macOS Big Sur (11.0) - should I install the update?

Install macOS Big Sur?

Tomorrow, Thursday, November 12.11.2020th, XNUMX, it should macOS Big Sur update according to Apple's PR department. For this reason, my reader Martin wrote to me and asked whether it was sensible and risk-free to install the update right away.

Sir, I read your blog every week and I find it very interesting and useful. Tomorrow is coming - according to press releases - Big Sur. Question: how safe is it? Do you write anything about it? My Mac is: MacBook (Retina 13 ', mid 2014), that should work, right? Kind regards, Martin

By the way, Apple is also heralding a new “big” version number with Big Sur. The upcoming update would actually be macOS 10.16, but since we also have a major change in macOS with the switch to M1 processors, Big Sur is listed by Apple as macOS 11.0.

"Should I install Big Sur tomorrow?", This question is answered here ...
“Should I install Big Sur tomorrow?”, this question is answered here…

Backup obligation - prescribed by Sir Apfelot!

After I had soooo many readers for the Catalina update who installed the macOS update without a backup and then had problems, I decided that from now on each of you must have a backup - preferably even two or three!

So, before anyone clicks on an update tomorrow, I would like to show you the three ways I use to "come back" in case of doubt.

Time Machine Backup

With Time Machine, Apple already offers a good backup solution that is particularly helpful when I want to retrieve a folder or file. Unfortunately, the Time Machine backups fail more often when you want to reset your entire Mac. There have already been some reader reports that Time Machine left out in the rain in an emergency.

To activate Time Machine, you have to go to the Mac's system settings and open the "Time Machine" panel.
To activate Time Machine, you have to go to the Mac's System Preferences and open the "Time Machine" panel there.

That said, Time Machine is a good thing because the service is always running in the background and also saves versions of files. This means that you can restore a file or an entire folder in different temporal versions.

How do you find and set up a hard drive for Time Machine, I have here in the post described. You can activate Time Machine under System Settings> Time Machine.

1: 1 copy - a bootable backup

Before I install a major macOS update, I always do a bootable backup Carbon Copy Cloner. But you can too Smart backup or SuperDuper use.

In the next few days I will write instructions on how to do this exactly, but usually the thing is as simple as that:

  • choose an external hard drive that is at least the size of your startup volume
  • opens Utilities > Disk Utility
  • deletes the external hard drive and selects "APFS" as the format and "GUID partition table" as the scheme
  • Now you open the backup program of your choice and set your start volume as the source and the freshly deleted external hard drive as the target
  • Start backup
The hard disk for the 1: 1 backup must be formatted in the "APFS" format before use.
The hard disk for the 1:1 backup must be formatted in “APFS” format before use.

When the backup is done, we check if it works:

  • To do this, restart the Mac and hold down the ALT key while booting to get to the startup manager
  • If there is no startup you choose the backup volume to boot from
  • now please check everything and see that the backup worked
  • so that you do not continue to work in the backup, restart the Mac, hold the ALT key and select the normal hard drive in the startup manager

Now you have a backup, from which you can boot in the worst case to restore the old system or to copy the entire hard drive back to the startup volume.

Online backup with Backblaze

The third backup solution, which also always works in the background for me, is the service of Backblaze. Whenever you are not doing anything on the Mac, the app sends your data encrypted to the cloud service Backblaze. If something in your data is defective, you can download entire folders or files again via the Backblaze online portal.

The advantage of Backblaze is that even your external hard drives are included in the backup. As long as the hard drives can be seen on the Mac every now and then, the backups are retained. The space on Backblaze is unlimited and existing backups are only deleted if Backblaze has not "seen" the corresponding hard drive for 30 days. Before that, you will be made aware of this several times by email.

For $ 60 a year, Backblaze gives you unlimited backup space - I haven't found a better deal anywhere.
For $ 60 a year, Backblaze gives you unlimited backup space - I haven't found a better deal anywhere.

I've never had an emergency for Backblaze, but as a test I deleted some folders and was able to restore them easily through Backblaze.

If the going gets tough, Backblaze even packs your data on a hard drive and sends it to you - for a bearable surcharge - via FedEx Overnight.

USB flash and hard drive restores are built with the data you request and then shipped to an address of your choosing via FedEx Overnight or FedEx Priority International. USB flash restores cost $ 99 and can contain up to 128 GB (110,000 MB of data) and USB hard drive restores cost $ 189 and can contain up to 4TB max (3,500,000 MB of data). Both include the cost of shipping.

Backblaze costs $ 60 a year. For me this is an acceptable amount that allows me to sleep more carefree. If you would like to register with Backblaze (30 days test period), I would be happy if you goes through this link, because I then receive a small commission. I don't recommend the service because of the commission, but because I think it's really good and I use it myself.

