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
17 months ago
The iOS icons on MacOS are kind of yucky.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacFather Avatar
17 months ago
Deleted.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Feyl Avatar
17 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
17 months ago
iPadOS Pro :)
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mythos99 Avatar
17 months ago
I dont know if i like MacOS looking more and more like iPadOS.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zorinlynx Avatar
17 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 california streaming event

Apple Event Announced: 'California Streaming' on September 14 With iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7 Expected

Tuesday September 7, 2021 9:03 am PDT by
Apple today announced that it will be holding a special event on Tuesday, September 14 at 10:00 a.m. The event will take place at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with WWDC and last year's fall events, this new event will be held digitally with no members of the media invited to attend in person. Apple will likely provide pre-taped segments for...
iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived in October 2020 in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
maroon5memories

Apple Collaborates With Maroon 5 to Add 'Memories' Song to Photos App

Wednesday September 25, 2019 12:02 pm PDT by
Apple has teamed up with Maroon 5 to add the group's new song "Memories" to the Memories feature in the Photos app, allowing it to be used for photo slide show creations, reports Billboard. "Memories" will be available as a soundtrack option for a limited time and it is available to iPhone and iPad users running the latest iOS 13 and iPadOS software. Memories in the Photos app are created ...
affinity designer contour tool

Serif Updates Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher With New Tools and Functions

Thursday February 4, 2021 1:58 am PST by
Serif today announced across-the-board updates for its popular suite of Affinity creative apps, including Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and the Apple award-winning Affinity Publisher for Mac, all of which were among the first professional creative suites to be optimized for Apple's new M1 chip. "After another year which saw record numbers of people switching to Affinity, it's exciting to...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
Top Stories 75 Thumbnail

Top Stories: Last-Minute iPhone 13 Rumors, Apple Announces App Store Changes, and More

Saturday September 4, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The finish line is in sight! Apple's annual iPhone event is likely just a week or so away and all eyes will be on the company as it unveils the next version of its most popular product line. With any luck, we'll also see the next-generation Apple Watch and perhaps even some new AirPods. Other news this week saw Apple making some more changes to its App Store policies in response to a...
Top Stories 74 Thumbnail

Top Stories: iPhone 13 Nears Launch, Larger Apple Watch?, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini Rumors

Saturday August 28, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
August is rapidly drawing to close, which means Apple's annual iPhone launch event is right around the corner. iPhone 13 and Apple Watch Series 7 rumors are continuing to circulate, and we're also hearing about Mac updates likely coming a bit later. Apple is also finishing up work on its upcoming software updates like iOS 15, with some late-addition features starting to go live in beta while ...
iPhone 13 Wi Fi 6E feature update

Wi-Fi 6E Explained: What It Could Mean for iPhone 13 and Beyond

Monday August 2, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 is widely expected to come with Wi-Fi 6E capabilities, and while it may seem rather nuanced to the average consumer, with only improved speeds and being "up to date" in the realm of Wi-Fi technology, it's actually a fairly significant improvement, laying the groundwork for much of what we know the future holds. To truly understand Wi-Fi 6E, MacRumors sat down for an exclusive...