Apple Seeds New Public Beta of macOS Big Sur to Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded a new 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. The third beta release for public testers comes two weeks after the second beta, and a few days after seeding the sixth beta to developers.

macOS public beta 3 feature 1
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. Though labeled as the sixth beta, this is the third beta that Apple has provided to public beta testers.

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.

There are also smaller updates for apps like Photos, Music, and Home, with a full list of everything new in macOS Big Sur available in our roundup.

Top Rated Comments

MacHiavelli Avatar
18 months ago

I can't fathom why anyone would want to install these buggy public betas unless they just want to poke around to see what doesn't work. What's the rush?
Cos life is for doing, not waiting. Jump in, experience, enjoy.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ThatOneAwkwardGuy Avatar
18 months ago

I can't fathom why anyone would want to install these buggy public betas unless they just want to poke around to see what doesn't work. What's the rush?
You literally say you can't understand why anyone would do this, and then say why someone would do it...
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jlocker Avatar
18 months ago

Thanks for confirming the build number. No problem with that because I do not use SMB.


Good explanation there.
Thanks the best beta test that I performed was in 1985 when I had a customer who purchased a brand new 512k Mac with a serial number of 20 when I worked as an Apple certified level 2 repair engineer. The new version of the Mac was crashing. I called Cupertino CA and asked to talk to Apple engineering. Back in those days you could do that. They transferred me to Apple engineering and who do I get on the phone but Andy Herzfeld and told him of the problem. He said he was getting the same thing in his lab. He had just got done with the firmware code so he burned a eprom for me and sent it overnight so I could this this machine working. What great memories. :) Update complete on my Mac running 20A5364e version Big Sur.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
araadt Avatar
18 months ago

You got to make this decision yourself really. There are some people who have good experience with it and some with bad experience.
Also worth remembering that the ones with poor experiences are generally noisier then those where everything is fine.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jlocker Avatar
18 months ago

it's been really stable for awhile now. You still have to be careful if you are using third-party apps that haven't been updated. Like Google drive - no idea while google is so lazy, maybe they can't find any of your data to mine.

Id be cautious of those claiming it is buggy or as in one case "a crapshow". It definitely is not. I suspect they don't really run it, or they are not those who really should be in the beta program, or what. Of course you shouldn't be if this is your mission critical computer, and rely on third party apps. Read the instructions - they are pretty well done
I can tell you I have been beta testing Mac OS operating systems for 25 years and this has been stable. A couple of hiccups and used the feedback assist to report it, when I found it. That what a beta program is, work out the kinks :)
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jlocker Avatar
18 months ago

I can't fathom why anyone would want to install these buggy public betas unless they just want to poke around to see what doesn't work. What's the rush?
Well look at this way, lets say that you would be able to test drive a Tesla absolutely free for 9 months to help the manufacture work on the kinks in the cars hardware and software. Would you do it? Knowing also that you would be buying a new Tesla in 9 months so it would now be a better car on the road that you helped make it better.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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