For those of you who don’t already know, the macOS Big Sur update was released on the 12th of November (2020) and is compatible with the following Mac models:
- 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
With this update, for the not-so-tech-savvy users out there, you now have more control over your Mac customisation and according to Apple:
macOS Big Sur elevates the most advanced desktop operating system in the world to a new level of power and beauty. Experience Mac to the fullest with a refined new design. Enjoy the biggest Safari update ever. Discover new features for Maps and Messages.apple.com
Install the Update
If you haven’t already, go to System Preferences > Software Update and if your Mac is compatible with the update, you’ll see the macOS Big Sur update waiting to be installed. This may take a while, so make sure your Mac is plugged-in and connected to a secure Wi-Fi connection. For many users (including myself), there was one technical issue which arose while downloading the update- the update would get stuck on 12.18 GB (out of 12.18 GB), and after some research, I found out that the download just glitched to 12.18 GB while it was still somewhere behind. In order to solve this, you can either just wait it out- which will take some time- or restart the update and it will take you to the actual point of where your update has reached. Once the update installs, a macOS Big Sur window will pop up and you’ll be directed to a few instructions before your Mac restarts and completes the download.
Explore the Update
You can now customise your menu bar, Safari, widgets and more. Click here to explore the update via Apple’s website, so that you get the best possible experience.
Now, these aren’t all the ways you can customise your Mac with the update but the following are a list of what I did that have boosted my experience with my MacBook.
- Menu Bar + Control Center
- Safari (start page)
- Photo Editing
Menu Bar + Control Center
For those of you who don’t know, the menu bar is the thin strip at the top of the screen, where you’ve got the Apple logo on the left and the battery, Wi-Fi, date etc. on the right. The right side of the menu bar is called the status bar and you can customise this by going to System Preferences > Dock and Menu Bar and selecting what you want to show (or hide) in your menu bar. The icon pressed below opens up the Control Center, which can also be customised through the same settings.
If you’re familiar with the iOS 14 update (on compatible iPhones and currently, the 7th generation iPod touch), you’ll know what widgets are. If you don’t, that’s alright. Widgets are now available on Mac devices through the macOS Big Sur update and they’re here to make your life (and mine) easier and more efficient. In order to set up your widgets bar, you need to go to the Menu Bar and click on the date, from which a slide will pop out (from the right side of your screen) containing widgets. You can choose which ones you want to keep or hide by scrolling to the bottom and clicking on ‘Edit Widgets’.
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If you’ve got an eye for design like me or just want your Mac to be aesthetically-pleasing to the eye, you can create widgets that match your Mac’s theme by downloading Dash Dot Dash through the App Store. With Dash Dot Dash, you can add any pictures of your choice and a calendar with a background you choose- you can even decide if you want a certain day or date to be shown on the widget. The App is fairly easy to use after playing around with it for a couple of minutes.
You can now customise what you want your Safari start page to look like; you can add a background picture of your own choice, and decide if you want to show your Reading List, Favourites, Privacy Report etc. In order to do this, you need to go to Safari and click on the settings icon (I’m not sure what it’s called) at the bottom right of the screen.
If you don’t know what Memoji-s are, don’t worry, you’re in the same boat I was in approximately a week ago. In simple words, a Memoji is an avatar that you create that pretty much looks like you. In order to create a new Memoji (or change your old one), go to the Messages App, click on the App Store icon on the left of the text field (in a conversation), tap Memoji Stickers, and finally, click on the three dots, which will allow you to edit, duplicate, delete or create a new Memoji.
This isn’t a way to customise your Mac but when I first got my MacBook, I had no idea how to edit my images and it really ticked me off because I had to download a photo-editing app through the App Store, which was really inconvenient. However, Apple’s made it much easier now because through the ‘Markup’ icon on any image you open, you have several options for photo editing. I still wish there were more options (as available on other Apple devices) but this is still better than having to download a separate App.
For inspiration, here’s a brief look inside my MacBook: