MacOS Big Sur: Find out if your Mac is compatible with Apple’s new operating system


You can download the MacOS Big Sur public beta now, if your Mac is compatible.


This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

Apple’s latest Mac operating system, MacOS Big Sur will arrive on Thursday, Apple executives said at a virtual event on Tuesday. At the event, Apple unveiled new Mac computers running Big Sur and powered for the first time by the company’s own M1 silicon chips

Big Sur — first announced at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June — includes major updates to the Safari web browser, and refreshed Maps and Messages apps (we’ve rounded up some of the best new MacOS Big Sur features and how to use them here). If you just can’t wait until Thursday, you can try out the new operating system today by downloading the MacOS Big Sur public beta — here’s how to download it to your device. (You can also download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 now, too.)

Big Sur represents the biggest design update since OS X was first released almost 20 years ago, Apple executives said during WWDC. The new OS includes tweaks to the curves of the window corners, dock icons and colors of the user interface. But a lot of it looks pretty familiar: The same Photos design from iPadOS comes to MacOS, as do many of the app updates that we’ll get in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. The control center in the menu bar, widgets and notification center are more sophisticated-looking, too.

If you do buy a new MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or Mac Mini with the M1 chip, MacOS Big Sur is optimized to run on these machines. Apps will run faster and more smoothly, Apple executives said during the event, and you’ll also see increased device security. 

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Whether you’re looking to test-drive MacOS Big Sur now or waiting until it’s generally released on Thursday, you’ll need to have a compatible Mac to run the new OS. Here are all the models of Macs that can run MacOS Big Sur, according to Apple: 

For more, check out our hands-on look at the MacOS Big Sur public beta

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