Home Tek Gadget MacOS Big Sur preview: Five Things You Should Know Before Installing

MacOS Big Sur preview: Five Things You Should Know Before Installing

This is early release software, and as such you’ll probably run into some weird bugs or potential app compatibility. For example, Google’s Backup and Sync app crashed on launch every single time I tried to use it.

MacOS Big Sur preview: Five Things You Should Know Before Installing - SurgeZirc France
MacOS Big Sur preview: Five Things You Should Know Before Installing / Photo credit: Engadget

Apple first introduced macOS Big Sur back in June, lauding it with all the usual flowery language. The OS ushers in a new design language, which Apple’s SVP of software Craig Federighi described at the time as “the biggest change since the introduction of MacOS X,” way back in 2001.

But the update isn’t just about aesthetics. Some of the most important built-in Mac apps like Messages and Safari are getting major upgrades, while new UI elements like Control Center and a revamped notifications area promise to make some common tasks more efficient.

That all sounded great when Apple announced it, and I’m a sucker for a meaty software update, so I’ve been testing the public beta of macOS Big Sur for about two weeks now. While it’s not final software, there’s enough here for us to understand where Apple is taking the Mac over the next year.

This isn’t a comprehensive review, but rather a rundown of the things that stood out to me as the most important right. Once the OS arrives in its final form, we’ll take another look. But for now, these are the five most important things I noticed while using Big Sur.

It’s fairly stable and installation was easy — but you still probably shouldn’t use it on your main computer

This is early release software, and as such you’ll probably run into some weird bugs or potential app compatibility. For example, Google’s Backup and Sync app crashed on launch every single time I tried to use it.

I’m not worried; a developer as huge as Google should make sure these things are working before launch. But if you rely on that app, don’t install Big Sur. The rest of the experience has been pretty free of major bugs, though a few new features and apps aren’t quite fully baked yet, the redesigned Notification Center being first on my mind.

Fortunately, the installation was smooth. You just need to sign up for Apple’s beta program and download an installer that’ll walk you through the setup process. After that, it’s a 40-ish-minute wait, depending on your Mac. And make sure you back up your computer before going forward; just because the Big Sur beta has been mostly trouble-free for me, doesn’t mean you’ll be so lucky.

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