Useful macOS Big Sur Features You Might Not Know

macOS Big Sur has been out for about a month now, but macOS releases never get quite as much attention as iOS releases, so there may still be some features that you're not aware of. In our latest YouTube video, we rounded up some useful but lesser known ‌macOS Big Sur‌ tips that are worth checking out.

  • AirPods Auto Switching - With ‌macOS Big Sur‌ and iOS/iPadOS 14, your AirPods will swap automatically to the device that you're using at the current time, with no need to manually change the device you're using them with. ‌AirPods‌ will work with iPhone, iPad, or Mac you're actively using and listening to audio on. It mostly works, but this feature seems to sometimes be buggy.
  • Drag and Drop Menu Bar Icons - If you open up the Control Center, you can click and drag on any of the options to add it to the menu bar. So if you want Do Not Disturb to have a one-click menu bar toggle, just drag it to the menu bar from Control Center. This works for Now Playing, AirDrop, DND, and more.
  • Enhanced Voice Memos - When you use Voice Memos in Big Sur, there's a new option to automatically reduce background noise and echo with a single click, useful when you're recording lectures or meetings. You can also use Smart Folders for improved organization.
  • 4K YouTube Videos - YouTube videos can be watched in 4K HDR in ‌macOS Big Sur‌ because the OS supports YouTube's VP9 codec. Note that 4K YouTube options are going to be limited to newer Macs by default, but there's a trick to enable them on older Macs. Enable the Develop menu in Safari settings, select Experimental Features, and make sure both VP9 Decoder and VP9 SW Decoder on Battery are enabled.
  • Resize Widgets - ‌macOS Big Sur‌ has a new widget interface, and if you right click on any widget that has sizing options, you can choose a new size.
  • Silent Notifications - On any incoming notification in the Today center, if you right click you can select "Deliver Quietly." This setting will prevent future notifications from that app from popping up on your screen, but you'll see them in the notifications list.
  • Message Effects - Messages in Big Sur is a lot more like the Messages app on iOS devices. You can use Message Effects to enhance messages, find GIFs and insert photos. Just click on the little "A" on the left of the text bar to see a dropdown list of the options.
  • Disable Tinting - Want a Dark Mode that's even darker or a Light Mode that's brighter? That's possible if you turn off window tinting. Open up System Preferences, choose General, and uncheck "allow wallpaper tinting in windows." With this disabled, windows won't be affected by the wallpaper that you're using.

For more on ‌macOS Big Sur‌, we have a detailed roundup with all of the features, plus a features guide highlighting what's most important, and a guide that has 50 must-know features.

Related Roundup: macOS Big Sur

Top Rated Comments

MacAddictPM Avatar
19 weeks ago
Your forgot the prolonged boot feature. ?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SirChristopher Avatar
19 weeks ago
AirPods auto switching works peeerfectly between my iPhone X and iPad Pro, but only works maybe 20% of the time switching with my 2015 iMac. And even when it does connect automatically, I still have to manually select AirPods as the preferred audio output from the Music app. Anyone else having this issue?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
d7d19285f0bd48 Avatar
19 weeks ago
The only "tip" or "trick" I have done to fixe one of the most horrible UI decisions (one of many) in Big Sur is fixing the menu bar. Specifically,

1) Take a screenshot of your desktop with all icons turned off.
2) Open screenshot in Preview and replace the menu bar with a "white" rectangle".
3) Set new desktop as edited screenshot.
4) Profit!!! Solid menu bar!!!

(Also fixed some icons....

Attachment Image

Attachment Image

Attachment Image
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ghanwani Avatar
19 weeks ago

.
I'm thinking I should set my password to your username.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
adrianlondon Avatar
19 weeks ago

Resize Widgets
Didn't know about that. Thanks!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
posguy99 Avatar
19 weeks ago

Yes, you can turn off auto switching.
Good. Have done. Thank you.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

april 2021 event coverage feature

Apple Event Live Coverage: New iPads, AirTags, and More Expected [Event Over]

Tuesday April 20, 2021 9:07 am PDT by
Apple's virtual "Spring Loaded" event kicks off today at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, with Apple expected to debut updated iPad models and perhaps some other hardware such as AirTags or iMac models based on Apple silicon. Apple is providing a live video stream on its website, on YouTube, and in the company's TV app across its platforms. We will also be updating this article with live blog...
m1 imac colors

