How to Install the New Big Sur macOS Right Now

How to Install the New Big Sur macOS Right Now

macOS 11 Big Sur has finally dropped for real. Here’s how to download and install it.

macOS 11 Big Sur features

macOS is all about integration and fluidity between Apple devices. It’s getting many of the new upgrades that iOS 14 is, such as Widgets, Maps, Message features and the Notification Centre.

This is probably because macOS is being primed to accommodate Apple’s new Apple Silicon chipset, which support iOS and iPadOS apps natively once its rolled out.

The Menu Bar and Sound Controls have also been reworked so they’re easier to interact with. Some brand new Mac Catalyst apps are also available on macOS 11.

You can read more about the new Big Sur and Safari features here.

How to install Big Sur

After months of testing, Big Sur is now out of beta and can be installed for free on compatible devices. It went live in Australia today at 5am AEDT.

Once the update is available in your region you should receive a notification on your Mac. You can also check for an update in System Preferences.

The other thing you can do is head to Apple’s website and download it from there.

Of course, you also have the option to err on the side of caution. There could still be bugs that need to be worked out so it might be worth waiting to see if any crop up over the next week before installing.

In the very least, you should back up your data before you proceed, just in case. If you’re not sure how to, Apple has explainers here.

Big Sur compatible Macs

Here’s a list of all the Macs that can run mac OS 11:

  • MacBook  — 2015 and later
  • MacBook Air — 2013 and later
  • MacBook Pro — 2013 and later
  • Mac mini — 2014 and later
  • iMac — 2014 and later
  • iMac Pro — all models
  • Mac Pro — 2013 and later

For some of us, Big Sur isn’t quite as new because we got involved in the public beta… and even a little earlier than that. You can read more about that and how we installed it below.

macOS 11 public beta

The public beta was supposed to go live in July. Ah well, better late than never. Now that’s been released, this is how you can get it on your Mac.

Firstly, make sure you back up your Mac first! If you’re not sure how to, Apple has explainers here.

Now you’re ready to head over to Apple’s public beta website. If you don’t already have an account — sign up!

Once you’re in, hit ‘enrol your devices’ and choose ‘macOS’. Scroll down and click on ‘Download the macOS Public Beta Access Utility’. Click ‘Allow’ to start the download.

In your downloads folder double click the macOSDeveloperBetaAccessUtility.dmg. This will open a new folder. Double click the pkg file inside it. Follow all of the prompts.

A software update folder should automatically launch. If it doesn’t go to Preferences > Software Update. At the top it should show the Big Sur public beta. Hit the ‘upgrade’ button. The beta should start installing. It’s a 9.5GB file so have some patience.

Next you’ll start the installation process. Hit ‘Continue’  and agree to the licensing agreement. Hit ‘Install’ and connected to a power source if you need to. Follow the prompts and installation will begin. Follow the prompts and installation will begin. The system will restart once its done. It’ll take a little while to finish the install so don’t stress about this.

Some of us already had it…

Some of us… maybe already had Big Sur and have been running the public beta since WWDC. Sites like Beta Profiles let you get your hands on MacOS beta versions  quickly and simply. This is how it was done at the time,

Installing the Big Sur public beta before it was official

First, we backed up our stuff. Apple has explainers  on how to do that here.

From there you need to download the macOS 11 beta from Beta Profiles onto your Mac of choice. A prompt will ask if you want to really download it. Hit ‘Allow’.

From there it’s exactly the same process as the public beta.

In your downloads folder double click the macOSDeveloperBetaAccessUtility.dmg. This will open a new folder. Double click the pkg file inside it. Follow all of the prompts.

A software update folder should automatically launch. If it doesn’t go to Preferences > Software Update. At the top it should show the Big Sur public beta. Hit the ‘upgrade’ button. The beta should start installing. It’s a 9.5GB file so have some patience.

Next you’ll start the installation process. Hit ‘Continue’  and agree to the licensing agreement. Hit ‘Install’ and connected to a power source if you need to. Follow the prompts and installation will begin. The system will restart once its done. It’ll take a little while to finish the install so don’t stress about this.