Apple’s macOS Big Sur was revealed during the firm’s WWDC Developers Conference back in June and arrives packed with new features and a refreshed look. This blockbuster update won’t officially launch until the autumn but Apple has just announced the Big Sur public beta is now live.
That means anyone who has signed up to the test programme can download it and try out all the new updates.
“Help make the next releases of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS our best yet. As a member of the Apple Beta Software Program, you can take part in shaping Apple software by test-driving pre-release versions and letting us know what you think.” Apple confirmed on its site.
You can find the macOS Big Sur public beta here but you get too excited it is worth remembering a few things about this beta software.
Most importantly, this is not by any means finished software.
In fact, that’s the whole point of Apple making it available early as it means you’ll be tasked with reporting any bugs, incompatibilities, or glitches found in the early software.
This gives the US firm plenty of time to iron out issues before millions of people attempt to download on launch day.
Because it’s not the final build, Apple advises that users should not download the macOS beta on their primary Mac. Instead, to avoid any laptop-crashing nightmares when you really need to use your PC, the software should be installed on a secondary MacBook or iMac.
If you happen to have a spare MacBook under the bed then here’s some of the features you can enjoy right now.
MACOS BIG SUR UPDATE – WHAT’S INCLUDED?
Apple is boasting that its Big Sur update is its biggest design upgrade since the introduction of Mac OS X and it certainly looks like an exciting upgrade for MacBook and iMac owners.
Perhaps the biggest change to macOS Big Sur is a whole new look which delivers a spacious new design that makes navigation easier, while putting more controls at users’ fingertips.
Everything from the curvature of window corners to the palette of colours and materials has been refined, and new features provide better information and improved power.
Even the icons in the Dock have changed with Apple stating that they have been thoughtfully designed to be more consistent with icons across the Apple ecosystem.
There’s even a new customisable menu bar which features an all-new Control Centre, which should help deliver quick access to controls straight from the desktop.
An updated Notification Centre now includes more interactive alerts and redesigned widgets are available providing users with more relevant information at a glance.
Something else that many Mac fans will be excited about is an update to the Messages app.
This blockbuster upgrade is long overdue and includes new tools to better manage important conversations and share expressive messages.
Message effects also now come to the Mac and let users add personality to their chats with balloons, confetti, and more. Plus there’s the option to design unique Memoji straight on the Mac.
New group messaging features streamline interactions with family, friends, and colleagues. Inline replies enable users to respond directly to a message, and now they can direct a message to an individual in a group conversation by simply typing their name. And users can now set a photo or an emoji for their group conversation that’s shared with all members of the group.
Another popular change will arrive in the Safari web browser.
This update is the biggest change to this software since its original launch in 2003 and will make it faster and way more efficient than before.
Apple reckons this Safari boost will help it outperform other browsers with it able to load frequently visited sites an average of 50 percent faster than Google’s Chrome.
Speaking about the changes, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, said: “macOS Big Sur is a major update that advances the legendary combination of the power of UNIX with the ease of use of the Mac, and delivers our biggest update to design in more than a decade.
“With its modern and clean look, huge improvements to key apps including Safari, Messages, and Maps, and new privacy features, we think everyone is going to love the breakthrough experience that macOS Big Sur offers.”
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