macOS Big Sur elevates the most advanced desktop operating system in the world to a new level of power and beauty. Experience Mac to the fullest with a refined new design. Enjoy the biggest Safari update ever. Discover new features for Maps and Messages. Get even more transparency around your privacy.
The following models are supported:
To see which model you have, click the Apple icon in your menu bar and choose About This Mac.
Before you upgrade, we recommend that you back up your Mac. If your Mac is running OS X Mavericks 10.9 or later, you can upgrade directly to macOS Big Sur. You’ll need the following:
MacBook Pro (2016 and later) iMac Pro (2017 and later) iMac (27' Retina 5K Late 2015; 2016 and later) Mac mini (2018 and later) Mac Pro (2019 and later) Accordingly, the formally supported Macs for Sidecar at the time the final version of macOS Catalina shipped are: Sidecar Supported Mac. MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or newer) MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or newer) Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer) MacBook (Early 2015 or newer) iMac Pro (2017) If you are running from Lion or Mountain, you need to upgrade to El Capitan first before you upgrade to macOS Catalina. The installer will let you know if your device is not compatible with macOS Catalina. Apple will allow you to download and install Catalina from the app store if you have one of these devices: MacBook: early 2015 or later. MacBook Air: mid-2012 or later. MacBook Pro: mid-2012 or later. Mac mini: late 2012 or later. IMac: late 2012 or later. IMac Pro: all models. Mac Pro: late 2013 or later.
Go to Software Update in System Preferences to find macOS Big Sur. Click Upgrade Now and follow the onscreen instructions.
If you’re running any release from macOS 10.13 to 10.9, you can upgrade to macOS Big Sur from the App Store. If you’re running Mountain Lion 10.8, you will need to upgrade to El Capitan 10.11 first.
If you don’t have broadband access, you can upgrade your Mac at any Apple Store.
For details about your Mac model, click the Apple icon at the top left of your screen and choose About This Mac. These Mac models are compatible with macOS Big Sur:
Requires a broadband internet connection and microphone (built-in or external).
Supported by the following Mac models:
Requires a microphone (built-in or external).
Requires a broadband internet connection.
Requires a Multi-Touch trackpad, Force Touch trackpad, Magic Trackpad, or Magic Mouse.
Force Touch gestures require a Force Touch trackpad.
VoiceOver gestures require a Multi-Touch trackpad, Force Touch trackpad, or Magic Trackpad.
Requires a FaceTime or iSight camera (built-in or external) or USB video class (UVC) camera.
Audio calls require a microphone (built-in or external) and broadband internet connection.
Video calls require a built-in FaceTime camera, an iSight camera (built-in or external), or a USB video class (UVC) camera; and broadband internet connection.
High dynamic range (HDR) video playback is supported by the following Mac models:
Dolby Atmos soundtrack playback is supported by the following Mac models:
Supported by the following Mac models:
Supported by all iPad models with Apple Pencil support:
Requires an iPhone or iPad that supports iOS 12 or later.
Requires an iPhone with iOS 13 or later or an iPad with iPadOS 13 or later.
Requires an iPhone or iPad with a Lightning connector or with USB-C and iOS 8 or later.
Requires an iPhone or iPad with cellular connectivity, a Lightning connector or USB-C, and iOS 8.1 or later. Requires Personal Hotspot service through your carrier.
Requires an iPhone or iPad with a Lightning connector or with USB-C and iOS 10 or later.
Requires an Apple Watch with watchOS 3 or later or an iPhone 5 or later.
Requires an Apple Watch with watchOS 6 or later or an iPhone 6s or later with iOS 13 or later.
Requires a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air with Touch ID, an iPhone 6 or later with iOS 10 or later, or an Apple Watch with watchOS 3 or later.
Requires an iPhone with iOS 8 or later and an activated carrier plan.
Requires an iPhone with iOS 8.1 or later and an activated carrier plan.
Requires an iPhone with iOS 12 or later and a configured Home app.
AirDrop to iOS and iPadOS devices requires an iPhone or iPad with a Lightning connector or with USB-C and iOS 7 or later.
