macOS 'Big Sur' Unveiled With Updated Design, New Features for Safari and Messages, and More

Apple today previewed the latest version of macOS, called "Big Sur," and Apple is referring to this update as the biggest update since macOS X. Big Sur introduces a new redesign, new features for Safari, updates to Messages, and more.

big sur macbook pro
Apple describes the new design as "spacious," that encourages easier navigation while putting more controls at the user's fingertips. Apple has refined everything from the curvature of window corners to the palette of colors and materials.

Dock icons were redesigned to be more consistent with icons across Apple's ecosystem, "while retaining their Mac personality." Overall, Apple says the new design reduces visual complexity and brings users' content front and center.

big sur close up
New to macOS is Control Center, which delivers quick access to controls right from the desktop. Notification Center has been updated with more interactive notifications and redesigned widgets in different sizes, matching the design of iOS 14.

For Safari, Apple is launching "the biggest update to Safari since its original launch in 2003." Tabs have been redesigned to make navigating Safari faster, with favicons displayed by default so it's easier to see where to click at a glance.

When opening Safari, users will browse a new start page. They can customize this area with a background image and sections like a Reading List and iCloud Tabs. While browsing Safari, foreign languages can be translated with built-in translation tools covering seven languages.

In terms of privacy, Safari now supports a new Privacy Report that delivers added visiblity into how Safari protects browsing activity across the web. Users will be able to choose when and which websites a Safari extension can work with.

big sur messages
In Messages, Apple has introduced pinned conversations and a refined search function. Screen effects are finally supported on macOS, and users will be able to create and customize their Memoji on a Mac. In conversations, there will be a new photo picker and #images support, making it possible to share GIFs on the macOS Messages app without a third-party app.

Group messaging features streamline conversations with inline replies and @mentions, making it easy to directly address someone, or a specific text, amid a large group. They can also set a photo or an emoji for their group conversation that's shared with all members of the group.

macOS Big Sur will be available this fall as a free software update. Ahead of that date, it's available to Apple Developer Program members today and a public beta will launch in July.

Related Roundup: macOS Big Sur

Top Rated Comments

redheeler Avatar
9 months ago
The iOS icons on MacOS are kind of yucky.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacFather Avatar
9 months ago
Deleted.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Feyl Avatar
9 months ago
Exactly what I expected. Horrible flat iOS look. They’re not even trying at this point.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
viettanium Avatar
9 months ago
iPadOS Pro :)
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mythos99 Avatar
9 months ago
I dont know if i like MacOS looking more and more like iPadOS.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zorinlynx Avatar
9 months ago
This trend to waste more and more screen area in the UI is really getting on my nerves.

Do they just want to sell bigger screens? It's maddening.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple transfer google photos 1

Apple Launches Service for Transferring iCloud Photos and Videos to Google Photos

Wednesday March 3, 2021 12:04 pm PST by
Apple this week introduced a new service that's designed to make it quick and easy for iCloud users to transfer their stored photos and videos to Google Photos. As outlined in an Apple support document, you can go to Apple's privacy website and sign in to see the "Transfer a copy of your data" option. If you select this and go through all the steps, Apple will transfer your iCloud photos and ...
rosetta 2

Rosetta May Be Removed From M1 Macs in Some Regions on macOS 11.3

Tuesday March 2, 2021 5:20 pm PST by
Installing the upcoming macOS 11.3 software update on an M1 Mac may result in Rosetta 2 being removed in one or more regions around the world. In the third beta of macOS 11.3 seeded to developers for testing today, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser uncovered new strings in the beta's code indicating that "Rosetta will be removed upon installing this update." Another new string reads "Rosetta ...
Screen Shot 2021 03 03 at 11

MagSafe Charging Port for iPhone Appears in Apple Patent

Wednesday March 3, 2021 1:30 am PST by
In a newly granted patent, Apple envisions a type of connectivity port using an iteration of its magnetic MagSafe charger to charge an iPhone, potentially paving the way for a future without Lightning. Submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday (via Patently Apple), the patent outlines a three-pinned MagSafe charger, similar to the ones found in older MacBook...
Oled iPads and MackBook Pro

OLED 10.9-Inch iPad Rumored for Early 2022, 12.9-Inch iPad Pro and 16-Inch MacBook Pro Could Follow

Thursday March 4, 2021 8:37 pm PST by
Earlier today, DigiTimes shared a preview of an upcoming report claiming that Apple is working on both iPad and Mac notebook models with OLED displays that could launch starting in 2022. The full report from DigiTimes is now available, and it includes several new alleged details about Apple's plans. According to the report, the first of these devices to adopt an OLED display is likely to be...
OLED iPad Pro and MacBook Pro

iPad and MacBook Models With OLED Displays Rumored to Launch in 2022

Thursday March 4, 2021 8:19 am PST by
Apple plans to release new iPad and MacBook models with OLED displays in 2022, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The information was shared in the site's paywalled "Before Going to Press" section, so there are no further details yet, but the full report should be released by tomorrow. Apple has gradually increased its adoption of OLED...
iPad mini pro feature

Sketchy Rumor Claims 'iPad Mini Pro' Launching in Second Half of 2021

Wednesday March 3, 2021 3:04 am PST by
Apple is expected to launch a sixth-generation iPad mini in the first half of 2021, possibly as soon as this March, based on long-standing rumors. However, a new rumor out of Asia that has gained traction in the last 24 hours suggests an "iPad mini Pro" will arrive in the second half of this year. According to a post on Korean blog Naver, whose rumor track record is unknown, the device...
maxresdefault

What's on Your iPhone Home Screen?

Thursday March 4, 2021 10:31 am PST by
Over on our YouTube channel, MacRumors videographer Dan has a new video up where he shares his Home Screen, wallpaper, and all of his current favorite widgets. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Check out Dan's video to see his setup, and then comment below and show us your own Home Screens. It's always fun to see other peoples' Home Screens, and with widgets and...
apple pencil 3 leak

New Apple Pencil Allegedly Leaks With Glossy Finish and Redesigned Tip

Wednesday March 3, 2021 6:17 am PST by
Images supposedly depicting a third-generation Apple Pencil have been shared on Twitter by the leaker known as "Mr. White." The purported new Apple Pencil appears to share a very similar design to the current, second-generation Apple Pencil, which is shorter than the previous version and charges inductively on the side of an iPad. The updated Apple Pencil appears to have a glossy...
apple watch ecg wrist

Apple Watch ECG Feature Gets Approved in Australia

Wednesday March 3, 2021 2:07 am PST by
The Australian government has approved ECG functionality on the Apple Watch, giving Apple the all-clear to launch the feature for Apple Watch users in the country, according to a regulatory document first spotted by The 8-Bit. Earlier last month, the Apple Watch's irregular heart rhythm notification received approval in Australia, although ECG did not. Irregular heart rhythm is a feature...
PIA23764 RoverNamePlateonMars web

NASA Mars Perseverance Rover Uses Same PowerPC Chipset Found in 1998 G3 iMac

Tuesday March 2, 2021 3:21 am PST by
NASA's Perseverance rover, which recently made history landing on the surface of Mars, is powered by the same processor used in an iMac more than 23 years old. Image Credit: NASA As reported by NewScientist (via Gizmodo), the rover includes the PowerPC 750 processor, the same chip used in the G3 iMac in 1998. The main chipset is the same; however, there are differences between the...