Apple Seeds Second Beta of macOS Big Sur to Developers

Apple today seeded the second beta of macOS Big Sur to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after releasing the first beta following the Worldwide Developers Conference.


The ‌macOS Big Sur‌ beta can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center and once the appropriate profile is installed, subsequent betas will be available through the Software Update mechanism in System Preferences.

As with all of the new betas, Apple recommends not installing ‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌ on a primary machine because it is early release software and could have major bugs.

‌macOS Big Sur‌ brings a refreshed design to the Mac operating system, overhauling the entire look from the curvature of the window corners to the dock icons to the system sounds.

Everything feels fresh but familiar, with a lighter and more modern appearance. There’s a new customizable Control Center that mirrors the Control Center on iOS devices, putting key system controls right at your fingertips.

The Notification Center has been redesigned with iOS-style widgets that are available in multiple sizes, plus there are more interactive notifications that are now grouped by app to make it easier to see what’s going on.

Safari is faster and more battery efficient, plus there’s a new start page that can be customized with wallpapers and sections that include Reading List and iCloud Tabs, which makes Safari more tailored to your individual usage needs.

Tabs have been redesigned, there’s a built-in language translation feature, and Chrome and Firefox Extensions can be ported to Safari. There’s also an option to choose which sites an extension works with for greater privacy. Speaking of privacy, a new Privacy Report feature lets users know the trackers Safari is blocking when you visit websites.

Messages is now more similar to the Messages app on iOS with support for pinned conversations, mentions, inline replies, and Memoji creation, plus the built-in search feature has been overhauled to make it easier to find links, photos, and conversations in the app.

Apple redesigned the Maps app to add support for Look Around, indoor maps, and Guides, which are lists of notable attractions, restaurants, and more created by trusted sources. Maps can also be used to generate directions for cycling routes and electric vehicle trips that can be sent to iPhone, and shared ETA updates are now viewable on the Mac.

Photos has a better Retouch tool, Apple Music’s For You section has been replaced with a Listen Now section, HomeKit Secure Video cameras support Face Recognition and Activity zones, and Siri can answer a wider range of questions than before.

In the future, the ‌macOS Big Sur‌ App Store will help users better understand privacy practices with clear info on the information that an app collects, and after installing ‌macOS Big Sur‌, you’ll see faster updates that begin in the background and then finish more quickly to make it easier to keep your Mac up to date.

For more on everything that’s new in ‌macOS Big Sur‌, make sure to check out our roundup.

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Developer’s Visual Comparison of macOS Catalina and Big Sur Offers Deeper Look at Apple’s UI Redesign for Macs

macOS 11 Big Sur is the next major release of Apple’s operating system for Mac, and following its preview at WWDC, one of the biggest discussions has revolved around the all-new user interface redesign.

Andrew Denty
Developers are still learning what the impact the new UI will have on their apps, and with that in mind, app designer Andrew Denty has compiled an extensive visual comparison of the user interface changes between macOS Catalina and macOS Big Sur.

All of the screenshots are taken on a default install of macOS and the Catalina version is always on the left. I made a conscious effort not to resize any windows or change any default settings. I haven’t captured everything, but it is a good taste of the changes so far.

The side-by-side comparisons cover changes to Finder, Preview, System Preferences, the menu bar, Notification Center, Safari, Calendar, Contacts, Reminders, Notes, Photos, Apple Music, Podcasts, and many other native apps.

Andrew Denty


Overall, Denty’s takeaway is that the UI differences in Big Sur aren’t as dramatic as he first thought, consisting of a “largely incremental set of changes to make macOS feel more coherent with iOS and iPad OS.”

That said, he thinks Apple “still has a vast amount of work to do to perfect the new macOS UI” before it exits the beta, and he hopes to see more consistency in the launch experience of apps, as well as more visual separation in elements like status bars and path bars, which he admits “look a little unloved” and don’t yet feel properly integrated.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Big Sur is available for developers at the current time, but Apple also plans to make a beta available for public beta testers in July, followed by an official release in the fall. What are your thoughts on the redesigned UI? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to check out our Big Sur roundup.

