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How to Prepare Your Mac for macOS Big Sur

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It’s happening guys. The Big update will soon be available, a move that will open the door for macOS v.11. Like the previous updates, the Big Sur update is expected this fall, with Mac users looking forward to the biggest design changes in almost 20 years. Other notable changes include a massive Safari update, privacy enhancements, and more catalyst apps.

As usual, Apple released a version of the update for developers to test their apps against it, before releasing it to the public. And while the unveiling happened on June 22 at the WWDC in Apple Park, it looks like we’ll have to wait until September-October to have a feel of the update.

Many developers have lauded the Big Sur update and are convinced that Mac users will find plenty of reasons to embrace it. The refurbished design is meant to induce a fresh yet familiar feeling to the experience. It has a cleaner look, rounded edges, a lighter appearance, and a redesigned menu bar with more cohesive symbols. And while some of these tweaks are not ground-breaking, it’s a welcome change.

In addition to the design, safari update, and catalyst apps, the update will feature major tweaks in messaging and video editing capabilities. It will also be the first macOS optimized for the ARM-based Macs debuting later in the year. Keep on reading to learn more about the update, including how to prepare your Mac and how to install the new update.

Hardware Requirements for macOS Big Sur

Whether you’re looking to test the Public Beta version or wait for the official release, you’ll have to make sure that your Mac can take it. So, here are devices the update will run on:

  • MacBook (2015 or later)
  • MacBook Air (2013 or later)
  • Mac Mini (2014 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (Late 2013 or later)
  • iMac (2014 or later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 or later)
  • Mac Pro (2013 or later)

What’s New in macOS Big Sur

Screenshot from macOS Big Sur

The new macOS Big Sur update comes with major improvements and new features, some of which are borrowed from the iOS system.

  • Fresh Design — The new update features a fresh and familiar design with a redesigned menu bar, a lighter appearance, and new icons. The design has a cleaner look with rounded edges and more cohesive symbols.
  • Control and Notification Centers — To start with, the control center is accessible from the menu bar making it easy to get hold of important Mac functions. From here, you can adjust the brightness, enable Do Not Disturb Mode, among other functions with the click of a button. On the other hand, the notification center will feature redesigned buttons that look more like the iOS ones. What’s more, related notifications are grouped neatly with interactive functionalities for easy follow up.
  • Safari Update — In macOS Big Sur, safari got a major update and is now much faster, secure, and energy-efficient. You can set a wallpaper, add favorites, a reading list, and bookmarks on the start page. Additionally, there’s a built-in translator that works with English, French, German, Chinese, Russian, and Brazilian Portuguese.
  • Default Applications — Several default apps have been redesigned, including Photos, Mail, and Notes. Other apps like Messages and Apple Music have transitioned into catalyst apps with significant interface changes. Messages, in particular, has got as much functionality as the iOS version. It includes features like image search, pinned conversations, mentions, inline replies, Memoji creation and sharing, and an updated Photos picker.
  • Battery Usage — With the new update, Apple now provides you with an in-depth look into your Mac’s battery life. They’ve also brought back the remaining battery estimation that was removed in 2016’s macOS Sierra.

Other features include the inclusion of video editing on the Mac photo app, making it easier to personalize your videos without the need for a third-party app. Also, there are many new and updated startup sounds, including the iconic macOS startup sound.

Should You Upgrade to macOS Big Sur?

Yes. Even if you’re content with your current macOS, system updates are always important to your Mac’s smooth running and performance. Updates fix bugs and provide new functionalities to improve your experience. The macOS Big Sur will certainly make your Mac’s operating system smoother and faster.

How Long Does It Take to Update to macOS Big Sur?

The time it takes to update to macOS Big Sur varies and is mainly dependent on a few factors. Elements like the system version you’re upgrading from, your internet connection speed, RAM, disk space, among others, will determine the time it takes to complete the update. Here’s an estimate of what to expect:

Preparing your Mac for the update — 10-50 minutes

Downloading the update — 15-60 minutes

Installing the update — 20-50 minutes

How to prepare your Mac for the macOS Big Sur Update

Preparing your Mac for the update can take as long as 50 minutes depending on the data volume of your back up and the way you go about cleaning your Mac.

Step 1. Clean Up Your Mac Hard Drive

Cleaning the hard drive manually can be time-consuming, which is why I recommend using CleanMyMac X. It’s a MacPaw’s crud and junk remover that effectively finds unwanted files for an easy cleanup experience. Everything from the cache, duplicate, and unused language files, there’s nothing too big or too small.

Screenshot from CleanMyMac X

To clean up your Mac hard drive:

  • Download CleanMyMac X
  • Launch the program and got to ‘Large and Old Files’ section
  • Click Scan
  • Review the details, select unneeded files, and click to remove them

Read my full review of CleanMyMac X here >

Step 2. Delete Duplicate Files

As you’re preparing your Mac for the new operating system macOS Big Sur, reclaiming gigabytes of storage taken up by duplicate files is a great starting point. Manually identifying and deleting the files might be time-consuming, but Gemini 2 simplifies it to a few clicks. From identical photos to files, this software detects and removes all duplicate files. Simply scan, select repeated files, and remove.

Download Gemini 2 here >

Step 3. Uninstall Unused Apps

Unused apps are another avenue for lost gigabytes of storage in your Mac hard drive. With the Mac Cleaner and Uninstaller, select the apps in question and click the remove button.

Step 4. Backup Your Mac Hard Drive

Backing your Mac’s hard drive gives you the surety that your important files are safe. With the Time Machine app, follow the onscreen prompts to save your data to an external drive or iCloud. Whether it’s photos, passwords, contacts, notes, or calendars, there are no limits.

How to Install macOS Big Sur (Public Beta)

The Apple Beta Software Program goes in line with its mission of providing the best products and services to mac users. Joining the program as an Apple developer allows you to access macOS, iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS before the official release to test-drive and give your feedback.

To install the developer beta update:

  • Create a fresh backup of your Mac in case you need to restore later on
  • Head to Apple’s Public Beta website and sign up/into your account
  • Click ‘Enroll Your Devices’ and choose macOS
  • Scroll down and click ‘Download the macOS Public Beta Access Utility’
  • Choose ‘Allow’
  • Double click the beta utility.dmg in your ‘Downloads folder’
  • Finally, double click the pkg installer and follow the prompts

Note: only new users need to enroll their Mac.

How to Install macOS Big Sur (Official Release)

Once the official macOS Big Sur release is available, shifting from the Beta version should only take a few clicks. Open the Mac app store and search for ‘Big Sur.’ Open the Big Sur page and click ‘Get’ which will automatically open the Software Update panel under System Preferences asking you to confirm the download. Finally, click the ‘Download’ button and, once complete, follow the installation prompts to install the update.

And that’s it. The macOS Big Sur update is here. And while we’re still waiting for the official release, you can devour on the Public Beta version to have a feel of what to expect in a few months. The update is expected to bring numerous improvements and features, including design refurbishment and catalyst apps’ revamping.

The new update has been described as a merger of the macOS and iOS. The aim is to make the software more responsive and provide more functionalities to Mac users. The big safari update also seeks to make your browsing experience faster and customizable. What’s more, the control and notification centers feature redesigned buttons and improved functions.

Use the links and easy-to-follow steps to test the new features on the macOS Big Sur Beta version as you wait for the official release. Prepare, download, and install macOS Big Sur in minutes.

Thanks for the read!


PS, please check around our site for more useful Mac OS and Windows 10 guides.