Macos Big Sur Preview California Wallpaper HeroSource: Rene Ritchie

Although Apple makes new software updates available to as many older devices as possible, there are always some reasons why it may not be in your best interest to install the latest and greatest right on day-one, even if your Mac is compatible. With macOS Big Sur just around the corner, take a moment to consider whether you should make the leap right away or wait a few days (or even weeks) to update your Mac.

Is my Mac compatible?

If you have the following model of Mac, you can download and install macOS Big Sur:

The following Macs work with macOS Big Sur:

  • MacBook (2015 and later)
  • MacBook Air (2013 and later)
  • MacBook Pro (Late 2013 and later)
  • Mac mini (2014 and later)
  • iMac (2014 and later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 and later)
  • Mac Pro (2013 and later)

If your Mac is older than any of the models listed above, it isn't compatible with macOS Big Sur.

I'm ready to try it out, but what if I don't like it?

Upgrading to a new software system, especially on a computer, can be a big upheaval that causes stress and confusion. You might be excited about macOS Big Sur after reading about everything it can do, but quickly decide that it's not right for you.

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The first, and most important thing you should do before upgrading to macOS Big Sur (or updating any software, no matter how small), is to back up your Mac.

Next, it is not a bad idea to think about partitioning your Mac so you can install macOS Big Sur in tandem with your current Mac operating system. That way, you can get used to the changes while still having access to what you are familiar with. It will also make it easier to simply delete the software if you know you don't want to use Big Sur at all.

If you've downloaded macOS Big Sur on your main hard drive, you're not out of luck. You can always downgrade back to your previous operating system.

OK. I'm just going to go for it!

Wait!

It's not always such a good idea to download a huge update on Day One. There are a number of factors that can give you a negative experience right out of the gate, which might leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Hundreds (or even thousands) of people will hit the download button the exact moment they hear that macOS Big Sur is available to the public, which could put a strain on the servers and make it take a really long time for you to complete the process.

With changes in macOS Big Sur, it also means that some third-party apps will need to be updated for compatibility. Not all developers will have their updates ready right away. If there are any apps that you just can't live without, you might be forced to ... well ... live without until they are updated. The best way to see if your must-have apps are going to be ready for macOS Big Sur is to visit the companies' websites or check their social media feeds.

Proceed with caution

If, after reading everything I suggested, you still think you are ready to upgrade to macOS Big Sur, then, by all means, go for it! I've been using it for a couple of months now, and frankly, I love it. Just make sure you've got a current backup of your Mac, just in case something goes wrong.

Are you looking for a brand new Mac?

Be sure to take a look at the latest list of Macs that Apple sells. The list includes some of our favorites, including the MacBook Air, iMac, and more.

Updated November 2020: Updated for macOS Big Sur.

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