It’s about a month away from the official big sur release and I’ve been using it on public beta for a while now. so I think it’s definitely worth giving my opinions about it and my overall experience. So the first thing I want to talk about is the UI changes because this hits you like a brick wall as soon as you turn on the laptop or your computer it’s going to be right there from pretty much the login screen. Through to just using it daily, you’re going to see some graphical changes and so I think it’s worth mentioning so the biggest one is the icons.
It’s a matter of personal taste I did find it a little bit strange at first because they’re the same icons almost as on the iPhone but they did tweak some of them so some of them are the same some of them aren’t which is which. I thought was just kind of strange why not just keep them all sort of consistent they do still have that sort of distinction between the mac ones. Though, that’s just personal preference whether you like the new icons or not. If you don’t like them there are ways around changing them. But, I guess you’ll just kind of adapt and get used to them over time. The actual dock where all the app icons sit is changed as well so that looks a bit more like the iPad os. It’s just a little bit different more minimal and sleek and yeah kind of reminds me of ios.
Now another feature is coming across which is the widgets now mac did use to have widgets before but they weren’t very useful and they were kind of clunky and they sort of looked a bit old-school. So I never really used them personally but I’m hoping there’ll be some third-party widgets coming out that maybe could be for Spotify or some of the applications. I use on my mac that’ll be nice and handy so far we have several stock widgets that are accessible in the side panel. But you can customize the order and there’s weather widgets calendar widgets calculator. There’s a bunch of stuff similar to what you can find on iPad os but it’s just sort of blown up a bit bigger for the mac you have a small-medium and large version of pretty much every widget and yeah I kind of like it does sort of scream iPad os a bit so it’s kind of just like iPad os but on a bigger screen with a mouse. it’s kind of strange it feels very touch screen oriented throughout the whole operating system I think you’ll find especially just looking at it it does look very sort of touch screen so hopefully fingers crossed apple is going to bring out a touch screen MacBook or iMac that would be pretty cool.
But, talking about the actual sidebar menu the notifications have changed a little bit as well when you do get spammed from various apps like I do for chrome notifications are always coming in just for youtube and Gmail and a bunch of other things and so now it actually goes ahead and groups them together so if someone spams you on twitter you don’t actually go ahead and get 20 notifications you just get one notification that’s grouped and you can go ahead and expand that or you can simply collapse it so that’s really nice and appreciated because you don’t get a bunch of clutter on your home screen. The next thing I want to discuss is about the actual applications baked into mac os so apple has upgraded quite a lot of their stock apps and so I’m going to go through some of the changes in the bigger apps most of them are just performance but a few of them are graphical and again you’re going to see a trend about sort of the iPad os look coming across onto mac os because that’s kind of what they’ve done with all these new applications. So, the first app i want to discuss is one that apple’s really trying to push in everyone’s faces and i’m presuming that’s due to competition from chrome they’re trying to push safari into every mac user’s face so you’ve definitely done some overhauls and tried to improve it a bunch one of the things that really did stick out to me was they’re making it a lot easier for third-party extensions from say chrome or firefox to move over onto safari and overall it’s going to make it easier for developers to make that happen but the overall design has just changed a little bit it’s more minimal you also have a personal page with recommendations and sort of your bookmarks and all of your information like news and things they will all be on your personal page and you can also go ahead and add a background that was also for some reason really over exaggerated in the keynote i personally like it they did state that it’s about 50 faster than chrome it loading web pages they also state it is more efficient so if you do use safari you’re going to get better battery life another app that did change was mail mail’s definitely copied the ipad mail app and i actually really do like that it’s more minimal overall the last mail app was just really really cluttered and i really didn’t like it too much i found that when i actually viewed emails and deleted them and sorted them on my ipad or my phone it didn’t go ahead and carry across to my mac and so everything was still there that i deleted for some reason and so that i found that really frustrating so i just never ended up using it.
I always just use gmail instead and i do have a gmail account so maybe there was some sort of syncing issue that was happening there but the icon has changed as well like i mentioned earlier and the overall look is nice i dig it i personally think it’s quite an upgrade honestly and it’s really long overdue another app that he did change is the messages app they really were trying to push this as well there are some new features like you can go ahead and pin conversations to sort of like this bubble so you can pin them at the top so you don’t have to scroll through all your contacts because you’ve got so many people to message right you can also send inline replies so you can have like mini conversations inside of a chat so you don’t have to like clutter it with a bunch of things going on and finally it has similar functionality to most other social apps out there which basically means you can go ahead and tag people so you can use the at symbol and you can tag a person and if people have muted the chat and you mention them it will actually go ahead and notify them so that’s really cool if they’re not paying attention to the chat and you want to get their attention you can go ahead and tag them maps has also changed again it just feels kind of like ported over from ipad os there is something new though they are now expanding. The overall look around so that’s kind of like apple’s version of street view they’re bringing that to more countries starting with the uk which is really nice to see i don’t really use maps too much but sometimes i like to look around at location just to get myself familiar with it before i actually go obviously i don’t use it for like GPS or anything like that so it’s not much of a big deal but it is nice to see and the last thing i do want to go over is just the overall settings of mac os so starting with the status bar at the top things seem a lot more spaced out which is kind of unusual it’s kind of like apples calling to us to tell us they’re actually going to have an used touchscreen the spacing between all these toggles at the top is very unusual and it’s kind of like you’re going to touch it with your finger the amount of space they’ve left between it which is really odd and it does just feel overall strange using big sur with a mouse so again hopefully they bring out like a touchscreen version i can’t really see why else they would do this especially when it comes to the control center so if you don’t want all of those toggles cluttering your status bar at the top there you can move them all into control center you have a little bit of customization as to what settings you have in there so you can put everything in there access all of your different toggles all at the same time within the same menu which is really nice and it does carry across again from the ipad has that same look as control center on the ipad which is just really nice to see and overall just all the devices.
Apple makes seem to be sort of closing in closer together and sort of becoming the one device almost so it’s really interesting to see where this goes in the future maybe mac and ipad will just fuse together into one kind of seems like it’s going that way but we’ll have to wait and see diving in the settings app there’s a couple of new things in here my favorite one is the battery usage so this actually goes ahead and tells you how much screen on time you’ve used which applications are using most power and it does tell you quite a lot oflinformation that’s very very helpful it tells your battery health and there’s also an option which actually goes ahead and kills your macbook before it’s really dead so that actually allows you to get more battery cycles so it allows your battery to last longer which is really nice so if you do want that you can go ahead and tick it you also have some new wallpapers and i’m sure if you dive in deeper you’ll find some more things to do with security and all that but really i’m just talking about my experience and really how it is to use and yeah i really do like it one of my favorite things actually is when you turn on the macbook or your imac it does that original chime like on the old macbook so it’s nice to see that back.
If you don’t want it though you can disable it but I think it’s pretty cool so nice to see that sort of original old design fused with the new sort of iPad os design I really am digging it I’m not gonna lie so in terms of my overall opinion if I was to stand back and think about all the past os’s that mac has had I would say yeah this is obviously the best one because it’s the newest one it’s got the newest features it’s got the best security but in terms of actually using it I’d say it does feel like an iPad a bit but then you also do have the power and the applications available for mac so I really like it I’m excited to see the silicon chips coming out just to see the iPad os apps running on mac that would be really cool and especially if they brought out a touchscreen device maybe they’ll just fuse together as I mentioned but who knows we’ll really just have to wait and see.