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.

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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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Top Stories: WWDC20 Brings iOS 14, macOS Big Sur, watchOS 7, Apple Silicon, and More!

Now that WWDC week is winding down, it’s good to take a step back and look at all of the biggest announcements and smaller details, as Apple had an awful lot to say about its operating systems, the direction of future Mac hardware, and more.

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While we didn’t get any new hardware launches, Apple certainly made an impact with its software news, including some significant changes for iOS 14 with Home screen widgets and tons of new features, an updated look for the Mac with macOS Big Sur, and much more. And of course, Apple’s long-rumored transition of its Mac lineup to the company’s own Arm-based chips is finally upon us, with Apple starting to lay out its move to Apple Silicon with tools for developers to help them get ready.

Check out our video above and read on below for more on this week’s biggest stories!

Everything Apple Announced at WWDC20 in 13 Minutes

Apple this week held its first-ever virtual WWDC keynote that was jam-packed with a wide variety of announcements, including iOS 14, macOS Big Sur, watchOS 7, tvOS 14, and confirmation of its long-rumored plans to transition to Arm-based Macs starting later this year.


For those that didn’t have a chance to watch the nearly two-hour keynote, we condensed everything that Apple announced into a 13-minute video, providing a quick recap of everything notable.

Be sure to read our WWDC20 roundup for detailed coverage of all of Apple’s announcements throughout the event.

iOS 14 Announced With All-New Home Screen Design Featuring Widgets and More

Apple this week took the wraps off of iOS 14 with dozens of new features, including customizable home screen widgets, the App Library, App Clips, pinned conversations and mentions in iMessage, a new Translate app, digital car keys in the Wallet app, picture-in-picture mode for videos and FaceTime calls, the ability to set third-party browser and email apps as default, and more.


Incoming phone calls no longer take up the full screen on iOS 14, nor does Siri, as Apple has made both interfaces more compact. For a closer look at these changes, be sure to watch our video of iOS 14 in action.

iOS 14 is currently available in beta for registered Apple developers, with a public beta to follow next month. The software update will be released to all users with an iPhone 6s or newer in the fall. As always, it is best to install beta software on a secondary device if possible due to potential bugs.

Many of iOS 14’s features are also baked into iPadOS 14, plus a few extras like handwriting in any text field with the Apple Pencil.

macOS Big Sur Unveiled With Updated Design, New Features for Safari and Messages, and More

Apple this week previewed macOS Big Sur with redesigned elements like the Dock and Notification Center, the addition of a Control Center, several improvements to core apps like Safari and Messages, battery usage history, the return of the startup chime, and more.


The update is significant enough that Apple decided to brand it as macOS version 11.0, marking the end of an era for Apple’s desktop platform. For nearly two decades, every major release of macOS (known as OS X until 2016) was an increment of version 10, from 10.0 “Cheetah” in 2001 through 10.15 “Catalina” in 2019.

For a closer look at macOS Big Sur’s new design and features, be sure to watch our video walkthrough.

macOS Big Sur is available in beta for registered Apple developers, 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.

Apple Transitioning Macs to Custom Chips With ‘Incredible’ Performance Starting Later This Year

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


The first Mac with Apple silicon could be a redesigned 24-inch iMac in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. 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.

Developers can apply for a modified Mac mini with the iPad Pro’s A12Z chip to test and develop apps on a Mac with Arm-based architecture. The program costs $500 and includes a comprehensive set of resources and one-on-one technical support. Apple says availability is limited.

Given the shared Arm architecture, most iPhone and iPad apps will be able to run as-is on Macs with custom Apple silicon. Check out our guide to Apple’s transition to Apple Silicon for more details on all aspects of the plan.

watchOS 7 Announced With Enhanced Face Customizations, Handwashing Detection, and More

Apple Watch will be getting several new features with watchOS 7 this year, including more customizable watch faces, sleep tracking, four new workout types that can be tracked, a handwashing coach with a 20-second countdown, and more.


