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Everything you need to know about macOS Big Sur

These are all the new macOS features worth mentioning.

For Apple, it's that time of year, and by "that time" we mean the time of year when it unloads new iPhones, unveils a new line of accessories, rolls out significant updates to iOS, launches a new MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac Mini, and begins in earnest its transition away from using Intel chips to using its own silicon...

Oh, and it introduced a new version of macOS called "Big Sur" too.

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If you're having trouble keeping track of all the new updates (and let's face it, we all are) here are the biggest features in Apple's latest macOS update...

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New Safari, who dis?

Safari gets a host of new updates including added customization and stronger privacy controls. Apple is also claiming that Safari is now 50 percent faster than Google Chrome while at the same time adding Chrome-like features... including favicons in tabs and a built-in translator for converting web pages that aren't rendered in the language your computer or laptop is set to.

"This is the biggest update to Safari since its original launch in 2003."

Apple

Privacy

On the privacy front, Safari will also offer users reports that show exactly how many web trackers have been blocked and from where. To see the report, click the "Privacy Report" button in the Safari toolbar. A weekly report will also surface on the start page.

"Nutrition Label"

One of the more interesting features to touch on user privacy is the addition of a "nutrition label" that tells users exactly what data developers are collecting in an app on the App Store. Developers will be required to start providing that data in December.

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Control center

Control Center might not be the sexiest feature of macOS, but the fact that it's now on desktop (formerly it was only available on iOS) makes it pretty noteworthy. Just like iOS, users can now drag and drop their preferred controls and favorites to the bar so it contains only the tools they want / need most.

To set Control Center tools, Navigate to System Preferences > Dock & Menu Bar and scroll down to Other Modules.

Notifications

If you're noticing a trend in the Big Sur updates, it's because a lot of the tweaks revolve around tightening up the macOS interface and streamlining features that are already there. The same can be said for the new Notification Center which groups notifications by app, making them (hopefully) easier to digest. They're also interactive, so you can launch relevant apps straight from the notification bar.

Like iOS, Like macOS

The biggest fixture of Apple's "One more thing" announcement last month was the introduction of the M1, its very own ARM-based processor that will go into its current and future products. Through Big Sur, we're already starting to see the type of tight integration between iOS and macOS M1 enables. For instance, Big Sur now allows users to download some iPad and iOS apps.

AirPods

It may seem small, but Big Sur now offers the ability to automatically switch to playing on AirPods depending on user preferences. That means audio will seamlessly transition between playing on an iPhone to a MacBook as long as the devices are connected to the same iCloud account.

Messages

In messages, users will now be able to do just about anything they're able to do in iMessage on iOS 14. That includes in-line replies, mentions, and group photos. Memoji fans will also rejoice at the ability to create the Apple avatars on their computer.

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