Is it worth upgrading from macOS Mojave to Big Sur?

The new Mac operating system macOS 11.0 Big Sur will appear soon, replacing macOS 10.15 Catalina. Whether the upgrade from the current OS to the upcoming OS for the Apple Mac is worthwhile, I've already seen that shown in a post. The following paragraphs are about skipping the current version and upgrading from macOS 10.14 Mojave to Big Sur. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach? And on which Mac models is this even possible? I answer these and other questions in this guide. Do you have a question on the topic, please leave a comment;)

Is Mojave to Big Sur worth upgrading? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the transition from macOS 10.14 to macOS 11? Here is an overview of all new features and restrictions.

Is Mojave to Big Sur worth upgrading? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the transition from macOS 10.14 to macOS 11? Here is an overview of all new features and restrictions.

MacOS Mojave and macOS Big Sur compatibility

Before you ask yourself whether you should upgrade your Mac, iMac or MacBook from Mojave to Big Sur, you have to answer the question of whether this is even possible. In the following I have listed the Apple computers on which the two operating systems from 2018 and 2020 run. Looking at the intersection compatible with Big Sur, some Mojave machines fall out. At the end of the lists you will find my detailed advice articles on the topic.

Compatible with Big Sur Compatible with Mojave
  • MacBook 2015 and newer
  • MacBook Pro late 2013 and newer
  • MacBook Air 2013 and newer
  • iMac 2014 and newer
  • iMac Pro 2017 and newer
  • Mac Pro 2013 and newer
  • Mac mini 2014 and newer
  • Guide
  • MacBook 2015 and newer
  • MacBook Pro mid 2012 and newer
  • MacBook Air mid 2012 and newer
  • iMac late 2012 and newer
  • iMac Pro 2017 and newer
  • Mac Pro 2010 & 2012 with Metal GPU and newer
  • Mac mini late 2012 and newer
  • Guide

From Mojave to Big Sur, iTunes becomes music and podcasts

As with the transition to macOS 10.15 Catalina, when updating from macOS 10.14 Mojave to macOS 11.0 Big Sur it should be noted that iTunes disappears from the Mac. The app called “Music” is then available for listening to music, podcasts are available in the “Podcasts” app and multimedia content can be found in the “TV” app. The distribution of the content when switching from one operating system to another happens automatically. Synchronization takes place via the iCloud account. In addition to films and series that were previously available via iTunes, the TV app also offers the option of Apple TV + to use for streaming.

Changed user interface: Mojave vs. Big Sur

An operating system should not only work somehow, but should also be user-friendly and not be visually cluttered. That's why Big Sur has been designed to be slimmer, some things have been completely revised and several details have been adjusted. For example, app symbols (icons) in Big Sur are displayed as uniformly designed tiles. They also appear more spatial due to the shading. All adjustments in the user interface can be found in the linked comparison of Catalina and Big Sur. It is also important to mention at this point that several native apps have narrower toolbars, more inconspicuous sidebars and simpler menu icons.

Big innovation: Control Center in macOS Big Sur

It's not just the Catalyst function, via which iPad apps can be used on the Mac, that brings Apple's stationary and mobile operating system closer together. With macOS 11.0 Big Sur comes the well-known from the iPhone and iPad control center on Mac, iMac and MacBook. Whether screen brightness, volume of the speakers or headphones, WLAN, Bluetooth, AirDrop or other system settings - everything can be called up clearly here. Frequently used buttons and controls can be dragged and dropped from the control center onto the menu bar for faster access.

More security and data protection: Mojave vs. Big Sur

The digital security of users, also and especially with regard to data protection, is very important to Apple. In the upcoming Mac operating system, you will be asked whether apps are allowed to access certain folders, cloud services and external drives. There is also a message when an app takes a screenshot, creates a log with keyboard entries or other inputs or outputs are saved. Notes can also be locked with passwords and the App Store displays a data protection report for each app that is offered, which explains which data and file types are required. So you can z. B. See before the installation whether an app asks the location or something similar.

Safari in comparison: Big Sur is better than Mojave

If you can update your Apple Mac from macOS 10.14 Mojave to macOS 11.0 Big Sur, you will also get a brand new Safari web browser. This not only shows previews of websites when you hover the mouse cursor over a tab, but also the privacy report. This provides important information on data protection for the page (s) called up. In addition, the start page can be designed more individually, for example with its own background image. Despite these many improvements, faster performance with less power consumption is promised. This is particularly interesting if you want to install and use Big Sur on a MacBook (Pro / Air). 

Maps, news, and more on macOS Big Sur

When switching from Mojave to Big Sur, in addition to the changes already mentioned, there are also redesigns and improvements in the "Maps" and "Messages" apps as well as in features such as "Siri" and "Spotlight" (macOS search function). Favorites can be saved in maps, guides can be created and shared, and the shared locations of contacts can be viewed. The “Look Around” feature is also coming to the Mac. The messaging app is increasingly becoming a messenger with group chats, pinned conversations, memojis, stickers, GIFs and so on. There is a lot more information on app and function improvements in the Comparison of Catalina and Big Sur.

When shouldn't I upgrade to Big Sur?

