Finally upgraded to Big Sur - some observations

After some of the early warnings I waited awhile on Big Sur. Finally installed it yesterday, some observations.

First, generally, overall, I am pleased. I probably should have read up on things some more before I did it, so that maybe the UI changes wouldn’t have been so surprising, but I like the look and feel of it so far.

Some things that were different

My menu bar utility (Dozer) I had been using to hide less-used items is not working well. Everything is spaced out farther than before, including the two dots that Dozer uses. I hope I can find a fix for this…

Some things, mostly utilities, that were previously set to always start didn’t start - Skitch, ToothFairy, all seem to work after a manual start.

Oddly, the desktop wallpaper was still Catalina - managed to find the Big Sur wallpaper and switch it out manually.

Things that just work

Alfred, Keyboard Maestro - no problems - same for Notion, FastMail, Firefox, Safari

Sorry, nothing more profound than that. It’s just working, so that’s good.

MacBook Air, 13-inch (2017)


The Bartender 4 Beta is really helpful for making the menu bar usable in Big Sur


A couple of weeks ago I rolled back my 2019 15-inch MacBook Pro from Big Sur to Catalina. I miss the UI, but my machine seems to be running drastically better. The fans were running a lot more than normal – for example, Logitech G-Hub would kick the fans on. Safari was buggy. Paste loaded inconsistently. Cloudflare Warp would choke. Lightroom and Photoshop would also freeze.

“Downgrading” to Catalina fixed my problems.

Yes! Without Bartender 4 the Big Sur menu bar is annoying.


I only upgraded to Catalina just before Christmas. I thought it was one of the the worst OSs I had ever used. Both personal machines spontaneously restarted, very sluggish and on my work laptop it Kernal panics every time I stick anything into a usb /c port. Last week I upgraded my personal machines to Big Sur. So far so good.


Interesting. I haven’t had a kernel panic on Catalina. As far as Big Sur performance, I wonder if it’s something specific with my setup.

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After giving it a bit, the one, big negative thing i have noticed is battery life.

It is just an impression, but based on many days of observations. My opinion is that Big Sur has cut my battery life approximately 50% !!!

I upgraded to Big Sur!! I don’t want to use this, but… may I say Bug Sir?
First thing first I checked Security & Privacy, see an updated Location Permission and tried to toggle the Lock button to make change… “Hmm, no TouchID for unlock? ok I’ll input my password… WHAT?”. Turns out there’s bug on password input that require me to reset SMC.

Two hours in, two major observations that I don’t like:

  1. Toolbar icons are much bulkier than I interpret from screenshots. I use high contrast and reduced transparency in Catalina (to mimic High Sierra) and those settings make the already weird Toolbar much weirder. I don’t mind the weird design decision of Move to…, but the other icons are ugly IMHO

  2. By default I disabled Natural Scrolling. I know… I know… my friends also mock me. But trying to scroll the Display and Sound in menu drawer requires expertise in some area of the brain.
    Screen Shot 2021-01-29 at 04.33.12

Finished ranting :smiley:
Other than that, I like the menu bar and new three color buttons’ design.

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I did not think I had anything from Karabiner Elements still on my system, but I did! Once I figured out how to uninstall it (from within the app??) it looks like battery life is back. This morning I was using my laptop for 5 hours, battery down about 50%.