Apple Tuesday plans to release its next desktop operating system, macOS 11, on Nov. 12.
Better known as “Big Sur,” macOS 11 is the first from Apple to support its in-house-designed, ARM-based silicon for the Mac, the system-on-a-chip (SoC) dubbed “M1.” Apple unveiled the M1 and three new computers — two laptops and a Mac mini — that run Applie silicon today.
The OS also runs on the Intel-based Macs that Apple has sold — and will continue to sell during the expected two-year transition to the M line.
As Apple did when it migrated from the PowerPC architecture to Intel processors, the company will provide a way to run made-for-Intel software on the new M1-powered Macs. Labeled “Rosetta 2,” the technology translates Intel-based code — even before it’s run for the first time — into code that runs on the M1 SoC.
Big Sur will introduce a new look and design to macOS, one that Apple argued last June was the biggest change since the debut of Mac OS X. But while the upgrade boasts several enhancements, including a revamped Messages and beefed up Maps, one of Big Sur’s most compelling changes is a retooled Safari.
(Those who stick with the older Catalina and Mojave versions of macOS have had the Safari update since September.)
Big Sur will be available free of charge from the Mac App Store on Thursday. Mac owners currently running 2019’s Mojave (10.15) can upgrade by choosing Software Update from the System Preferences window.