macOS Big Sur: The End of OS X
“End of an Era”
Apple previewed macOS Big Sur in its Online WWDC 2020 Keynote. Big Sur is a familiar yet different macOS. With this edition of macOS, Apple finally leaves OS X behind. Apple is now finally moving towards macOS 11.0 with after almost 20 years.
“macOS Big Sur is a major update that advances the legendary combination of the power of UNIX with the ease of use of the Mac, and delivers our biggest update to design in more than a decade,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.
Let’s take a look at some of the new features Apple announced for its latest and greatest macOS 11.0.
Apple gave a beautiful design refresh for macOS with Big Sur. The design refresh makes navigation easier. Visual changes are quite striking with this version from curved window corners to the color palette used over the entire Operating System.
Apps now feature a fully streamlined experience with the content of the app presented at the front and center. This was made possible with the addition of full-height sidebars and newly designed toolbars.
Redesigned Dock: Yah or Nay?
Apple refreshed the dock with macOS Big Sur. Now the Dock has more curvature at corners to match the design elements of the UI.
Icons in the dock are completely redesigned to be more consistent with the icons of the iOS and iPad OS.
But many didn’t like the new dock icons overhaul including Tech YouTuber MKBHD referring to new icons “ I do not like the new icons in the dock.” in his new video.
New Control Center
macOS Big Sur features an all-new Control Center. By looks, it looks like it was ripped straight out of iPad OS and placed in macOS. The new control center allows users to customize and pin favorites to the menu bar.
Users can now instantly toggle Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other most-used settings straight from the new control center.
The new notification center now will support interactive notifications and newly redesigned widgets.
Safari gets an Upgrade
Apple finally gave Safari the biggest change in years. Users finally can change the background image and customize the startup page sections. You can pin your favorite websites at the top of the startup page.
Tabs have been entirely redesigned in the new Safari to make navigating faster. Now the tabs display favicons by default to easily identify open tabs. Users get a quick preview of a page by simply hovering over the tab. Much like Microsoft Edge’s tab hover preview.
The Mac App Store now has a dedicated section featuring all the supported safari extensions in one place. Apple announced a new WebExtensions API tool to make it easier for developers to easily migrate their extensions from other browsers. Safari now supports web page translation. It currently supports 7 languages.
Apple boasted safari as the best desktop browser with great battery life and 50% faster than chrome. Well, that’s quite a big statement.
Safari has a builtin Tracking Prevention system to identify and block trackers across the web. There is a new privacy report giving you a little insight into how safari is blocking trackers from websites.
Apple gave full control of extensions to the users. Now users can choose when and which websites a Safari extension can work with.
Safari also has a builtin password monitoring tool to detect and protect when your saved password has been compromised in a data breach. Users will get notified when this happens. Safari will present an option to defend and update your passwords.
Messaging on Mac Just got Better
Messages app on macOS Big Sur gets a new refreshing design. Users can now pin up to 9 of their favorite conversations to the top of the list for easy access.
Many visual elements will make the experience more fun. All the pinned conversations will get synced with other devices using iMessage.
macOS Big Sur brings a new photo picker to Messages, making it easy to quickly share images, GIFs, and videos.
With macOS Big Sur, users can now create and customize their Memoji on the Mac and express themselves with Memoji stickers to match their mood and personality. And users can now set a photo or an emoji for their group conversation that’s shared with all members of the group.
The new app features inline conversations to reply directly to specific conversations in a group or personal conversations. Mentions are an easy way to direct your message to a specific person in a group chat.
The new macOS will be available for MacBook released in 2015 and later, MacBook Pro released in 2013 and later, iMac — 2014 and later, Mac Pro — 2013 and later, MacBook Air — 2013 and later, Mac Mini — 2014 and later, iMac Pro — 2017 and later.
With OS X left behind, Apple is looking to make the macOS 11 a staple in the desktop operating system market. These slew of new features will make macOS an efficient and more user-friendly macOS than ever. macOS also comes with big privacy improvements and other under the hood changes.
Apple even announced that they will be transitioning its upcoming Mac lineup with its own silicon from intel chips. And promised that new apple silicon powered Macs will be available later this year. That's going to be a treat to witness.