Apple has also eliminated deep-press Force Touch functionality in watchOS 7, which highly suggests that Apple Watch Series 6 models will lack Force Touch hardware.

watchOS 7 is available in beta for registered Apple developers, and for the first time, a public beta will be available next month. The software update will be released to all users with an Apple Watch Series 3 or later in the fall.

Apple also previewed tvOS 14 with the ability to watch YouTube videos in 4K on the Apple TV 4K, Audio Sharing for AirPods, and more.

iPhone 12 Rumor: No EarPods in Box and Possibly Not Even a Charger

Based on discussions with several Apple suppliers, Barclays analysts believe that iPhone 12 models will not come with EarPods in the box, in line with a prediction shared by Ming-Chi Kuo last month.


Oddly enough, the analysts also heard that iPhone 12 models might not ship with a power adapter of any kind, leaving only a USB-C to Lightning cable in the box. If true, Apple would likely position the move as good for the environment, but it would certainly be inconvenient for customers without a spare charger.

Earlier this week, the anonymous Twitter user Mr. White shared photos of a 20W power adapter that he suggested will be included with iPhone 12 models, so there are some conflicting rumors about this right now.

On a separate note, prominent mobile leaker Ice Universe claimed that the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max models will include displays with 120Hz refresh rates, allowing for a smoother visual experience. We’ve previously heard mixed rumors about whether the feature, known as ProMotion on its iPad Pro models, so we’re still uncertain which, if any, iPhone 12 models may adopt it later this year.

MacRumors Newsletter

Each week, we publish an email newsletter like this highlighting the top Apple stories, making it a great way to get a bite-sized recap of the week hitting all of the major topics we’ve covered and tying together related stories for a big-picture view.

So if you want to have top stories like the above recap delivered to your email inbox each week, subscribe to our newsletter!

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Craig Federighi Talks macOS Big Sur Redesign, Siri, Default Apps and More in New Interview

Everything Apple Announced at WWDC 2020 in 13 Minutes

Today’s digital WWDC keynote event was jam packed with announcements, with Apple debuting iOS 14, iPadOS 14, macOS Big Sur, watchOS 7, tvOS 14, and, most notably, its work on custom-designed chips that will be used in Macs in the future.
Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. For those that didn’t have a chance to watch the keynote event and don’t want to spend two hours…

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First Look: macOS Big Sur With Redesign, Safari Updates, New Messages App and More

Apple on Monday unveiled macOS Big Sur, the newest version of macOS that’s going to be released in the fall. Named after Big Sur, California, renown for its scenery, the new update features a fresh, clean design along with some useful new features.

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We went hands-on with ‌macOS Big Sur‌ in our latest YouTube video, giving MacRumors readers a first look at what the new software looks like.

macOS hasn’t had a major interface overhaul for some time now, and ‌macOS Big Sur‌ is a welcome change, refining and improving on the existing design for a new look that’s both fresh and familiar.


The menu bar is now more translucent and better blends with the wallpaper, and it’s more customizable. There’s a dedicated Control Center that provides access to WiFi, Bluetooth, AirDrop, Do Not Disturb, display brightness, volume level, and more, and you can customize it to your liking.

The Control Center is a major quality of life improvement in macOS, putting most of the settings and controls that you need just a click away while also streamlining the menu bar. Also new to the menu bar is a revamped battery icon that brings back the reading of how much time remaining you have on a battery charge, something that was removed way back in macOS Sierra.


Apple also added a whole new battery usage section to System Preferences so you can see how your battery has drained over the last 24 hours or the last 10 days.


Next to the Control Center, there’s an upgraded Notification Center with new widgets that can be accessed by clicking on the right side of the menu bar. The new widgets look similar to the widgets in iOS 14, and are now available in multiple sizes and with a fresh design. Widgets are now grouped by app, which makes incoming notifications much easier to parse.


Throughout the operating system, Apple has added more rounded and refined corners, full-height translucent sidebars for apps, and redesigned icons. Icons for Apple apps are all now rounded square-shapes, for a neater Dock, and buttons and controls for apps appear when needed and disappear when not needed to put more focus on content.


