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macOS Big Sur: The 6 features worth getting excited about

Apple's next Mac operating system, available for free this fall, features a radical iOS-like redesign and support for Apple Silicon processors. But that's not all.

6. Faster software updates

What it is: Future software updates will start installing in the background and reduce the overall install times.

Why you should care: Current Mac users know the pain of having to wait to work while the system updates. Big Sur's new approach could solve one of the biggest gripes many have about macOS right now.

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5. Messages gets a redesign

What it is: Apple is bringing over some of the advancements from iOS 14, plus a little extra. That means improved groups, inline replies, a Memoji editor and more.

Why you should care: The current Messages app is pretty barebones, and it looks like Apple is about to give it the care it deserves.

4. iPhone apps on Mac

What it is: Future Macs that use ARM CPUs instead of the current Intel chips will be able to run iPhone and iPad apps — with the caveat that devs will be able to opt out if they wish.

Why you should care: Users with big iOS libraries will be able to tap into apps they already love everywhere. Apple demonstrated Monument Valley running seamlessly, but the possibilities are endless.

1.85M

The number of iOS apps available in the App Store, as of Q1 2020.

Statista

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3. Better password manager

What it is: The built-in password manager will now alert you when a password may have been involved in a data breach, and allow you to import passwords from Google Chrome.

Why you should care: Apple's existing password manager works well, but this should add an extra level of security. Other privacy improvements include detailed descriptions on the Mac App Store and a new privacy report in Safari.

2. Better battery management

What it is: A more optimized battery charging system will improve longevity when a laptop is left plugged in all the time, while Safari will be able to stream video for three hours longer than Google Chrome.

Why you should care: The MacBook offers the ability to work as a desktop for extended periods, but Apple's new management systems should enable it to offer better performance than ever when unplugged.

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1. The boot chime is back

What it is: Your computer will now play a chime when it switches on. This feature can be turned off in System Preferences.

Why you should care: The boot chime is an iconic feature of Mac history, but Apple phased out the noise in 2016. The chime has returned, and like other sounds in the system, has been updated to give it a more modern twist.

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