The upcoming OS for the Apple Mac offers many advantages, of course. Perhaps you left your Mac on Mojave and omitted Catalina because you could lose certain functions with an upgrade. Because macOS 10.14 is the last system for the Mac that 32-bit apps or corresponding drivers are supported. With an upgrade, the use of some programs and peripherals could become impossible. Printers and scanners are some examples, although here is a workaround over ViewScan can be tried. If you really want or have to use Big Sur, but still have access to 32-bit apps, then you can Install or emulate Mojave in parallel.

When should I wait to install Big Sur?

If you only use 64-bit apps and know from your printer, scanner and other accessory manufacturers that they offer drivers for Big Sur, then there are hardly any obstacles. Microsoft Office and software from other major providers should also get an update with the release of Big Sur. You should wait if an indie app that is important to you cannot be updated promptly by the developers. The waiting at work computers can also be worthwhile, as there are teething problems with pretty much every upgrade of the Mac that only need to be patched after a few days or weeks. You can find examples here:

Conclusion and another source on Big Sur

When comparing Mojave vs. Big Sur, it can be said that the system announced for autumn 2020 will bring many improvements and innovations. However, this can only be used stress-free if all programs are playing and drivers can be kept up to date. But if you don't use a retro setup with indie apps that are no longer maintained by the developers, the upgrade shouldn't be a problem. What you can expect in addition to the content shown here, you can look up on the Apple website. Because there is already a preview of Big Sur: Just click here. What is your opinion on the topic? Feel free to leave a comment :)

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13 comments

  1. Nicolas says:

    Even if I come out here as old-fashioned and not very keen to experiment, I am more than happy with an extremely stable Mojave, especially after almost exclusively disaster reports about Catalina in my environment ...

    Let's see how Big Sur develops, I remain suspicious

    • LeMerlot says:

      I agree with Nicolas: With Mojave, I have a system that has been optimized to the highest levels and I regularly use Dragon Dictation, for example, in my workflow.
      I will leave it that way for the next few months - and calmly see what the community's experience with Big Sur will be.

  2. Denis says:

    Mojave is a very good system. I can understand why to wait for now. By the way, Mojave is already splitting iTunes into music, podcasts and TV.
    The author should research again and please adapt the article as soon as possible.

    Nevertheless, I have bravely installed the Big Sur beta and am pleasantly surprised at how stable it is on my Mac Mini (2014 with SSD upgrade). But I'm also a long way from being a pro user. ????

    • sir appleot says:

      Yes, I can break a lance for Mojave too. But the statement that the split to the apps music, books and podcasts came with Mojave is simply wrong. That's right here in the article. Source: Apple itself. I think I'll definitely install Big Sur ... alone to be able to write up-to-date posts for my blog. ;-)

    • Macopa says:

      Nice that you are doing well, I actually have to struggle with some bugs,
      e.g. I can no longer change the desktop background and WLAN does not work either,
      there are also problems with the Apple ID
      Hardware Mac Mini I5 2.6Ghz 8GB RAM
      I have problems with both Catalina and Big Sur, only Mojave is stable.

      • Jen Kleinholz says:

        Hello Macopa! Oh, of course that's not nice. Did you install the system over your old one or did you "freshly" set it up? I've read that if you take over old data, you tend to have more problems. If you make everything fresh, it should work.

  3. Lutz S says:

    I have a Macbook Pro 2012, unfortunately Bir Sur doesn't work there. I also enjoyed testing the betas under Catalina and everything was stable.

  4. Joachim Thalman says:

    Sorry - outside of the topic. Nonetheless, this gendering annoys me. If so, then please complete: "If you only use 64-bit apps and know from your printer, scanner and other accessory manufacturers that they offer drivers for Big Sur, then there are hardly any obstacles. Microsoft Office and software from other large providers should also get an update with the release of Big Sur. You should wait if an indie app that is important to you cannot be updated promptly by the developers. - My suggestion: just leave the shit and read what has been a generic masculine for centuries.

  5. eric says:

    Hi Jens,
    actually I have already installed Big Sur on an iMac desktop device as a trial and am relatively enthusiastic, ie. if, like me, you are far from pushing the system to its limits, you will quickly be enthusiastic. My actual research concerns the storage requirements for Big Sur, on the desktop 1TB SATA disk the free storage space was upgraded from 890 GB to 875 GB, agree, does not matter, but if I do that on my main work device McBook Air 125GB basic storage, what then?

    lG
    eric

    • Jen Kleinholz says:

      Hello Eric! I've read a couple of times that running out of hard drive space while doing the installation can be problematic. I would therefore recommend relocating some data to an external hard drive before installing, then clean the internal hard drive properly until at least 50 GB are free. And only then would I install Big Sur. Then you can safely empty the trash again to remove system residues or via the apple menu on "About this Mac", then "Hard drives" and then "Manage". There are the items "Optimize memory" and "Reduce chaos", with which you can tidy up your Mac. That might get a few GB out as well.

  6. Marwa says:

    I have the MacBook Pro 2014, Mojave, the most important thing for me is the battery, do you advise me to upgrade or not? Thanks for your efforts

    • Jen Kleinholz says:

      I would wait a few more weeks because the new MacBook Pro models with the second generation of Apple silicon chips will be available soon. But even the first version is significantly more energy efficient than any Intel chip. It is therefore definitely worth upgrading to a new MacBook Pro. The battery life will be significantly better than the 2014 MBP.

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