Another year, another new version of macOS. In a couple of hours, you will have the ability to upgrade your Mac into macOS Big Sur, also known as macOS 11. The forthcoming version of Apple’s desktop operating system comprises the largest interface change because the release of Mac OS X, and, while there are not a great deal of flashy new features, everything will look different.

In case you upgrade your Mac to Big Sur? Is the Mac compatible with the new operating system? And how should you prepare for this big change? In this report, I will answer all those questions, so you may be ready to improve your Mac to macOS Big Sur when Apple officially releases its new operating system.


The first thing to check is whether your Mac is compatible with Big Sur. Any Mac published in mid-2012 or later will have the ability to run Big Sur, and a few older Mac Pros will also have the ability to operate it.

  • MacBook Pro (overdue 2013 and later)
  • MacBook Air (2013 and later)
  • MacBook (2015 and later)
  • iMac (2014 and later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 and later)
  • Mac Mini (2014 and later)
  • Mac Pro (2013 and later)

In case you are not sure of the vintage of your Mac, go to the Apple menu, and then choose About This Mac. You’ll see its model and year.

Check Software Compatibility

All of Apple’s software should be fully functional with Big Sur on Thursday, November 20th, 2020, and lots of new, significant apps will as well. But there is a possibility that a lot of programs that you depend on won’t be. App developers always have several months to ensure the compatibility of their products, however, in some instances, they do not work fast enough, or it is not feasible to make their apps compatible.

It is essential that you check to ensure that your programs are compatible. Imagine if you don’t, and you find that a single app you use to do an insignificant endeavor for your customers does not work? You are going to need to use your backup (see below) to revert to Catalina.

Apple doesn’t maintain a listing of compatible programs, but you’ll find lists in various areas, like that Reddit ribbon. Each program developer should say in their websites, or from Mac App Store information if they are harmonious. But in some instances, you won’t understand until Big Sur launches.

It’s particularly important that you check that any hardware drivers that you rely on are compatible. By way of instance, if you use a RAID storage device, and its driver isn’t updated, you will not have the ability to access your files on that device; and if you’ve got a graphics card whose drivers aren’t a part of macOS, you’ll need to make sure they have been upgraded to use your Mac correctly.

Clean Your Mac

It’s a fantastic idea to upgrade as much of your applications as possible before upgrading to Big Sur, because in several cases updates will be available that are compatible with the new operating system prior to its launch. Most apps nowadays offer automatic update features, or, if you have bought them from the Mac App Store, you can get updates through the App Store app. This is especially crucial for apps like Microsoft Office, or Adobe’s Creative Cloud programs, and other apps you depend on for your work.

One more thing you can do is wash out some of the gunk which was on your own Mac for a short time. You may begin by clicking the Apple icon on the top left of your scrren > About this Mac, then tap on Storage.

Scan Your Hard Disk

Apple’s Disk Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities) is a tool designed to manage disks, but also to test them for errors. Before updating, it’s a fantastic idea to run Disk Utility’s First Aid tool in your startup volume, as well as on the disc (s) you will use to back up your Mac (see below).

Launch Disk Utility, select your startup quantity, then click Aid from the toolbar. This will take a few minutes, and during the process your disk will be locked so Disk Utility can make repairs, if needed. When that is completed, it will tell you if all is well, and when it’s made repairs.

Back-Up Your Mac

If your Mac is harmonious, and you are ready to upgrade, the first thing you should do is back up your Mac. You can use Time Machine

If anything goes wrong during the upgrade procedure, you are able to boot from the external drive, and, if needed, recopy all of its files for your Mac.

Choose Upgrade Method: Migration or Clean Installation

There are two ways to update a Mac. The simplest is to conduct the macOS Big Sur installer, which will install the new files over your existing operating system. It will not alter your personal information, but only those documents that are part of the system, as well as bundled Apple programs.

The other would be to use Apple’s Migration Assistant. This app is designed to transfer your data from an old Mac to a new one, but you might also use it for an upgrade. To do it, you ought to replicate your Mac, on at least 2 drives (one to use for the update, and yet another as a backup). Startup your Mac, then press the Option key immediately so that you can pick a cloned drive as the startup drive. Launch Disk Utility (in /Applications/Utilities) and erase the drive in your Mac. (You did make two backups, right?)

Download the macOS Big Sur installer and launch it. It will ask which drive you want to install the software on; select the currently erased drive on your Mac. Follow the instructions to complete the installation.

When you’ve finished, you will have a virgin operating system on your Mac, and you’re going to still be working from your external drive. Now you can copy all of the files in your home folder, as well as personal programs.

A fresh installation is time-consuming, but it can weed out old documents from apps you no longer use, and it is a good approach to start with a fresh slate. Some people do so for every major operating system update; I only do it every couple of years, because it does take quite a while. Should you do a fresh setup, be certain that you keep both your clones for a while, just if there’s something you forgot to move/copy over.

How To Install macOS Big Sur

Okay, it has taken some time, but now you are ready. If you’re installing macOS Big Sur on a notebook, make sure it’s billed, or connect to a power supply; you don’t need it draining from the battery during the installation process.

Go to the Mac App Store and download the Big Sur installer. This is about 5-6 GB and may take some time depending upon your bandwidth. When the download is finished, the installer will launch; follow its directions. The update process can take some time — just a half hour or more — and this is a fantastic time to find a cup of coffee or tea, walk the dog, or do something else instead of sitting in front of your Mac watching its progress bar.

But … Generally speaking, after macOS is installed, the installer is deleted. When you take a look in your Programs folder, you’ll realize the installer, called Install macOS Big Sur. It is a fantastic idea to copy it to another location, an external drive, or, possibly, your Downloads folder. This way you’ll have another copy in case something goes wrong and you need to run it again. If your bandwidth isn’t quick enough, this may not be required, but for many people, it may save a lot of time to keep the installer safe. This is also useful when you have more than one Mac; you can just copy the installer to another Mac and operate it.

Once the installation is done, you ought to go through a few screens, for example, one to register to your iCloud account. Now, you might observe an Incompatible Software display telling you of apps that have been transferred because they’re proven to be oblivious. You’ll find them within an Incompatible Software folder at the top level of your drive.

What to Do If Something Goes Wrong

Many things can go wrong with an operating system update. In case you’ve got a problem, you can boot your Mac from the clone you’ve made earlier, then run the installer again. In a worst-case scenario, you might have to wash your Mac’s startup drive, then follow the blank setup method I discussed above.

Even when all works well, keep those clones for some time, just in case something goes wrong on the first day or two of using Big Sur. If you run into issues, give this company a call. They’re open 24/7/365 and are Apple Certified.