macOS 11 Big Sur - Everything you need to know!

The Mac operating system macOS 11 Big Sur was presented by Apple at WWDC20 in June 2020. The release took place in November 2020 with the first MacBooks that had an "Apple Silicon" SoC, the then newly introduced M1 chip. The name "Big Sur" goes back to a stretch of coast in California, USA - Apple uses it since OS X 10.11 California natural landmarks for naming Mac systems. In this article you will find information about new functions in macOS 11, help with the download, tips for creating a boot stick, information about problems and troubleshooting as well as further knowledge about the system.

Find everything you need to know about macOS 11 Big Sur in this guide - list of compatible Mac models, info on download, installation, features and what's new, source for wallpapers, troubleshooting articles and more!
Find everything you need to know about macOS 11 Big Sur in this guide - list of compatible Mac models, info on download, installation, features and what's new, source for wallpapers, troubleshooting articles and more!

macOS 11 Big Sur – What's new in this Mac operating system?

One of the biggest innovations introduced with macOS 11 Big Sur is the orientation Apple silicon, the System on a Chip (SoC) developed by Apple itself. Big Sur came onto the market with the first MacBook Pro and MacBook Air that had such a SoC installed - the "M1". The 64-bit exclusive system also introduced APFS volumes that cannot be modified by users or malware because they are encrypted via the Secure Enclave or T2 chip (more details here). They also ensure easier installation of multiple systems and beta versions on one hard drive.

There was also a visual adjustment of the system including the dock and the grouping of notifications (push messages). There were also new features for individual apps on the Mac. Like you in this overview you can read in more detail, these include adjustments to Messages, Maps, Safari, and more. Mac Catalyst improves the experience of using iPad apps on the Mac. The Privacy Report also came to the Mac with Big Sur. The familiar from the iPhone and iPad control center also finally found its way to offer a more modern control. What is your favorite innovation? Please leave a comment!

Which Mac models are compatible with macOS Big Sur?

This operating system for Mac, iMac, MacBook, Mac mini and Co. is the first system that was (also) made for ARM chips like the Apple Silicon. It ran and still runs on older Apple computers that have an Intel chip, but by no means on all of them. Therefore, here is a list of older Mac models that compatible with macOS 11 Big Sur are:

  • Mac Pro 2013 (2nd generation Mac Pro)
  • Mac Pro 2019 (3nd generation Mac Pro)
  • Mac Mini 2014 (Macmini7,1)
  • Mac Mini 2018 (Macmini8,1)
  • iMac 21,5 inch (Mid 2014)
  • iMac 27 inch with 5K (Late 2014)
  • iMac 27 inch with 5K (Mid 2015)
  • iMac 21,5 inch (Late 2015)
  • iMac 21,5 inch with 4K (Late 2015)
  • iMac 27 inch with 5K (Late 2015)
  • iMac 21,5 inch (Mid 2017)
  • iMac 21,5 inch with 4K (Mid 2017)
  • iMac 27 inch with 5K (Mid 2017)
  • iMac 21,5 inch with 4K (2019)
  • iMac 27 inch with 5K (2019)
  • iMac 27 inch with 5K (2020)
  • iMac Pro from 2017
  • MacBook 12 inch (Early 2015)
  • MacBook 12 inch (Early 2016)
  • MacBook 12 inch (Mid 2017)
  • MacBook Air 11 inch (Mid 2013)
  • MacBook Air 13 inch (Mid 2013)
  • MacBook Air 11 inch (Early 2014)
  • MacBook Air 13 inch (Early 2014)
  • MacBook Air 11 inch (Early 2015)
  • MacBook Air 13 inch (Early 2015)
  • MacBook Air 13 inch (2017)
  • MacBook Air 13 inch (Late 2018)
  • MacBook Air 13 inch (2019)
  • MacBook Air 13 inch (2020)
  • MacBook Pro 13 inch (Late 2013)
  • MacBook Pro 15 inch (Late 2013)
  • MacBook Pro 13 inch (Mid 2014)
  • MacBook Pro 15 inch (Mid 2014)
  • MacBook Pro 13 inch (Early 2015)
  • MacBook Pro 15 inch (Mid 2015)
  • MacBook Pro 13 inch (Late 2016)
  • MacBook Pro 15 inch (Late 2016)
  • MacBook Pro 13 inch (Mid 2017)
  • MacBook Pro 15 inch (Mid 2017)
  • MacBook Pro 13 inch (2018)
  • MacBook Pro 15 inch (2018)
  • MacBook Pro 13 inch (2019)
  • MacBook Pro 15 inch (2019)
  • MacBook Pro 16 inch (2019)
  • MacBook Pro 13 inch (2020)
  • MacBook Pro 16 inch (2020)

How do I download macOS Big Sur?

