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Upgrade to macOS Big Sur

Learn how to download and install macOS Big Sur, the latest version of the Mac operating system.

macOS Big Sur makes the world's most advanced desktop operating system even more powerful and elegant. Experience the Mac like never before with a revamped new design and the biggest Safari update ever. Discover new features for maps and messages. And get even more transparency when it comes to data protection.

Check compatibility

macOS Big Sur is compatible with these computers:

MacBook from 2015 or newer
MacBook Air from 2013 or later
MacBook Pro from late 2013 or newer
Mac mini from 2014 or later
iMac from 2014 or later
iMac Pro
Mac Pro from 2013 or later
Check out the full list of compatible computers.

To upgrade from macOS Sierra or later, macOS Big Sur requires 35.5 GB of available space. To upgrade from an older version, macOS Big Sur requires up to 44.5 GB of available space. To upgrade OS X Mountain Lion, upgrade to El Capitan first, and then upgrade to macOS Big Sur.

Create a backup

Before installing an upgrade, you should back up your Mac. Time Machine makes this process easier, and other backup methods are also available. Learn more about how to back up your Mac.

Establish connection

It will take some time to download and install macOS. So make sure you have a reliable internet connection. If you're using a Mac notebook, plug it in to power.

Download macOS Big Sur

Start installation

When the loading process is complete, the installation program will open automatically.

Click "Continue" and follow the on-screen instructions. It may be advisable to start the installation in the evening so that the process can be completed overnight.

When the installer asks you to agree to install a utility, enter the administrator name and password you use to log into your Mac, and click Add a Utility.

Complete installation

Wait for the installation to complete without hibernating or exiting your Mac. While installing macOS and related Mac firmware updates, your Mac might restart multiple times and show a progress bar or blank screen.

Stay up to date

After installing macOS Big Sur, you will be notified when updates are available for macOS Big Sur. You can also use the Software Update feature to check for updates: choose the Apple menu ()> System Preferences, then click Software Update.

Or autoload macOS Big Sur

If you are using OS X El Capitan 10.11.5 or newer and have specified in the settings for the App Store or for the "Software update" function that new updates should be downloaded immediately, macOS Big Sur is conveniently loaded in the background. This makes the upgrade even easier. A notification will be sent to you when macOS Big Sur is ready to install. Click "Install" to begin the process, or close the notification to install later. If you want to install it, simply open the file named "Install macOS Big Sur" in the "Applications" folder.

additional Information

  • If the installer shows a list of apps that are not optimized for your Mac, find out about 32-bit app compatibility, and then decide if you want to continue with the installation.
  • Upgrade to macOS Big Sur for the highest level of security and the latest features. If your hardware or software isn't compatible with Big Sur, you may be able to install an older version of macOS.
  • You can also use macOS Recovery to reinstall the macOS you are currently using, upgrade to the latest compatible macOS, or install the version of macOS that came with your Mac.
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