as not to lose them in case of a failed installation of a new system.
2. Then download the profile for installing macOS Big Sur.
3. Extract it from the archive and run.
4. Go to System settings → Software update.
This will start the process of downloading the new operating system. Its volume is about 10 GB.
What's new in macOS Big Sur
New system design and icons
macOS has unexpectedly completely redesigned its design. Most of all, the new kind of icons is striking, but the menu bar, Dock panel, Notification center have also become different. Windows and warnings have changed in a different way.
All macOS icons have become square, and their corners have become more rounded. The design approach is the same as in iOS. Naturally, the icons of third-party applications will not automatically adjust to the new standard, the developers themselves will do this in the near future.
Apple's attention to detail has been preserved. So, on the envelope in the mail client icon, you can, by looking closely, see the address of Apple Park itself in California.
The Menu Bar has undergone a major update. This update can be considered the largest for the entire existence of this element.
There are now noticeably fewer icons on the right side of the line. Only Date and Time, Siri, Control Center, Spotlight, Wi-Fi, Battery and Layout remained in sight. But the Bluetooth, Volume, Screen Brightness and AirDrop icons have moved to Control Center (but you can leave them in the menu bar if you want). Obviously, this layout was done with iOS in mind.
The status bar has become more transparent. The words in the line will be lighter or darker depending on the image on the desktop, the drop-down menus will also become larger.
By clicking on the battery icon, you can find out the planned duration of operation under the current load. But this function is difficult to call new - it was present in older versions of OS X, but for some reason it was not in Sierra. Probably, Apple engineers were able to modify this element, now it will be able to more accurately show the end of battery life. Do not forget that the indicators are still approximate.
Adding a Control Center
This element clearly migrated from iOS to macOS. He has been working there for several years. The Control Center becomes an important and recognizable element of the entire ecosystem, from there you can quickly get to useful elements such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirDrop, Do not disturb, etc.
In addition, it became possible to customize this element. And users will be able to return the necessary icons to the status bar. They can be simply dragged from the Control Center. The menu works similarly to iOS, clicking on certain sections allows you to expand them: when you select "Display", options for switching its modes appear.
Apple decided to optimize the Notification Center as much as possible to put all the information the user expected, including fully functional widgets. This is a single view that displays notifications from apps like Messages, Photos, Safari, Home, and more. Notifications are grouped by application and can be extended, many parameters are also interactive.
The widgets will come in three different sizes, giving users the ability to choose the right one for their needs. And developers will be able to create widgets for their third-party applications.
Widgets in macOS have been around for a long time, but users rarely use them and pay their attention. But Big Sur has changed the design of these elements, repeating that of iOS 14.
To call the widgets, you need to press the time in the menu bar, make a swipe on the right side, or configure the opening through the active corners. Interestingly, for some reason there is no calculator widget in the beta version of Big Sur, and many have used this tool.
The design changes affected not only the system as a whole, but also a number of its built-in applications. For example, the right column began to look different in them, like the toolbar. This is most evident in Finder, Mail, and Home. In Music, the emphasis of color has been shifted from pink to red. Searching there you can now find popular genres and playlists.
Changes were made to warnings and context menu. The buttons have become larger. In general, the attempt to change the design can be called successful. The system looks even more modern, while retaining the "skeleton" of the existing interface. Obviously, the company is trying to create a consistent style for all of its products.
Of all the built-in apps, Big Sur has the biggest change in Safari. Designers made all browser elements larger, and buttons more expressive, removing visible borders from them.
In the browser, you can now preview tabs (you just need to hover the cursor), while the preview will show exactly the place where you are on the page. The start page lets you set your own background and customize which elements to show. It is possible to display a reading list or favorite sites, iCloud tabs or Siri suggestions.
As part of the general struggle for the safety of personal data, a Privacy Report has appeared. This function will detect and block all trackers collecting information about the user.
Here are some more interesting features of the updated Safari:
- A built-in translator will appear in the browser (in the first beta version it is not working yet).
- Safari will analyze passwords and tell you if any of them are compromised.
- Frequently visited pages will load 50% faster.
- In video playback mode, Safari will give the computer up to three hours longer than Chrome or Firefox.
- An updated toolbar has appeared.
- Safari extensions will have a separate section in the App Store.
The feature set in iMessage on Mac is now fully compatible with the iOS version. The application allows you to send stickers and effects, pin both chats and messages in them, and mention other people there. Group conversations will look different. Synchronization now works correctly with iPad and iPhone. The Memoji sticker editor has appeared in iMessage for Mac, for some this function will seem necessary.
Earlier in the settings there was a section "Energy saving", but now it is called simply "Battery". There you can edit the parameters of the behavior of the device when operating on both battery and AC adapter.
But now this menu also contains the "Usage history" item. There you can find all statistics on battery consumption and charging. But there is no list of the most energy-consuming applications yet, but this may be a question of the future.
The mapping app in Big Sur has received a completely new design. It will correspond to the one available in iOS 14. Apple Maps will provide reliable guides that will help you find the best places in the city for recreation and food, attractions. The information will be constantly updated, including by the users themselves. You can share it with family and friends.
The maps will show routes for cyclists, they will tell you about the steep inclines on the path and how to get around them. For electric vehicles, the application will help you to form the best route with indication of charging stations. In Apple Maps, you will be able to see crowded places and license plate restrictions in some places.
You can hear the welcome sound again when you turn on your Mac, but you can easily turn it off by going to System Preferences → Sound
- Alerts have new sounds.
- The app pages in the Mac App Store have been updated.
- Dictaphone now has an auto editor. With it, you can improve the quality of the recording and remove background noise from it.
- Older MacBooks with MagSafe returned a beep when charging was plugged in.
When can I upgrade to macOS Big Sur
Currently, there is no need to rush to update. There are still a lot of bugs and bugs in the estimated beta version, not all programs work as expected. Third-party programs can behave unpredictably, they freeze, interface elements get confused.
If Mac is your main tool, then you should wait out a few beta releases or wait for the final official version of Big Sur. It will appear in the fall of 2020, by which time developers will be able to optimize programs for it.
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