Apple Seeds Second Beta of macOS Big Sur to Developers

Apple today seeded the second beta of macOS Big Sur to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after releasing the first beta following the Worldwide Developers Conference.


The macOS Big Sur beta can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center and once the appropriate profile is installed, subsequent betas will be available through the Software Update mechanism in System Preferences.

As with all of the new betas, Apple recommends not installing ‌macOS Big Sur‌ on a primary machine because it is early release software and could have major bugs.

macOS Big Sur brings a refreshed design to the Mac operating system, overhauling the entire look from the curvature of the window corners to the dock icons to the system sounds.

Everything feels fresh but familiar, with a lighter and more modern appearance. There's a new customizable Control Center that mirrors the Control Center on iOS devices, putting key system controls right at your fingertips.

The Notification Center has been redesigned with iOS-style widgets that are available in multiple sizes, plus there are more interactive notifications that are now grouped by app to make it easier to see what's going on.

Safari is faster and more battery efficient, plus there's a new start page that can be customized with wallpapers and sections that include Reading List and iCloud Tabs, which makes Safari more tailored to your individual usage needs.

Tabs have been redesigned, there's a built-in language translation feature, and Chrome and Firefox Extensions can be ported to Safari. There's also an option to choose which sites an extension works with for greater privacy. Speaking of privacy, a new Privacy Report feature lets users know the trackers Safari is blocking when you visit websites.

Messages is now more similar to the Messages app on iOS with support for pinned conversations, mentions, inline replies, and Memoji creation, plus the built-in search feature has been overhauled to make it easier to find links, photos, and conversations in the app.

Apple redesigned the Maps app to add support for Look Around, indoor maps, and Guides, which are lists of notable attractions, restaurants, and more created by trusted sources. Maps can also be used to generate directions for cycling routes and electric vehicle trips that can be sent to iPhone, and shared ETA updates are now viewable on the Mac.

Photos has a better Retouch tool, Apple Music's For You section has been replaced with a Listen Now section, HomeKit Secure Video cameras support Face Recognition and Activity zones, and Siri can answer a wider range of questions than before.

As of macOS Big Sur beta 2, Apple Pay support is available for Mac Catalyst apps. Developers will now be able to easily get ‌Apple Pay‌ up and running in Mac Catalyst apps. From the iOS 14 release notes: "‌Apple Pay‌ support is now available to Mac Catalyst apps. Two methods have been added to existing delegate protocols. No changes are required for iPad apps, but one or both of these methods must be implemented when building for Catalyst."

In the future, the macOS Big Sur App Store will help users better understand privacy practices with clear info on the information that an app collects, and after installing macOS Big Sur, you'll see faster updates that begin in the background and then finish more quickly to make it easier to keep your Mac up to date.

For more on everything that's new in macOS Big Sur, make sure to check out our roundup.

Related Roundup: macOS 11 Big Sur

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
15 weeks ago
The only question on everyone's mind is: DID THEY FIX THE BATTERY ICON
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 weeks ago


You forgot one of the biggest under the hood change.

The locked state of Big Sur.

Are you going to come to every Big Sur thread to try and scare people about the 'locked' state? I develop software all day long and have been doing my daily development on Big Sur without issue. Brew, terraform, java, golang, etc... all work just fine. If you're upset that Big Sur prevents your pet kernel extension by default, then unlock the SIP and move on. Repeating it's locked over and over is trying to make an issue out of something that is a non-issue for the very large majority, and an improvement security wise.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 weeks ago


What on earth could they be including that makes it almost a 10GB update file Jesus

new icons.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 weeks ago


I'm lost; what's wrong with the Big Sur battery icon? It looks fine to me.

It looks like this in system preferences, and it's atrocious.


Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 weeks ago


Follow the herd, or maybe you could get updates on here? Just a thought.

Yes, only one person in the world should download the beta and they should exclusively test and give feedback.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 weeks ago


not showing the month, you know the month

Speak for yourself, with Covid-19 sometimes I'm not even sure what year it is anymore. ;)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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