macOS Big Sur

At WWDC20 today, Apple introduced macOS Big Sur, the next major software upgrade for its Mac ecosystem that succeeds macOS Catalina. It brings a major redesign and a ton of changes such as an updated Messages app, a new control center, and updates to Safari and Maps among others.

Starting with the design, Apple says macOS Big Sur introduces the biggest design change since macOS 10. There are new app icons, the Finder has a new design for the sidebar, while each app now uses its own key color. The menu bar is now translucent and picks up the color of the background.

The Notification Center in macOS Big Sur displayed on MacBook Pro.
The updated Notification Center in macOS Big Sur.

macOS Big Sur also brings a new Control Center that provides quick access to desktop controls such as display brightness, light mode, and the ability to customize it. The notification center has also been overhauled, complete with redesigned widgets and interactive notifications.

The Control Center in macOS Big Sur displayed on MacBook Pro.
The fresh Control Center in macOS Big Sur.

All of these items are arranged neatly in a single column, where users also get the flexibility to sort alerts and group notifications that are related. Widgets come in a variety of sizes, and can be added to the notification center with just a drag and drop gesture.

The new photo picker in Messages displayed on MacBook Pro.
macOS Big Sur also brings a new photo picker in Messages

Apple is bringing a new search feature to the Messages app and has also added a redesigned photo picker to make sharing pictures and videos easier. Notably, Big Sur allows users to create Memoji on a Mac, and also introduces message effects such as balloons and confetti. Plus, users will also have the ability to pin conversations that are synced across all devices.

Pinned conversations in Messages displayed on MacBook Pro.
Users can pin conversations at the top in the Messages app for quick access.

Maps has also received a design overhaul and a ton of new features such as the ability to create a custom guide for certain landmarks like a coffee shop, see a 360-degree of any place with Look Around, and also check indoor maps for places like shopping centers and airports. Essentially, all the new features coming to Maps on iOS 14 will make their way to macOS Big Sur as well.

The new Guides feature in Maps displayed on MacBook Pro.
The new Guides feature in macOS will let users find new places with the help of trusted resources

The developer beta of macOS Big Sur is out now, while the first public beta will arrive next month. Apple says macOS Big Sur will be available to the masses as a free software upgrade in the fall season.

I’ve been writing about consumer technology for over three years now, having worked with names such as NDTV and Beebom in the past. Aside from covering the latest news, I’ve reviewed my fair share of devices ranging from smartphones and laptops to smart home devices. I also have interviewed tech execs and appeared as a host in YouTube videos talking about the latest and greatest gadgets out there.
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