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Safari in macOS Big Sur Works With 4K HDR and Dolby Vision Content From Netflix on Newer Macs

WWDC20 Rumor Report Card: Leaked iOS 14 Features, Arm-Based Macs, and More

WWDC was held online this year, but it was still packed with announcements, including iOS 14, iPadOS 14, macOS Big Sur, watchOS 7, tvOS 14, and Apple confirming its long-rumored plans to transition to its own custom-designed processors for future Macs. Sadly, there was no sight of a redesigned iMac, but that is still on the table for later this year.
With so many rumors shared every week, it …

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Hand and Body Pose Detection in iOS 14 Will Provide New Ways to Interact With Your iPhone Without Touching the Display

Starting in iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur, developers will be able to add the capability to detect human body and hand poses in photos and videos to their apps using Apple’s updated Vision framework, as explained in this WWDC 2020 session.


This functionality will allow apps to analyze the poses, movements, and gestures of people, enabling a wide variety of potential features. Apple provides some examples, including a fitness app that could automatically track the exercise a user performs, a safety-training app that could help employees use correct ergonomics, and a media-editing app that could find photos or videos based on pose similarity.

Hand pose detection in particular promises to deliver a new form of interaction with apps. Apple’s demonstration showed a person holding their thumb and index finger together and then being able to draw in an iPhone app without touching the display.


Additionally, apps could use the framework to overlay emoji or graphics on a user’s hands that mirror the specific gesture, such as a peace sign.


Another example is a camera app that automatically triggers photo capture when it detects the user making a specific hand gesture in the air.

The framework is capable of detecting multiple hands or bodies in one scene, but the algorithms might not work as well with people who are wearing gloves, bent over, facing upside down, or wearing overflowing or robe-like clothing. The algorithm can also experience difficulties if a person is close to edge of the screen or partially obstructed.

Similar functionality is already available through ARKit, but it is limited to augmented reality sessions and only works with the rear-facing camera on compatible iPhone and iPad models. With the updated Vision framework, developers have many more possibilities.

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iPhone and iPad Apps Coming to Macs With Apple Silicon, Developers Can Manage Availability in App Store Connect

Apple today shared a video with more details about the availability of iPhone and iPad apps on future Macs with custom Apple processors.


Macs with custom Apple processors will share the same Arm architecture as iPhones and iPads, meaning that they will be able to run many iOS and iPadOS apps without any modifications or recompilation. Like traditional Mac apps, these iPhone and iPad apps will be distributed through the Mac App Store, with in-app purchase options carrying over.

A notice in Apple’s developer portal says that all new and existing compatible iPhone and iPad apps will be made available in the Mac App Store on Macs with Apple silicon, unless developers uncheck the “iOS App on Mac” box in App Store Connect. There is no obligation for developers to extend their iPhone and iPad apps to the Mac.


Following years of rumors, Apple confirmed its plans to switch to custom processors for Macs during its WWDC keynote this week, promising industry-leading performance per watt. Apple said it plans to ship the first Mac with its own silicon by the end of the year and complete the transition in about two years.

Apple said that it will continue to support and release new versions of macOS for Intel-based Macs for years to come, and it also confirmed that it still has some new Intel-based Macs in development in the interim.

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macOS Big Sur Adds Battery Usage History and Brings Back Remaining Battery Estimates

macOS Big Sur does away with the “Energy Saver” section of System Preferences, replacing it with a new “Battery” section that expands the battery reporting capabilities of the Mac.


A new Usage History feature provides details on the Mac’s battery life over the course of the last 24 hours or the last 10 days, broken down into Battery Level and Screen On Usage so you can see how your battery is performing.

There does not appear to be a detailed rundown on which apps used the battery the most as there is on iOS, but it does provide a better look at how the battery is being consumed over time.

