Big Sur: Everything New to macOS

macOS Big Sur

Apple is taking their computers to the next level with macOS 11 Big Sur. Announced back in June, Apple is introducing a lot of new features to Mac. The new operating system is compatible with most machines released in 2013 and later. With an abundance of new features, this post discusses all the changes included in the latest OS.

Standout Features in Big Sur:

Big Sur Design Update

New Design

Big Sur is the most significant design update since Mac OS X. One of the notable design changes was the update on the default application icons. Apple is introducing a modern look to their OS and a focus on “translucency, consistency and content.” With softer colours and more rounded edges, OS 11 is more comfortable to intake information.


Adding a more 3D-look to their icons, caused a little controversy to Mac fans. But after using macOS 11, people will grow fond of the new designs.

To represent the consistency in the new update, Apple made all their application icons uniform with iOS and iPadOS by using the same shape. The dock is now lifted to be more visible.

Control Centre

macOS 11 Control Centre

The menu bar and control centre is translucent to blend better with the desktop and applications. The battery icon displays how full of a charge your computer has, similar to iPhones and iPads.

The control centre is customisable and includes brightness & volume sliders, AirPlay, Do Not Disturb, WiFi, Bluetooth and AirDrop controls, among others. Also, similar to the control centre on Apple mobile devices.

Notification Centre

Notifications are now grouped by app and have additional actions. For example, when an email notification appears, a user can choose to reply without even opening the app. These additional actions can be accessed by a click and hold action.

OS 11 Widgets


Just like iOS and iPadOS, widgets are redesigned & introduced in Big Sur. The notification centre has received a design upgrade along with widgets. The notification centre allows users to glance at widgets to intake important information without opening the application.

Unfortunately, the widgets are only visible within the notification centre, but hopefully, in future updates, we can pin widgets to the desktop.


Safari is now faster and more power-efficient in Big Sur. The browser uses less battery than Chrome or Firefox, allowing users to use the computer for more extended periods.

Now with in-built translation and improvements to Safari extensions, Apple is making significant steps in the browser game.

Privacy Report

A new privacy report feature is available and provides a list of all trackers on a website and all the blocked trackers. User can view all the trackers that were blocked from the past 30 days.

Start Page

Users can customise their start page with the ability to choose a background, adding Favourites, Frequently Visited sites, iCloud tabs, Siri suggestions and privacy reports.

Safari Tab Preview


You can preview tabs on hover to help find the correct tab. This feature can be handy for users that have 20+ tabs open on one browser.

Streaming in 4K

Because Safari is now faster in Big Sur, the browser now supports 4K streaming on websites like YouTube and Netflix. Along with this, Dolby Vision is also integrated. Unfortunately, this feature is only available for Macs from 2018 or later.

Compromised Password Checks

Like Chrome, Safari also monitors your saved passwords and make sure that they haven’t been compromised. Any leaked passwords will trigger an alert to notify you to update it.

Apple Maps Redesign


Maps received a redesign to keep that consistent and content-driven design. User can discover new places using Guides, which can be created and shared with family and friends.

For those with electric cars, Apple Maps will automatically add charging stops when calculating your ETA. When adding your electric car to your iPhone, Maps can track your car’s charge and charger type.

Immersive 3D views in Big Sur allows users to explore cities just like Google Maps Streetview. There is also integration for indoor maps of major Airports and Shopping centres.

Messages on macOS Big Sur


The Messages app also got an update to mirror the iOS Messages app and include the following:

  • Pinned Conversations: Users can favourite conversations to keep at the top of their message list.
  • Inline Replies: Being able to start a new thread allows group chats to keep track of questions and replies.
  • Group Photos: Pick a photo that represents your group chat.
  • Mentions: Mention someone to notify them directly. Those that are mentioned will have their name highlighted.
  • Memojis: Use customise and personal Memoji stickers in conversations.
  • Message Effects: Effects on messages to show your reaction.
  • Search: Search by keyword to find a message you sent previously.

What Else is in Big Sur?

Update Speeds

Updating applications on Big Sur is now faster. OS 11 starts updates in the background then finish faster.


Spotlight is faster, and the results are presented in a streamlined list for easier content intake.

Quick Look allows user to see scrollable full-size previews for most documents and websites. Within Quick Look, users can make quick edits like cropping, signing PDFs and more. These actions can all be done without even opening the app.

To see a complete rundown of Big Sur, visit here.

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