Apple releases MacOS 11 Big Sur with a new design and Apple Silicon compatibility

The free update is available in the Mac App Store.

big-sur-header.jpg

Apple's Big Sur update for the Mac is now available to download. 

Image: Apple

Apple on Thursday released the next big software update for its Mac computer lineup, MacOS 11 Big Sur. The update is available in the Mac App Store right now.

Apple announced the Big Sur release date earlier this week during its One More Thing event , where the company also unveiled the first Apple Silicon ARM System on a Chip (SoC) the M1. The M1 is making its debut in three Apple computers: The MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini. All three models are available to order now, and start shipping on Nov. 17. 

Big Sur includes optimizations for Apple's own processors, and for those who are still using an Intel-powered Mac, it also includes new features that make it easier for developers to port their iPad apps to the platform. 

Regardless of which Mac you use, Big Sur will change the overall look and feel of MacOS. It's a lot more iPhone or iPad-like, with some new app icons for apps like Safari. 

Speaking of Safari, the browser is receiving several new privacy features and performance improvements. The Messages app now looks and works more like the iPad app, including special effects for messages and the ability to pin conversations. 

If you use your Mac for work, it's a good idea to wait until you get the go-ahead before upgrading to Big Sur. With any big update like this, there are bound to be some compatibility issues with apps and services. 

If you are going to update right away, make sure you create a backup of your Mac before taking the plunge. 

You can find the update directly in the App Store here. It's compatible with the following Macs:

compatible-macs-big-sur.jpg

All of the Macs Big Sur will run on. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet