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Apple just rolled out more exciting news about the macOS Big Sur, its next macOS, at its recent 'One More Thing' event, including its official release date. Finally, after months of waiting, the general public will be able to download the full version of macOS 11 on Thursday, November 12.
Announced at WWDC 2020, the next macOS is expected to bring some pretty major – not to mention, exciting – improvements to the operating system that powers the best Macs. Where its predecessor, macOS Catalina, only had minor improvements over macOS Mojave, macOS 11 Big Sur should bring in the biggest changes to Apple's operating system in years.
Chief among these changes is the migration to Apple-designed silicon. This has been rumored for years, but this, along with macOS Catalyst, will finally bring support for every iOS and iPad app to the Mac operating system. Apple also promises that it will lead to greater efficiency and power.
Better yet, according to Craig Federighi, Apple's senior VP of Software Engineering, macOS Big Sur is built from its 'core' to take advantage of and run pretty well on M1. Thanks to this new chip, owners of the new Macs can run iPhone and iPad apps directly on their Mac.
In addition, the macOS 11 Big Sur is bringing in a massive redesign in the look of native macOS apps – on top of delivering some stability improvements. Apple is finally giving apps like Messages, Mail, Photos, Calendar and even Finder a fresh, much more compact and streamlined design. That’s on top of cool new features that are more in line with those on the upcoming iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, with macOS Big Sur bringing widgets. This should make your whole Apple experience a much more harmonious and unified experience.
iOS 14 release date, beta, features and supported iPhones
iPadOS 14 release date, features and compatibility details
WWDC 2020 live blog: everything Apple announced
We should see the macOS 11 Big Sur available to the public at some point in November 2020, and already running the next-generation of MacBooks that Apple is unveiling at its last event of the year. Until then, the macOS 11 public beta is now available – alongside the public betas for iOS 14, tvOS 14, iPadOS 14 – and downloadable via Apple's Beta Program page, if you want to test it out before its official release.
As macOS 11 Big Sur is the biggest macOS release in years, there’s a lot to talk about. Let’s delve into the most important updates, changes and new features here. That way, you can decide whether or not it’s a good time for you to upgrade your macOS. Be sure to keep this page bookmarked, and we'll keep it updated with the latest information and features.
Cut to the chase
What is it? macOS 11 Big Sur, successor to macOS 10.15 Catalina
When is it out? Likely November 10, 2020
How much will it cost? Nothing. Apple software updates are always free
macOS 11 Big Sur release date
While macOS Big Sur was revealed at WWDC 2020, we don't know exactly when the general public will be able to download and install it.
Typically Apple releases its software at the same time each year, so it's reasonable to expect the macOS Big Sur release date to fall somewhere in September or October 2020. Either way, we won't actually know the exact date the software will be publicly available until the iPhone 12 event later this year.
Still, if you're eager to get your hands on the software, the beta version is available today if you're a part of the Apple Developer program, which will cost you $99 (about £79, AU$140). The public beta is also now available without charge and downloadable via Apple's Beta Program page.
We must urge caution to most folks here, though. Early versions of software are prone to bugs, and aren't quite as secure as public releases. If you're OK with the risks, though, the option is open to you.
macOS 11 Big Sur system requirements
If you want to download and install macOS 11 when it becomes publicly available later this year, you're going to want to make sure your Mac is actually able to run it. And, unfortunately macOS system requirements have gone up.
We went ahead and listed the macOS Big Sur-compatible Mac systems down below.
12-inch MacBook (2015 and later)
MacBook Air (2013 and later)
MacBook Pro (Late 2013 and later)
Mac mini (2014 and later)
iMac (2014 and later)
iMac Pro (all models)
Mac Pro (2013 and later)
macOS 11 Big Sur name
This time around, Apple chose Big Sur to symbolize this release of macOS. Much like the unincorporated coastal area in Northern California, this new macOS is supposed to deliver "unmatched levels of power and beauty."