As of February 11, macOS 2022 Big Sur isn't as easy to download as a suggested upgrade from the Mac App Store. Don't you want to go to even newer and automatically suggested systems, such as macOS 12 Monterey, then you can still download an installation file for Big Sur and create an installer. This is also still possible via the Mac App Store: View and download here.

After downloading the "Install macOS Big" (or similar name) you can right-click and display the package content, for example, the SharedSupport.dmg or InstallESD.dmg. Then you have macOS Big Sur as a DMG. Downloading a macOS Big Sur DMG or macOS Big Sur ISO from unsafe websites is not recommended.

If you still want to download the macOS 11 without the App Store, you can e.g. B. the trusted one ANYmacOS app use. These are available for free on the Website by the developer Sascha Lamprecht. With ANYmacOS you can download both public versions of Mac systems and beta versions. This works on Mac computers running macOS 10.10 or later, and for downloading systems running macOS 10.13.6 or later. 

Create a boot stick with macOS 11: Here's how!

Do you want to create a boot stick with the macOS 11 Big Sur Download to run the operating system e.g. B. on a Mac, iMac or MacBook without Internet access, then this is also possible with the ANYmacOS App. In addition to downloading, this offers the option of creating an installation medium with macOS Installer. So you can upgrade not just one, but several Macs without much effort, without having to download Big Sur individually. Just have a look at the article on the app linked above, there you will find all the details.

macOS Big Sur Wallpaper - Where can I find the desktop wallpaper?

Apple gives every new operating system for its computers at least one individual background image. For a number of years, this has included dynamic wallpapers that change with the time of day. The macOS Big Sur desktop background shows the aforementioned coastline by day and night. There is also a stylized macOS 11 wallpaper consisting of a mountain range of colored stripes and color gradients - also in light and dark.

If you want to download the original Big Sur wallpaper in high resolution, you can do so, for example, at The website of the "Every Default macOS Wallpaper" project has all the Mac's default wallpapers so far - you can view the whole thing and download the graphics with this link. By the way, other interesting projects of the site are the "Apple History Library" and the "Aqua Screenshot Library". Check it out ;)

Big Sur Upgrade: Problems and Solutions

No operating system comes onto the market 100% perfect. There are always small errors, bugs, compatibility problems with individual apps and other teething problems. This was also the case with macOS 11 Big Sur. It is now running pretty smoothly and there have been updates, patches and fixes for most errors and gaps in the past (as of February 2022). At the beginning, however, there were quite a few things to watch out for.

A summary of problems and suitable solutions regarding macOS Big Sur can be found here: macOS 11.0 Big Sur problems and solutions. In the linked article we have collected general and specific shortcomings, from the faulty download or the sluggish installation of the system to other small problems and errors. We were also able to present possible solutions to many of the points listed.

macOS Big Sur manuals and guides

Manuals, instructions and support documents are available free of charge from Apple, among others. You can find the digital offers on the website of the tech giant Cupertino and in the Books app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. So whether as individual advice websites and tutorials or as a complete eBook, you can read about the individual functions and settings in macOS 11 Big Sur for free.

In addition, there are also various guides and manuals, which are available in printed form and sometimes with more detailed descriptions and more screenshots. As a small compendium next to the calculator, these help to quickly find the right instructions with just a few pages. We recommend, for example, those by Anton Ochsenkühn and Philip Kiefer.

Your opinion on macOS 11 Big Sur

What are your thoughts on macOS 11 Big Sur for Mac computers? Is it a successful leap from the "OS X" or "macOS 10.x" systems to a new generation of systems for Apple computers? Did you quickly get used to the new look, the new functions and the further adjustments? Or do you have rather negative criticisms? Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on macOS 11! :)

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