Apple Releases Ninth Beta of macOS Big Sur to Developers

Apple today seeded the Ninth beta of an upcoming macOS Big Sur update to developers for testing purposes, a week after releasing the eighth beta and more than two months after the new update was unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

macOS dev beta 9 feature 1
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.

macOS Big Sur introduces 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, Chrome and Firefox Extensions can be ported to Safari, and YouTube supports 4K video playback. 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 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 includes 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.

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.

Top Rated Comments

fenderbass146 Avatar
25 months ago

8 betas (9 now) and they didn’t fix the fan issue with the MacBook Pro 16-inch when connected to an external monitor. At this point I’m ready to give up and sale this piece of c.... machine.
Your gonna sell your machine because beta software isn’t ready for production machines? Just think how stupid what you said is.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MikhailT Avatar
25 months ago

IDK, they have some point. Apple controls the hardware and software - you'd expect them to work together perfectly.

I don't think "beta" excuses it. Mac OS X is over 20 years old - it should be rock steady by now. They shouldn't be having these regressions that take 10+ betas released over the course of 4 months to work out. There's major questions about what on earth Apple's software development practices look like that they produce so many bugs for so few improvements.
In a perfect world, that is how it should be. But in the real world, it doesn't work like that. macOS is some large number of factor more complicated than it is 5, 10 or 15 or 20 years ago. There are tens of millions of line of codes that constantly get updated and more complicated with various conditions that is difficult to test.

Big Sur isn't a minor update. Internally, it has massive file system changes such as the crypto-sealed read-only system volume for an example. That actually can complicate a lot of things. IIRC, it also changes how Time Machine works to back up to APFS system. Source: https://eclecticlight.co/2020/06/29/apfs-changes-in-big-sur-how-time-machine-backs-up-to-apfs-and-more/

Last year, they split the entire file system into two logical volumes without showing it as such to users. That's not even as easy as it sounds.

Two or three years ago (can't recall exactly), they've migrated everyone to a complete new file system without any serious issues.

If you go back 5 years and then compare it all at once, it has been going through a lot of massive changes internally. It just feels like minor update because we're only comparing it to the last year instead of going back further.

They're prepping the _entire_ codebase for Apple Silicon migration, that's their main focus.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sdz Avatar
25 months ago

8 betas (9 now) and they didn’t fix the fan issue with the MacBook Pro 16-inch when connected to an external monitor. At this point I’m ready to give up and sale this piece of c.... machine.
You know, what "Beta" means?
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr. Dee Avatar
25 months ago
I still believe the mammoth work of targeting two different CPU architectures is likely what’s leading to the unstable state and prolonged beta. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a few more betas.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Goldfrapp Avatar
25 months ago
Getting close. But even beta 8 was still super buggy.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Anuba Avatar
25 months ago
Would love a public beta without SMB issues, external storage issues and audio glitches, then again it's not like anyone forced me to install a beta.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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