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.

Related Forum: macOS Big Sur

Top Rated Comments

MacHiavelli Avatar
45 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
45 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
45 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
45 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
45 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
45 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)

Popular Stories

General Apps Messages

Apple Announces 'Groundbreaking' New Security Protocol for iMessage

Wednesday February 21, 2024 6:00 am PST by
Apple today announced a new post-quantum cryptographic protocol for iMessage called PQ3. Apple says this "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks." Apple believes the PQ3 protocol's protections "surpass those in all other widely deployed messaging apps," according to its blog post:Today we are announcing...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Monday February 19, 2024 6:52 am PST by
Apple last month confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU and Apple Podcasts transcripts. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay later this year. More details about the new...
iPhone Notch

Apple Explored These Notch and Dynamic Island Designs for iPhones

Friday February 23, 2024 2:05 pm PST by
With the iPhone 14 Pro models in 2022, Apple introduced the Dynamic Island, which can morph and expand to display system alerts, sports scores, and a variety of other information. The feature makes the space surrounding the front camera and Face ID sensors useful compared to the notch on older iPhone models. Apple explored a variety of ideas for the iPhone's notch area over the years before...
Oled iPads and MackBook Pro Notch

Apple's OLED Roadmap: New iPad Mini, Foldable iPad Pro, and More

Wednesday February 21, 2024 5:29 am PST by
Apple is planning to launch at least nine new devices with OLED displays across the iPad and MacBook product lines, according to an updated forecast from research firm Omdia that sets out the company's plans in detail. As widely rumored, Apple's push to transition to OLED will apparently be jump-started by the release of new 11- and 13-inch iPad Pro models this year. The displays will...
Next Generation CarPlay Porsche 1

Apple Launching Next-Generation CarPlay This Year With These New Features

Wednesday February 21, 2024 2:03 pm PST by
Apple recently updated its website to confirm that the first vehicle models with next-generation CarPlay support will debut "in 2024." This wording is shown on Apple's regional websites for the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries. The iOS 17.4 beta includes code-level references to eight new CarPlay apps:Auto Settings: This app will let you manage paired iPhones...
cracked glass vision pro

Handful of Apple Vision Pro Units Develop Identical Crack in Cover Glass

Friday February 23, 2024 4:46 am PST by
A small number of Apple Vision Pro owners have claimed that their headsets developed a hairline crack down the middle of the front cover glass, despite having never been dropped or mishandled. Photo of hairline crack in Vision Pro front glass (credit: Reddit user Inphenite) The first report was posted in the subreddit /r/VisionPro about 18 days ago, and several more have appeared in the last...
iPad Pro OLED Feature 2

Apple's Upcoming OLED iPad Pro Models Rumored to Be Much Thinner

Tuesday February 20, 2024 1:39 pm PST by
Apple is planning to update the iPad Air and iPad Pro lineups as soon as March, and the new iPad Pro models will be significantly thinner according to dimensions shared by 9to5Mac. Citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans, the site claims that the larger version will be more than 1mm thinner. The current 12.9-inch iPad Pro measures in at 6.4mm thick, but the new model is said to be 5mm ...