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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.