AirPlay Mirroring requires an Apple TV (2nd generation or later).
AirPlay for web video requires an Apple TV (2nd generation or later).
Peer-to-peer AirPlay requires a Mac (2012 or later) and an Apple TV (3rd generation rev A, model A1469 or later) with Apple TV software 7.0 or later.
Requires an external storage device (sold separately).
Requires an iPhone with iOS 14 and a compatible electric vehicle.
Requires an iPhone running iOS 14 or an iPad running iPadOS 14.
Allows Boot Camp installations of Windows 10 on supported Mac models.
Requires Microsoft Office 365, Exchange 2016, Exchange 2013, or Exchange Server 2010. Installing the latest Service Packs is recommended.
Supports OS X 10.7 or later and Windows 7 or later.
Available only to persons age 13 or older in the U.S. and many other countries and regions.
The improved Retouch tool is supported on the following Mac models:
A fresh start is not a challenge in the Mac universe. Quite the opposite, getting a macOS upgrade every September marks a surge of new features and functionality enhancements—all coming right your Mac’s way.
Apple introduced the perks of macOS 10.15 at the 2019 WWDC, and lots of features have been tested and discussed since then. A dual monitor available with the Sidecar feature, the Photos app update, and a brand-new iTunes made the show this year. Lots of features migrate from iOS, the others appear for the first time. If you’re wondering why Catalina is worth an upgrade, check the full list of killing features here.
Traditionally, there are two stages at which you can try macOS Catalina before it’s officially released. Starting June, there’s a developer beta available, and about a month later—a public one.
Ready to dive in? Give us a second to get you ready.
Take all your apps to macOS Catalina
Get Setapp, a suit of Mac apps that strengthen your macOS. When you decide to upgrade, your curated apps will travel with you.
Your to-do list for the upcoming upgrade:
Ensure your device is compatible. As usual, there’s a limited number of Apple devices that support macOS 10.15. It’s not too different from what we had last year, but take a look anyway. Sometimes the reason why you can’t upgrade lies on the surface:
Downloading and installing macOS Catalina developer beta is an easy deal if you have a Developer account. Here’s how it works:
If you’re not ready to give up Mojave just yet, you can install Catalina on a partition. Basically, it allows to split your disk into two parts, so that your computer can run two operating systems at the same time.
To install Catalina on a partition, go to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility. Your disk will be the first on the list under “Internal.” Select the disc and navigate to Partition tab. Click the plus button to split your disk, name your partition, and customize the size if needed. Click Apply and you’re ready to drive. Or, rather, double drive.
If you’re determined to give your Mac a new life, run a clean install of Catalina. In contrast to a regular install which puts macOS on top of your startup disk content, a clean installation cleans everything up. Risky as it sounds, a clean install enables a healthier life for your macOS. Just make sure you don’t lose anything in the shuffle:
If you decide to go with a regular install, note that all the clutter from your disk will be transferred to the new operating system. So we recommend to make use of CleanMyMac X smart scanning before you upgrade.
A developer beta opens up an early access to all the features. The problem is it’s not free. To get your hands on Catalina with a developer account, you have to pay a yearly fee of $99. Therefore, you might want to wait for Apple to make it public.
Arriving in July, a public beta of Catalina is available at beta.apple.com/sp/betaprogram/. Once there, it takes a couple of steps to upgrade:
To put it shortly, it’s buggy. Just like any other macOS beta, Catalina can slow down your Mac, freeze, or hinder the work of some apps. It’s ok.
There are a couple of things you can fix, though:
Once you notice imperfections, help to fix them. Beta users can report bugs through Apple’s in-built Feedback Assistant app.
Hopefully, Catalina is worth an upgrade for you. If not, you can downgrade anytime to continue your journey with Mojave. If an operating system doesn’t solve some of your tasks, let Setapp cover the needs. It’s a curated collection of Mac apps that helps you with screenshots, PDF editing, file management, and tons of other jobs—150 at the very least.