Apple has previewed macOS Big Sur, the latest version of the its desktop operating system. Safari is packed with new features, including a customisable start page, elegantly designed and more powerful tabs, quick and easy translation, and a new Privacy Report. The updated Messages app lets Mac users send and receive more personal and expressive messages, and easily keep track of and interact within group messages. Maps also offers an all-new experience with immersive features for exploring and navigating the world.
“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. “With its modern and clean look, huge improvements to key apps including Safari, Messages, and Maps, and new privacy features, we think everyone is going to love the breakthrough experience that macOS Big Sur offers.”
Dubbed the “Biggest Design Upgrade Since the Introduction of Mac OS X”, macOS Big Sur delivers a spacious new design that makes navigation easier, while putting more controls at users’ fingertips. Everything from the curvature of window corners to the palette of colours and materials has been refined, and new features provide even more information and power. Icons in the Dock have been thoughtfully designed to be more consistent with icons across the Apple ecosystem while retaining their Mac personality. Buttons and controls appear when needed, and recede when they’re not. The entire experience feels more focused, fresh, and familiar, reducing visual complexity and bringing users’ content front and centre.
The customisable menu bar features an all-new Control Centre, delivering quick access to controls from the desktop. An updated Notification Centre includes more interactive notifications and redesigned widgets that come in different sizes, providing users with more relevant information at a glance. And a new design for core apps brings more organisation to multiple open windows and makes interacting with apps even easier.
Safari brings new features for greater personalisation while browsing the web. Users can customise the new start page with a background image and sections like their Reading List and iCloud Tabs. With built-in translation, Safari can detect and translate entire webpages from seven languages with just a click. Users can further personalise their experience with improved support for extensions, and the Mac App Store makes it easy to discover and download great Safari extensions with a new category that includes editorial spotlights and top charts.
Privacy has always been built into Safari, and a new Privacy Report delivers added visibility into how Safari protects browsing activity across the web. Users can choose when and which websites a Safari extension can work with, and tools like data breach password monitoring never reveal your password information — not even to Apple.
Messages on the Mac includes new tools to better manage important conversations and share expressive messages. Users can now pin their favourite conversations to the top of their messages list for fast access, and search has been entirely redesigned — organising results into links, photos, and matching terms — to help users quickly find what they are looking for.
Message effects let users add personality to their messages with balloons, confetti, and more. Users can now create and customise their Memoji on the Mac, and express themselves with Memoji stickers to match their mood and personality. And with a new photo picker and #images, it’s easy to quickly share images, GIFs, and videos.
New group messaging features streamline interactions with family, friends, and colleagues. Inline replies enable users to respond directly to a message, and now they can direct a message to an individual in a group conversation by simply typing their name. And users can now set a photo or an emoji for their group conversation that’s shared with all members of the group.
Completely redesigned for macOS Big Sur, Maps brings new features for exploring the world. Discover places to visit and things to do with Guides from trusted resources, or create custom guides of favourite restaurants, parks, and vacation spots that can be shared with friends and family. Get a 360-degree view of a destination with Look Around, and browse detailed indoor maps of major airports and shopping centres. Cycling and electric vehicle trips can now be routed on a Mac, and sent directly to iPhone to have when on the go.
Privacy is at the core of the Mac experience, and macOS Big Sur offers users even more transparency and control over their data. Inspired by the convenience and readability of food nutrition labels, new privacy information detailed in the Mac App Store will help users understand the privacy practices of apps before downloading them, including the types of data the apps might collect — such as usage, contact information, or location — and whether that data is shared with third parties for tracking.
Apple’s developer community of more than 20 million use the Mac to create amazing experiences for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Xcode 12 makes developing great apps for macOS easier than ever. SwiftUI gets a major upgrade so that developers can write entire apps with shared code across all Apple platforms, while easily adding custom Mac features like Preferences windows. And SwiftUI is used in even more places, powering the new widgets for Mac, iPhone, and iPad using shared Swift code.
Mac Catalyst, which debuted with macOS Catalina last year, has made it easy for developers to bring their iPad apps to the Mac. And in macOS Big Sur, Mac Catalyst apps automatically inherit the new look, while giving developers powerful new APIs and total control over the look and behaviour of their apps.
Developers can now also offer Family Sharing for their in-app purchases and subscriptions, and with support for the WebExtensions API, developers can easily bring extensions built for other browsers over to Safari.