Apple Announces Redesigned iMac With M1 Chip and Seven Color Options

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has announced a new, redesigned 24-inch iMac, featuring an M1 chip, a 4.5K display, and a range of color options, as well as an improved cooling system, front-facing camera, speaker system, microphones, power connector, and peripherals. The new iMac features a completely new compact design, and comes in a range of seven striking colors, including green, yellow, orange, pink, purple,...
iphone 12 preorder purple

Apple Launching iPhone 12 and 12 Mini in New Purple Color on April 30

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:08 am PDT by
Apple today announced that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will be available in a new purple color starting April 30, with pre-orders starting this Friday. Apple is also releasing a new MagSafe Leather Case and Leather Sleeve in Deep Violet, a Silicone Case in Capri Blue, Pistachio, Cantaloupe, or Amethyst, and a Leather Wallet in Arizona, all available to order beginning today. iPhone...
14

Apple Says iOS 14.5 Will Be Released 'Next Week'

Tuesday April 20, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Apple today in a press release about its new AirTag item tracker announced that iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 will be available starting "next week." iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 are packed with new features, including the ability for iPhone users who are wearing an Apple Watch to unlock the iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask. iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 will also be the minimum software versions...
ipad pro with m1 chip

Apple Introduces Next-Generation iPad Pro With M1 Chip, Thunderbolt, 5G, XDR Display, and More

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:40 am PDT by
Apple today announced the next-generation iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, Thunderbolt and USB4 support, 5G connectivity on cellular models with mmWave support in the United States, and more. With an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, Apple says the M1 chip in the new iPad Pro provides up to 50% faster performance and up to 40% faster graphics compared to the A12Z Bionic chip ...
f1618938547

Apple Announces AirTag Tracking Devices Starting At $29 Each

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today announced AirTag, a Tile-like Bluetooth tracking device that's designed to be attached to items like keys and wallets for tracking purposes, letting you find them right in the Find My app. AirTags are accessories for attaching to backpacks, luggage, and other items. Any U1 device like the iPhone 12 can be used for precision finding to guide you right to the item you're looking...
Ports 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature 1 copy

Stolen MacBook Pro Schematics Confirm Apple's Plans to Add More Ports and Remove Touch Bar

Wednesday April 21, 2021 10:31 am PDT by
Schematics stolen from Apple supplier Quanta Computer outline Apple's plans for the next-generation MacBook Pro models that are expected in 2021, and clearly confirm plans for additional ports and a return to MagSafe. MacRumors saw the schematics after they were leaked online, and some of them feature the logic board of the next-generation MacBook Pro. On the right side of the machine,...
iPad Pro

New 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Will Be 0.5mm Thicker to Accommodate Mini-LED Display

Monday April 19, 2021 11:30 am PDT by
The upcoming 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be thicker than the previous-generation version, likely due to the inclusion of the mini-LED display. We've heard several rumors about the change in thickness, and now leaked design images have confirmed it. A source that designs accessories for Apple devices sent MacRumors a series of photos that feature exact dimensions for the new iPad Pro models, and...
iPad Pro Feature Orange

Wedbush Analysts Say 'Spring Loaded' Event Will Debut New iPads With 'Modest Price Increase,' Along With 'a Few Surprises'

Monday April 19, 2021 6:37 am PDT by
Apple is planning to launch a new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Pro at its "Spring Loaded" event tomorrow, along with "a few surprises," according to Wedbush analysts. In a new note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analysts Daniel Ives and Strecker Backe explained that the iPad will be the main focus of Apple's "Spring Loaded" event, with new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and ...
maxresdefault

Apple Event 2021: Everything Apple Announced at Its 'Spring Loaded' Event in Just 6 Minutes

Tuesday April 20, 2021 4:23 pm PDT by
Apple today held its first event of 2021, and it was one of the most exciting events that we've seen in some time. Apple announced a whole slew of new products, including an M1 iMac, an M1 iPad Pro, a refreshed 4K Apple TV, and the long-awaited AirTags. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. It took Apple an hour to introduce all of the new devices during its virtual...