Introduction to macOS Big Sur

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Unveiled in June 2020 at the Apple WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference), as a virtual conference only due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Cupertino company’s latest operating system heralded the end of the version 10 line-up and introduced macOS 11: Big sur.

While the world was in the middle of a lockdown and things were looking pretty scary. Apple took to the virtual airways to announce its newest operating system: macOS Big Sur.

The unveiling caused quite a stir. chiefly due to the fact that Big Sur is the biggest update the company has adopted since the initial release of Mac OS X. back in 2001. Virtually every aspect of the operating system has seen an overhaul, from minor elements such as the curvature of window corners, colours and icon designs, through to major changes to its core apps.

The new design is set to blur the lines between iOS and its desktop brethren, while adding a new, fresh feel to the OS; while at the same time keeping it familiar for former macOS users. Not an easy task but one that Apple has managed to achieve in impressive detail.

The End of the X​

With Big Sur being macOS version 11, we finally leave behind the legacy of OS X: an operating system that has seen its fair share of changes over the years. OS X itself was a huge impact in technology terms in 2001, pushing Apple into nearly two decades of world-leading OS and User Interface design. Whichever way you look at it, you can't deny the hefty presence and affect it has had on other operating systems throughout its lifespan.

In-Iine with the major changes within the core of the operating system. Apple has designed Big Sur to look and feel more like an iPad, within reason of course. In the near-future, the company will be releasing its range of Macs using the Arm processor and the changes in Big Sur will reflect the upcoming hardware alterations — thankfully. Big Sur will still be compatible with most of the previous Intel-based Macs since
2015 and even a select few models from 2013.

Evolution over Revolution​

Technology has evolved and together with it so have the operating systems we use daily macOS Big Sur is the culmination of the two, combining a best of both worlds approach to mobile and desktop life. It's a bold step forward and one we’re sure you’ll come to appreciate and enjoy the more you use this amazing operating system.


While some would argue that cosmetic upgrades aren’t important, many users love the redesigned interface and top-to-bottom design that, as we've already mentioned, feels more like iOS. It‘s friendly while being useable, easy on the eyes while still providing the user with the power necessary to get the job done and it’s familiar while having considerable upgrades to enhance performance, privacy and encryption.
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MacOS X History​

macOS has quite an illustrious history. Here’s a quick recap from OS X through to Big Sur and how the operating system has evolved over time and with the ever-onward march of technology.


Version: Mac OS X 10.0
Codename: Cheetah
Date: March 24th, 2001

Steve Jobs famously said “We made the buttons on the screen look so good, you'll want to lick them," when describing the new Aqua User Interface with the release of Mac OS X. While we may not have licked them, they were certainly new, fresh and good to look at.


Version: Mac OS X 10.1
Codename: Puma
Date: September 25th, 2001

Less of a functional update with Puma and more of a performance
enhancement. Puma introduced better handling of optical disc burning, file management and improved responsiveness throughout.


Version: Mac OS X 10.2
Codename: Jaguar
Date: August 23rd, 2002

The release of Jaguar saw a new Apple logo (the large grey version), better search functionality and Universal Access. iChat and the
Address Book were also introduced with this version.


Version: Mac OS X 10.3
Codename: Panther
Date: October 24th, 2003

We saw Safari becoming the default Internet browser with the launch of Panther, alongside Expose and some much-needed performance enhancements.


Version: Mac OS X 10.4
Codename: Tiger
Date: April 29th, 2005

One of our favourite new versions of Mac OS X. Tiger was a hefty release with over 200 new features, including Apple TV, Spotlight and Dashboard.


Version: Mac OS X 10.5
Codename: Leopard
Date: October 26th, 2007

Leopard was a long time coming but when it did it brought with it one of the most impressive leaps in desktop technology. Time Machine, Boot Camp and full 64-bit support were all introduced in 2007’s OS.


Version: Mac OS X 10.6
Codename: Snow Leopard
Date: August 28th, 2009

Another two years apart and Snow Leopard brought us the Mac App Store, 64-bit apps and many more refinements that made it an excellent upgrade for those wanting more from their Macs.


Version: Mac OS X 10.7
Codename: Lion
Date: July 20th, 2011

Apple adopts this whole cloud thing back in 2011, with theintroduction of iCloud alongside a number of refinements, performance enhancements and core OS improvements.


Version: Mac OS X 10.8
Codename: Mountain Lion
Date: July 25th, 2012

Despite the fact that the world was set to end in 2012, it didn't stop Apple from adding a lot of enhancements to 2011’s Lion. This is one of the first OS X versions to start integrating iOS perks.


Version: Mac OS X 10.9
Codename: Mavericks
Date: October 22nd, 2013

The first OS X not to be named after a big cat, instead a surfing location in North California, Mavericks introduced Maps, Books
and iCloud Keychain encryption technology.


Version: Mac OS X 10.10
Codename: Yosemite
Date: October 16th, 2014

Yosemite was an impressive upgrade, with a new sleek look and design that’s paved the way for better iOS and OS X interaction — which culminates eventually with Big Sur.


Version: Mac OS X 10.11
Codename: El Capitan
Date: September 30th, 2015

There were various improvements introduced with El Capitan, including dual-window functionality and Split Views alongside an upgraded Safari, Mail and other apps.


Version: macOS 10.12
Codename: Sierra
Date: September 20th, 2016

Many see Sierra as the version that finally killed of OS X, since the OS is no longer referred to as Mac OS X and is from this point on known as, macOS. Siri is introduced with this version and support for the Apple Watch.


Version: macOS 10.13
Codename: High Sierra
Date: September 25th, 2017

High Sierra was more of a performance improvement rather than an upheaval of the apps. The main reason for the increase in speed in the OS is down to the use of the Apple Fie System and video standard HEVC.


Version: macOS 10.14
Codename: Mojave
Date: September 24th, 2018

Dark Mode and Dynamic Desktop were the two main updates on everyone's lips with the release of Mojave. Visual improvements aside, we also see some iOS apps being migrated across in the form of News, Home, Voice Memos and more.


Version: macOS 10.15
Codename: Catalina
Date: October 7th, 2019

Catalina put the cat among the pigeons, with Apple dropping 32-bit apps. However, the move proved to be a good one in the long run, with better performance throughout.
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macOS Big Sur System Requirements​

If you’ve got a new Mac then don’t worry, you’ll most likely already have macOS Big Sur pre-installed. However, if you’re looking to upgrade from an older OS version, then let’s see if your Mac can run Big Sur.
  • MacBook Models: 2015 and later
  • MacBook Pro Models: Late 2013 and later
  • MacBook Air: 2013 and later
  • iMac: 2014 and later
  • iMac Pro: 2017 and later
  • Mac mini: 2014 and later
  • Mac Pro: 2013 and later
Remember: Apple can’t possibly support its hardware indefinitely.
Some of Big Sur’s newer features will need better processors in order to work and in general the older the machine is the less powerful it will be.
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