Apple on Thursday released the latest version of macOS: macOS Big Sur (also known as macOS 11.0), which is available to download now — assuming you have a compatible Mac. From a report: Big Sur is one of the biggest updates to Apple’s laptop and desktop software in years, featuring a top-to-bottom redesign of the interface, icons, and menu bar, a new control center UI borrowed from iOS, widgets (also borrowed from iOS), and a variety of other improvements (see here for the full list). It’s such a big change that Apple is actually moving on from the OS X / OS 10 branding that it’s been using for Macs for almost 20 years. Apple’s also adding some new privacy-focused features, including better tracking information in Safari and new privacy data in the Mac App Store for any apps you download. ArsTechnica has published a comprehensive review of the new operating system. An excerpt from their conclusion: The Good The bright, fresh visual style mostly looks pretty good.
The Control Center (and other changes to the upper-right section of the Menu Bar) are genuinely useful additions.
The Messages app finally catches up to its iOS/iPadOS counterpart, thanks to Catalyst.
The APFS version of Time Machine seems like an improvement, though we’ll need to wait to see what its long-term reliability is like.
Aside from the old AFP file-sharing protocol and the Network Utility, Big Sur doesn’t remove too many things or add many new security settings that will break apps. There may be some visual issues, but my experience has actually been that Apple breaks a lot fewer apps moving from Catalina to Big Sur than it did moving from Mojave to Catalina. The Bad A general reduction in contrast makes it harder to discern the difference between many buttons and controls at a glance.
If you want to fix any of these contrast issues in the Accessibility settings, it should be possible to increase contrast or reduce transparency in certain places without making it an all-or-nothing setting.
Some of the new buttons and icons are nice. Some of them are less nice.
Big Sur on Apple Silicon Macs will give up the ability to run Windows in a virtual machine or on a separate partition, though Intel Macs can still do both things. The Ugly As usual, Apple is just a year or two more aggressive about dropping support for old Macs than I think they really need to be.
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