macOS Big Sur: What you need to know

At the WWDC20 keynote, Apple took the wraps off of macOS Big Sur, the next version of the Macintosh operating system. Big Sur will replace macOS 10.15 Catalina this fall.

Big Sur is a major upgrade with several features that users can take advantage of. Here are the features that Apple highlighted during its WWDC20 keynote presentation. We’ll follow up with more details on these features as they are revealed.

The latest: Public beta now available 

Apple now has a public beta of macOS Big Sur available for download. If you’re interested in trying out the next major revision to the Mac operating system, you need to join Apple’s Beta Software Program. Get the details.

The latest rumor: Face ID could be coming to the Mac

Face ID is a great feature for the iPhone and iPad, and it may finally be coming to the Mac. The folks over at 9to5Mac have been sifting through the code of the macOS Big Sur developer beta, and they’ve found references to the TrueDepth camera.

That could mean you can use facial recognition to log into a Mac, though you may have to buy a new Mac to get it. You need a TrueDepth camera to make Face ID work, and MacBooks that are currently out now have FaceTime cameras.

What version of macOS is this?

Apple revealed that macOS Big Sur is officially version 11 of the operating system. It marks the end of version 10, which was introduced on March 24, 2001.

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What are the new features?

Refined user interface

The user interface inconsistencies between Apple’s mobile and desktop operating systems are notable, and compared to iOS, macOS looks a little dated. With Big Sur, Apple finally addresses the macOS UI, implementing the first major changes since the release of Mac OS X.

“Depth, shading, and translucency are used to create hierarchy,” said Alan Dye, VP Human Interface, during the WWDC20 keynote. “These new materials are rich, and they’re vibrant.”