Here’s how to upgrade to macOS Big Sur

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Downloading and updating macOS is child’s play! Nevertheless, there are a few steps you will need to go through before you get started.

Presented at WWDC in June 2020, it is since November 12, 2020 that Big Sur, the latest version of macOS, is available for download.

In this tutorial, we tell you how to get and install it on your Mac.

What to do before installing macOS Big Sur?

Big Sur officially saw the light of day on November 12, 2020, so it’s available on your Apple computer.

Does its installation make you worry that some of your essential software will not work with this new operating system? Rest assured, there are several ways you can try Big Sur without removing the old version of macOS from your Mac.

Recommended article: Install an older macOS version

In this tutorial, we show you how to run macOS on an external hard drive and boot two systems simultaneously on your Mac. However, before any installation, there are 7 steps to follow to prepare your MacBook or iMac:

1. Make sure your Mac is compatible

To install macOS Big Sur, you must have one of the following devices:

  • 13-inch MacBook Pro, M1 (2020)
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020)
  • 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019)
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro (2019)
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (2019)
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro (2018)
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (2018)
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro (2017)
  • MacBook (2015) or later
  • MacBook Air (2012) or later
  • MacBook Pro (2012) or later
  • Mac mini (2012) or later
  • iMac (2012) or later
  • iMac Pro

2. Make sure you have enough memory

Apple recommends having at least 20 GB of free space before installing a new macOS, although it shouldn’t take up as much space. However, this amount will be needed for temporary files and the like.

If you are running out of storage space, lighten your computer by storing your files in a cloud, for example.

3. Back up your hard drive

It is necessary to back up your hard drive before performing a major update (especially if you are installing a beta version). Fortunately, Apple makes this very easy thanks to Time Machine.

4. Make sure your Mac is working properly

After backing up the hard drive, we recommend that you check that your Mac is working optimally.

To do this, go to Applications Utilities Disk Utility. Select your hard drive in the left column, then click on the option SOS (at the top of the window) and confirm with Execute.

If Disk Utility detects a problem, then you will need to restart your computer in recovery mode:

  • Shut down your Mac.
  • Hold down the keys Command and R by restarting your computer.
  • Your Mac is then in recovery, giving you access to disk utilities.
  • Click on Disk Utility, then on Check the disc.

If any errors are found then a message will appear asking if you want to restore it.

You can also use Apple Hardware Test or Apple Diagnostics to make sure your computer is working properly.

5. Log in to iCloud

Many apps and services are linked to iCloud. Make sure you’re logged into your online account to make sure the update goes smoothly.

6. Use a reliable connection

We advise you to avoid public Wi-Fi networks (hotels, cafes, etc.), which are unreliable when you download an update.

We advise you to do this at home, at work or in any place where the internet connection is secure. Prefer an Ethernet connection, it is faster than Wi-Fi.

7. Update your macOS

Before upgrading to a new version of macOS, update the one you’re currently using first. This step is quick and very helpful. Making sure you have the latest version helps you avoid lots of small bugs and latencies. To do this :

Go to your App Store and click on Updates. Also remember to check that you have updated all your applications, those purchased on the App Store and those downloaded elsewhere.

For apps purchased through the App Store, click the Updates tab, then click Update All. Finally, enter your Apple ID and password to start the process.

For the others, you will have to update them one by one. Make sure they are compatible with the new version of the operating system you are going to download.

For installation, note that there will be a restart of your Mac and the process could take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.

Install macOS Big Sur

To install Big Sur, rather than going through the App Store, you will need to do the following:

  • Click on Apple
  • Go to System Preferences
  • Select Software update
  • Finish by pressing Update

Once the file has downloaded, you should see a window appear on your Mac asking you to start the installation process.

If you are ready, click Continue, then follow the onscreen instructions to complete the software update.

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