During the WWDC20 virtual conference (June 22-26), Apple presented the new version of its macOS Big Sur operating system. The manufacturer has focused on 5 features in particular.
macOS Big Sur will replace macOS 10.15 Catalina this fall. This major update to Apple’s OS includes several additional features. Here are 5 main ones.
A refined user interface
Big Sur somehow bridges the gap between the iOS mobile system and Apple’s macOS desktop operating system, which sometimes seems a little overwhelmed by its mobile alter ego. For the first time since the release of Mac OS X, Apple is finally making major user interface changes to its desktop OS. “Depth, shading, and translucency are used to create hierarchy,” said Alan Dye, vice president of Human Interface, at the WWDC20 conference. “These new elements are rich, and they are alive,” he added.
Apple has revamped MacOS Big Sur’s UI icons, menus, notification center, and widgets. (Credit: Apple)
Apple has changed the icons to look more like those of iOS, while retaining their “Mac personality”, as the manufacturer explained. The Dock, which prominently displays app icons, appears to float on the screen. App toolbars and sidebars look cleaner, and buttons disappear when not in use. Apple also updated the menu bar to make it even more convenient for Mac users. It is now translucent and the menus look cleaner. Apple also added a Control Center to the menu bar, which functions like the Control Center in iOS. It provides access to many system controls like network connectivity, screen brightness, sound volume, player controls, and more.
In Big Sur, the Notifications menu bar icon has disappeared. The Notification Center can be accessed by clicking on the time in the menu bar, and one can now click on Notifications and Widgets in the Control Center to get more information. Big Sur, a gallery displays all Widgets added to Notification Center, including third-party Widgets.
In terms of features, the Message app on Mac is worse off than the iOS version. Apple is catching up in Big Sur. He used Mac Catalyst to make the iOS version of Messages macOS compatible.
Apple used Mac Catalyst to convert the iOS version of Messages to macOS Big Sur compatible. (Credit: Apple)
The Messages app for Mac now has an improved search function and a photo picker for sharing photos and videos. The app also supports Memoji, knows how to manage effects, pin conversations and brings improvements to groups.
According to Apple, the Safari browser for Big Sur has been optimized to be even faster than before. The company claims the new Safari is up to 50% faster than Google Chrome. Safari has also been given other features, including:
– A new Privacy button has appeared in the toolbar. It allows viewing web trackers and accessing a comprehensive privacy report.
– Integrated translation tools
– More homepage customization possibilities
– Strong extension support and time-based extension control
– A new design for the tabs
Customize Safari with its own wallpapers? Yes it’s possible. (Credit: Apple)
Apple hopes the improvements to Maps will make it more useful for planning routes on the Mac. Apple said its developers first improved the Maps version for iOS, and then converted it with Mac Catalyst. New Maps features include:
– The ability to save locations as Favorites
– The addition of guides for the places in which we plan to go
– Interior cards
– A feature called Look Around, which shows the photo of a place at eye level
– The ability to track a person’s movements
Finally Favorites in Maps on Mac. (Credit: Apple)
Introduced last year, Mac Catalyst is used by developers to convert their iOS apps into Mac apps. Apple said Catalyst has been updated so apps can take advantage of native display on a Mac desktop screen. Developers will also have access to new menu and keyboard APIs.