Just read: For $ 2 more a month, you can even get the versioning feature that backs up all versions of the files.

I'm looking forward to trying macOS 11 on my MacBook Pro. There are many interesting features, but unfortunately a user interface that takes getting used to.
I'm looking forward to trying macOS 11 on my MacBook Pro. There are many interesting features, but unfortunately a user interface that takes getting used to.

Backup taken care of - can I install macOS Big Sur now?

Generally, yes. If you are willing to invest a little time and can live with the fact that there are bound to be a few niggles, you should take a look at Big Sur. We'll probably see each other in the one that has already been prepared Articles on macOS Big Sur problems and their solutions.

Thanks to the 1: 1 backup, you can quickly return to macOS Catalina in the event of major problems.

For production systems: wait for 11.0.2 or 11.0.3

If you work with your Mac every day and can't afford time out for recovery orgies, you should definitely refrain from updating to macOS 11. From various sources you can hear that the last release candidate of macOS Big Sur is still anything but smooth. So there is a high probability that there will be a few teething problems.

Personally, I accept small things, but if, for example, my printer or document scanner no longer works, then the red line has been crossed for me. I hope this is not the case, but this is the first thing I check after the update.

It is safer if you sit out the first update and wait a few weeks until Apple publishes the first bug fixes with macOS 11.0.2 or macOS 11.0.3. With these updates, the serious teething problems are usually resolved and you can - only with a backup! –Dare to install the new system on a production Mac.

As I could just read, Apple published the Release Candidate 11.0.1 a few hours ago. For this reason I assume that we will start with version 11.0.1 tomorrow when it starts.

My conclusion: adventurers install and the security-conscious wait

In principle, the answer to Martin's question can be broken down to this statement: You should only make an update if you have at least a 1: 1 clone of the system hard drive so that you can restore your system to its old state if necessary.

If the backup is available and you are adventurous, you install macOS Big Sur on Thursday. If you prefer to be on the safe side, you should wait a few more weeks until the first bug fix updates are released.

What about with you? Are you going to install macOS Big Sur? Leave me a comment when you've made up your mind.

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11 Responses to “macOS Big Sur (11.0) – should I install the update?”

  1. Hi Jens,

    good contribution. Since I bought a new M1 Mac yesterday that comes with Big Sur, I also thought about what should I do?
    My old Mac is no longer getting an update.
    I think I'll first restore the new one with Catalina and then see what happens to Big Sur. Backups are made either way. On several plates. You never know…



    1. Hello Pablo! That's a good idea too. I don't think I have the heart to install an old Catalina on my beautiful new M1 Mac. I don't even know if that works. But would be a good topic for a post. LG!

      1. Hi Jens,

        sure, that would be illogical because the new OS is optimized for it, but I don't know how and whether I can get my Catalina data on the new Mac. Will the migration assistant do it right?

        1. Hello Pablo! The migration assistant usually works quite reliably. But he needs ETERNAL. I had it once when I switched to Catalina and went to bed at some point. The next day he was finished at some point. Either I had a bad WLAN or he is calculating too much on the data. No idea. : D

    2. Hi Pablo, you won't be able to install Catalina on an M1 Mac. It has never been possible to install an OS that appeared before the Mac's release date.

      1. Hey Pulia,

        I was expecting that, yes. And it's also logical. I'm curious what solution I have now, pictures and documents are not the problem, but all the software I have bought is more. At some point you get the settings as you are used to. It will be fun for sure ... ;-)

  2. The caption "The hard drive for the Time Machine backup must be formatted in APFS format before use." is unfortunately wrong - for Time Machine NOT APFS, but "Mac OS extended journaled". APFS should only go in Big Sur as a TM target.

    1. Hi Michael! You are 100% right. I took the screenshot for the 1: 1 backup and then unfortunately packed the text underneath for Time Machine. It's good that I have such attentive readers. : D will be corrected in a moment!

  3. I've been with macOS 11 Big Sur since the first beta and was able to install the GM (Golden Master, version 11.0.1) the day before yesterday. Everything is going well, and there are no problems with the TM from the start.

    1. Hello Froyo! I heard otherwise from Beatrix (a programmer who comments here from time to time). Some larger development studios have also made critical statements about Big Sur, for example “Bombich software“. I think it's always a very individual thing. It felt like a lot of people had problems with macOS Catalina, but everything went great for me right from the start. You just can't predict how your Mac will behave. Basically, the following rule applies: The newer the Mac and the fresher the system, the fewer problems you should have.

  4. macOS 11 Big Sur comes with me only on a Mac mini - and there only on a virtual machine.
    I haven't done any experiments since the experience with Catalina and stay with Mojave on my work Macs. I have largely optimized Mojave and it runs extremely quickly, for example without unwanted photo analysis background processes that cost so much performance and for which Apple is increasingly allowing less control.

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