Along with the Usage History section, there are Battery and Power Adapter sections that replace the functionality that was previously available through Energy Saver. You can choose when to turn the display off, enable or disable power nap, and more, with the settings split for battery usage and usage when connected to power. The schedule feature is also present.


In the menu bar, clicking the battery icon now provides an estimate of remaining battery life, a feature that was removed from macOS Sierra back in 2016. At the time, Apple said that the battery life indicator in macOS Sierra was inaccurate and led to confusion about battery performance.


The menu bar battery icon also displays apps that are using significant energy, as in macOS Catalina, and it provides an option for opening up Battery Preferences. There does not appear to be an option to display current battery life percentage right in the menu bar, however.

‌macOS Big Sur‌ is limited to developers at the current time, but Apple plans to make a public beta available this July ahead of when the software sees a full release in the fall.

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macOS Big Sur Brings Back Startup Chime

macOS Big Sur, the newest version of Apple’s operating system designed for Macs, brings back the classic startup chime that was eliminated from the MacBook lineup in 2016.


The sound was removed from the 13 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models that were released in 2016, as those models booted up when opened or connected to a power source, making the sound unnecessary. There was a method for reenabling the sound through Terminal, but it was a hassle. In ‌macOS Big Sur‌, the chime that sounds when starting up a Mac has returned, as demoed below.


The chime is the same as the chime that used to sound on older Macs, and those who were fond of the sound for diagnostic purposes or will be pleased about its return.

Though turned on by default, if the sound isn’t working, ‌macOS Big Sur‌ users can make sure it’s enabled by going to System Preferences > Sound and checking “Play sound on startup.” Likewise, those who do not prefer the sound can turn it off here.

In other sound related updates, as noted on the MacRumors forums, Macs with MagSafe connectors once again play a sound when the cable is connected to the Mac to signal a successful connection. USB-C Macs have long had this feature, but it has been missing for older Macs that use MagSafe.


To go along with the redesign in ‌macOS Big Sur‌, system sounds throughout the operating system have been redesigned to sound “more pleasing to the ear.” Apple created the new sounds based on snippets of the original, so everything should sound familiar but fresh.

We’ll have a hands-on look at ‌macOS Big Sur‌ and the new sounds later this week, so make sure to stay tuned to MacRumors.


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Network Utility Deprecated in macOS Big Sur

Apple has deprecated its long-standing Network Utility app in macOS Big Sur, with the app no longer functioning in the first developer beta.


Network Utility provided information and troubleshooting tools to help users check their network connection, view routing tables, trace network traffic paths, check for open TCP ports, and more. Since the release of macOS Mojave, the app had been rather hidden under System > Library > CoreServices > Applications.

Network Utility’s functionality can still be replicated with Terminal commands, and for Wi-Fi issues, Apple says to use the Wireless Diagnostics app.

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List of Macs Compatible With macOS Big Sur

Apple today previewed macOS Big Sur with redesigned interfaces such as the Dock and Notification Center, the addition of a Control Center, several improvements to core apps like Safari and Messages, and much more.



macOS Big Sur is available in beta for registered Apple developers starting today, with a public beta to follow next month. The free software update will be released to all users with a compatible Mac in the fall, according to Apple.

Macs compatible with macOS Big Sur:

  • 2015 and later MacBook
  • 2013 and later MacBook Air
  • Late 2013 and later MacBook Pro
  • 2014 and later iMac
  • 2017 and later iMac Pro
  • 2014 and later Mac mini
  • 2013 and later Mac Pro

Accordingly, the following models capable of running macOS Catalina will not be able to be upgraded to macOS Big Sur:

  • 2012 and Early 2013 MacBook Pro
  • 2012 MacBook Air
  • 2012 and 2013 iMac
  • 2012 and 2013 Mac mini
Related Roundup: macOS Big Sur

This article, “List of Macs Compatible With macOS Big Sur” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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