Nothing in ‌macOS Big Sur‌ looks wildly different and there’s nothing to relearn, but it does offer up a clean design that’s a refreshing change of pace. Notably, a lot of the sounds in macOS have been refreshed, and Apple even brought back the startup chime that many Mac users have missed.


Safari received a major overhaul with a new customizable start page. You can choose your own wallpaper and choose what’s displayed on the page, picking from options like frequently visited sites, Siri Suggestions, Reading List, iCloud Tabs, and more.


Apple is adding better support for extensions, which can be downloaded from a dedicated section of the Mac App Store. Extensions can be installed for every site, a single site, or a single site for a limited amount of time, giving you more control than ever over what extensions can do and see.


Privacy was a major focus in ‌macOS Big Sur‌, as usual. Along with the deeper controls over extensions, Apple has added a Privacy Report and Privacy button that provide details on the trackers that different websites are serving up so you can see the data a website is attempting to learn about you.

Safari has a built-in translation feature that can automatically translate entire websites written in seven different languages, which is a handy option that will let people abandon add-on translators. Safari is also faster than ever, with Apple adding performance and efficiency improvements.

Messages for Mac is now a Catalyst app, which means that it adopts many of the features available in the iOS version of ‌Messages‌. It supports all of the new ‌iOS 14‌ ‌Messages‌ features like pinned conversations, mentions, and inline replies.

It also now works with some older functions like Message Effects, and there’s a new Memoji creator so you can create Memoji and share Memoji stickers through the Mac ‌Messages‌ app. An all new search interface also makes it easier to find links, photos, and text from older conversations.


Like ‌Messages‌, Maps has been updated to bring its functionality more in line with Maps for iOS. Cycling directions and routes with EV vehicles are available, as are Guides, a new feature for finding awesome spots to visit around you.

Maps now supports Look Around, it works with indoor maps for the first time, and Maps for Mac can be used to view shared ETAs so you can keep track of when friends and family will arrive at a location from the desktop.


The Photos app has new editing capabilities like a new Retouch tool, Home app improvements allow for face recognition for cameras, AirPods feature faster and more efficient automatic device switching, ‌Siri‌ can answer a wider range of questions, and there are some improvements coming to the ‌Mac App Store‌ that will make it easier to view and understand privacy policies.

There are tons of other smaller changes in ‌macOS Big Sur‌, and we’ll cover those in future videos and in our macOS Big Sur roundup, which will be updated with a full feature list later this week.

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. ‌macOS Big Sur‌ will see a fall release alongside ‌iOS 14‌, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7.

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Apple Revives and Refreshes Game Center in iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur

Game Center, a feature for tracking game progress and connecting gamers together for multiplayer gameplay experiences, has long been a part of iOS.

Game Center achievements in Settings

The feature was added to iOS 4 in 2010 and was a key part of gaming for a few years, but Apple nixed the Game Center app in 2016 with the release of iOS 10. Game Center has stuck around since then, but as more of a behind the scenes feature.

Apple’s latest software releases revive Game Center, and there’s a redesigned Game Center dashboard available on iOS, tvOS, and macOS that games can take advantage of.

Splash page when starting an Apple Arcade game after downloading iOS 14

Users are able to view their achievements, leaderboards, and Game Center profiles directly within various games through a new in-game dashboard in ‌Apple Arcade‌ games and through the updated Game Center section in the Settings app.


Game Center now offers up recurring leaderboards for current game rankings along with leaderboards for daily, weekly, and monthly competitions, plus a feature that lets users see their friends’ game progress. Apple will also use Game Center in ‌Apple Arcade‌ to let users see what games are popular with their friends.

Game Center in an ‌Apple Arcade‌ game

Apple is encouraging developers to set up leaderboards, add achievements, and opt in to the Game Center challenges feature for their apps.

‌Apple Arcade‌ game in App Store listing available Game Center achievements

‌Apple Arcade‌ is getting other feature updates, such as lists of achievements you can earn in games right on the game page, filters for finding new content, sneak peeks at upcoming games, and a continue playing feature that lets you launch the games you’ve recently played across your devices from the ‌Apple Arcade‌ tab.

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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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