Apple today seeded the first beta of the upcoming macOS 11 Big Sur update to its public beta testing group, allowing non-developers to give the software a try ahead of its public release this fall.
Beta testers who signed up for Apple’s beta testing program can download the macOS Big Sur beta through the Software Update mechanism in System Preferences after installing the proper profile.
Mac users who want to be a part of Apple’s beta testing program can sign up to participate on the beta website, which gives users access to iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS betas. Potential beta testers should make a full backup before installing macOS Big Sur, and it may not be wise to install the update on a primary machine because betas can be unstable.
macOS Big Sur introduces a refined design for the macOS operating system, which is more similar to iOS but immediately familiar to Mac users with tweaks to window design, color palette, app icons, system sounds, menu bars, and sidebars.
The update brings Control Center to the Mac for the first time, providing quicker access to system controls for things like volume, keyboard brightness, screen brightness, Wi-Fi connection, and more.
An updated Notification Center includes more interactive notifications and redesigned widgets that mirror the new widgets in iOS 14. Notifications are now grouped by app, and you can customize which widgets show up.
Safari has a new customizable start page, built-in translation, and a Privacy Report feature that lets you know which trackers each website is using to follow you across the web. There’s a new Mac App Store category for extensions, and you can now control the specific sites that extensions are able to work with for more privacy.
The Messages app for Mac has been overhauled to bring it more in line with the Messages app for iOS and it supports features like pinned conversations, mentions, inline replies, Messages effects, and Memoji creation and Memoji stickers. Search is also better to make it easier to find old conversations, photos, links, and more.
A redesigned Maps app in macOS Big Sur adds support for Look Around, indoor maps, Guides, and Shared ETA updates, plus it can be used to generate cycling routes and routes with charging stops for electric vehicles, which can be sent to iPhone.