April 25, 2024


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MacOS Big Sur compatibility: Will your laptop work with the new OS?


You can download the MacOS Big Sur public beta now, if your Mac is compatible.


This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

Apple’s latest Mac operating system, MacOS Big Sur, is now available for download on all compatible Apple devices. Big Sur — first announced at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June — includes major updates to the Safari web browser, and refreshed Maps and Messages apps (we’ve rounded up some of the best new MacOS Big Sur features and how to use them here, and have instructions on how to download Big Sur, too). 

Big Sur represents the biggest design update since OS X was first released almost 20 years ago, Apple executives said during WWDC. The new OS includes tweaks to the curves of the window corners, dock icons and colors of the user interface. But a lot of it looks pretty familiar: The same Photos design from iPadOS comes to MacOS, as do many of the app updates that we’ve seen in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. The control center in the menu bar, widgets and notification center are more sophisticated-looking, too.

At a virtual event on Nov. 10, Apple unveiled new Mac computers running Big Sur and powered for the first time by the company’s own M1 silicon chips. If you do buy a new MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or Mac Mini with the M1 chip, MacOS Big Sur is optimized to run on these machines. Apps will run faster and more smoothly, Apple executives said during the event, and you’ll also see increased device security. 

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If you’re looking to download and install Big Sur now, you’ll need to have a compatible Mac to run the new OS. Here are all the models of Macs that can run MacOS Big Sur, according to Apple: 

  • MacBook ($749 at Back Market), 2015 and later
  • MacBook Air, 2013 and later
  • MacBook Pro ($2,199 at Amazon), late 2013 and later
  • Mac Mini, 2014 and later
  • iMac ($1,800 at Best Buy), 2014 and later
  • iMac Pro ($5,000 at Best Buy) (all models), 2017 and later
  • Mac Pro, 2013 and later

For more, check out our review of MacOS Big Sur here

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