BigSur Update - Thoughts?

Am I the only one that is not happy with this BigSur Changes? Making sure to to everything on my power to stay on Catalina. Am I an outlier?

Actually, I’m looking forward to moving on from Catalina - hoping (but not expecting) Big Sur will be less buggy.


I’m probably holding out for some sort of ARM-based Mac a year from now. In the mean time I’m holding firm with Mojave. It’ll be interesting to see what kinds of problems will crop up in migrating extensions and the like to Apple Silicon Big Sur from Intel. (Though I hope it won’t be an 'interesting; transition.)

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I finally updated to Catalina when I got my 2017 MBP back from a stint with Apple Care two weeks ago. I have to say, its nice and is actually smoother than Mojave for me.

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I’m still seeing too many people describing issues with it, so I think I’ll hop over it, like I bypassed Lion 10.7 and went from Snow Leopard 10.6 to Mountain Lion 10.8.

The only thing I feel I’m missing is grabbing some 10.15-only apps that go free or on sale.

Although my transition to Catalina has been mostly smooth, reports from members of this forum, along with commentary from Howard Oakley over at, have left a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve tried to rationalize it by telling myself that macOS is “evolving”, but I’ve not been entirely successful. I’m having trouble escaping the conclusion that Apple is taking the OS out of users’ hands, and I’m not too comfortable about it.

I’m sticking with Catalina until Karabiner-Elements is ported to Big Sur.


Yes, that’s one of several sources I follow which detail continued issues, starting with the beta 14 months ago.

You aren’t alone. I don’t see anything but cosmetic changes in BIg Sur over Catalina, and I don’t like the cosmetic changes. Screens are harder to read yet fonts seem to be more bulbous so less information appears on the screen (I see that with the weather and stock widgets as well as the Safari home screen).

Add to that there are some apps, including a bunch of games I like to play, that don’t work on BIg Sur. And the issue with the games is that the author has retired.

As to the ARM based Macs. I’m really scared there. I’ve heard that Rosetta-2 won’t work with command line applications, and I’ve got a slew of those. I also still run Windows VMs. (I was only able to switch to Macs in the first place when they went to Intel.)

Basically I’m reaching the “end of the line” with Macs now. I’ve got my last iMac on order (hopefully it will arrive with Catalina), and have a pair of Mac minis running older OSes to handle 32-bit programs. By the time the iMac wears out, maybe I won’t need its capabilities anymore (I’ll be in my upper 70’s) and might be happy with the latest Mac. Or maybe not.

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Are you suggesting Terminal and bash/zsh will stop working with Rosetta-2? Or something more subtle?

More subtle. Any command-line programs will have to be recompiled to run. It’s an annoyance if you have the source but potentially bad news if you don’t. I would assume that the shells and the usual UNIX apps will all be ported over initially. There might also be issues waiting for ports for various scripting languages and other interpreters as well as compilers (I’ve got some Fortran programs) and application frameworks (I’ve got some programs that use Qt).

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Thankfully mine are Python. (It’s been almost 40 years since I did any FORTRAN.) :slight_smile:

Given that the majority of developers use command line utilities, and many of them are on ARM Macs now, I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. They wouldn’t cut their noses off to spite their faces.


I use my machine for my job, so I’ll be sticking with Catalina for at least another year to avoid disruptions.

Everyone is raving about all the mega changes for Big Sur but from what I have seen 90% seem to be cosmetic changes rather than any sort of underlying improvements. (I know about the Apple Silicon iOS unification and bravo, hope that goes well). But I think that migration to APFS was a bigger ‘upgrade’ than what spit & polish Big Sur largely contains.
BUT: They better take the opportunity to severely upgrade Apple Mail. Pleeeeeeeeaaase. Gimme back my moveable columns that I can click the header to sort emails by column.

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“Everyone” is dismissing the changes in Big Sur.

(See how that works? :wink:)

  • New UI design changes to improve overall consistency. Changes in lightness, darkness, spacing density in Finder , translucency etc offer some of the biggest changes to the Mac UI in years.
  • A revolution of a revamp of widgets and Notification Center
  • Messages has been reformed (message effects, etc) and search has been overhauled
  • Safari has seen more updates than it has in years, especially on privacy-focus and accepting Chrome extensions, and new customizable start page, translations, etc
  • Siri has 20x more facts
  • large updates to Apple maps including cycling directions and a Yelp-like user-submitted ratings
  • Apple optimized battery charging in Big Sur
  • Changes to the sidebar, tweaks to virtually every sound macOS makes

But most importantly complaints about a lack of changes seem a bit jejune given that the most significant changes are under the hood in Big Sur: the code necessary to run on Apple’s custom chips, the new Rosetta 2 translation environment necessary to support existing apps, and the Universal 2 approach to bundling the code for Intel-based apps and apps written for Apple silicon into a single package.

… not to mention UI changes that seem to portend integration of touch into macOS.

This version is more than a mere refinement of a handful of areas of macOS. Perhaps some people don’t notice many changes of Big Sur, in part because they’re already used to aspects of the design of iOS devices from which it borrows.

But I really don’t understand why people expect massive changes to an OS every 12 months, or don’t understand the tremendous unseen changes to this version that are setting up macOS for at least a half-decade.

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Well the thing is that those under the hood changes you mention are of no benefit to current Mac owners, only to those of future Apple Silicon Macs. I’d really like to see an upgrade interval of two or even three years. There is no reason to have annual updates. And apps like Safari should have their own upgrade intervals not tied to the OS. Do that and the only real improvement you list is battery management. Everything else is updates to apps or cosmetic changes.

Those Apple Silicon changes; don’t discount the under-the-hood changes on Intel.

I haven’t seen those discussed anywhere. But maybe I haven’t looked hard enough. Gone are the detailed Ars Technica articles.

Hey, don’t dismiss the cometic changes. When we sit in front of our machines all day, a pleasing interface matters a lot. I know the drab Windows 10 has depressed me, for real, and that was a factor in me switching to Macs.

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