macOS 11, Big Sur edition
Working alongside the IT team, your organization has decided they're ready to upgrade the operating system on all your Macs — great! This decision comes after much deliberation and testing to ensure all business-critical applications and services will be compatible with the new version of macOS. You should feel confident about moving forward, but what exactly does this mean for you?
What does an OS upgrade mean?
Upgrading the OS (operating system) on your Mac means installing a new operating system from Apple that helps keep your computer secure and compatible with the latest software and connected hardware. Apple usually includes significant improvements, new features, and changes to the look of the Mac UI (User Interface). Please note that these are not Updates, which are minor security patches and bug fixes. For info about the difference, see our article on Updates vs. Upgrades. OS versions (upgrades) are named and identified in two ways:
|macOS 10.15||macOS Catalina|
|macOS 11||macOS Big Sur|
|macOS 12||macOS Monterey|
Why are we doing this?
There are many reasons to keep your Mac's operating system up-to-date:
- SECURITY - Apple only provides security updates to the most recent operating systems. If you wait too long to upgrade, you may not be protected against new digital threats.
- COMPATIBILITY - Many software developers will only provide updates compatible with the most recent versions of macOS. This can include business-critical applications like anti-malware apps, Microsoft Office, or even web browsers.
- RELIABILITY - Major bug fixes and improvements are often part of these OS upgrades. Upgrading now may solve future problems before they cause trouble.
- CONSISTENCY - Keeping your company's Macs on the same operating system ensures that the documents you create on one workstation will open with the software installed on another.
What does this look like for me?
During a macOS upgrade, your computer must restart to apply the upgrade — and may need to restart a second time to apply post-upgrade updates. When the process is complete, your Mac may look a little different. You'll want to check for available software updates and then test-launch all your frequently used apps to ensure everything opens and works as expected.
Before upgrading, we strongly recommend you have a backup of your information. If you're unsure about your backup status, reach out to your support team (maybe that's us) to confirm you've got a cloud backup or Apple's built-in Time Machine for a local backup. You also need ample free space on your Mac. Big Sur, macOS 11, requires at least 49GB of free space. If you don't have enough free space, the installer will not succeed. To check your available free space, click on the Apple menu and select About this Mac. Click on the Storage tab for more details.
When should I upgrade my computer?
The macOS upgrade process can take up to two hours, depending on your internet connection and the type of Mac you have. We recommend performing the upgrade when you can be without your workstation for a few hours.
Always check with your support team before proceeding with an upgrade. It's best to test a new operating system on one or two machines before recommending that all users perform the upgrade. If a macOS upgrade is performed before testing is complete, apps, printers, or other services may not work correctly. A macOS upgrade cannot be rolled back easily or at all in some cases. We generally don't recommend OS upgrades for the first 90-days after Apple releases a new macOS. Waiting for the first few significant updates to solidify stability and performance is preferred.
I'm ready! How do I do this?
You're ready to proceed. You've blocked out time to be away from your computer. You have plenty of free space on your Mac, and your data is backed up. Here's how to start the upgrade:
- Check for Major Updates and RESTART to give your Mac a fresh beginning prior to starting the intensive task of a macOS upgrade.
- After the restart, navigate to your Applications folder and open MacManage.
- Search for the entry named Install macOS Big Sur.
- Click the Install button to begin. You will be prompted to confirm. Click Install to start the download. NOTE: this popup may appear behind your other windows but will announce its presence by making the MacManage dock icon bounce.
Your computer will begin the upgrade process by downloading the 12GB macOS installer. You can continue to work while it’s downloading.
Your Mac will announce a reboot when it’s ready. If you have FileVault enabled, you may have to type in your password to help the Mac reboot successfully. You will be presented with a black screen, Apple logo, and progress bar displaying roughly how long until the current action is complete. You may be asked to log in again during the upgrade process. Select your user account and type in your password to proceed.
Once the upgrade is complete, the computer will restart, and you can log into your account as usual.
- Please run any remaining software updates from Apple Menu > System Preferences > Software Update.
- And launch any business-critical apps to confirm everything is working as expected. Some apps may request a system extension approval. See this article for more information.
If you run into any questions or unusual behavior, please reach out to us (or your IT Team) for assistance.