Big Sur....Yea or nay?

So, what do folks think - is it safe to upgrade to Big Sur yet - or is it still suspect.

Has anyone done it yet? anyone have/had issues?

Inquiring minds want to know…



Hi Sam,

I upgraded to it about a week or so ago now. One problem I’m experiencing is having ‘Music’ [formerly iTunes] recognize my music library? Perhaps it has something to do with the formatting on the hard drive, [in that perhaps it’s different some how from pervious versions?]. But, I’m having to go through my 9TB of tunes, and import them again into ‘Music’.

I’m on a 27” retina iMac that’s running at 4 GHz and is equipped with the maximum this machine will take, which is 32 GB of RAM, and, is equipped with a newly installed 3 TB Fusion Drive.

Having upgraded from Mojave, I so far haven’t found there to be much of a difference? Then again, perhaps I’ve not really been pushing it to it’s limits? If programs and what not are running slower, then it’s not likely by much as I’m not noticing a decline in speed.

But so far, I see no reason not to upgrade to it.

I’m interested to read what others have to say about Big Sur.

I know my review here isn’t of much help, but at least I’ve not yet, experienced any major regrets for making this upgrade. Time will tell …

Bill Taylor

I installed BigSur, upgrading from Catalina, a bit over 3 weeks ago. You can see my detailed first impressions here.

2 updates to that post:

  1. The current version of Carbon Copy Cloner creates bootable clones. The first run under BigSur will take more time as it creates the APFS System Disk from scratch rather than incrementally updating previous versions. I suspect that may also be the case when system updates are run. Shirt Pocket Software has yet to release a BigSur compatible version of SuperDuper, but is working on it.

  2. Often, after viewing a video (especially after viewing a full-screen video), no cursor appears on the screen. I’ve been able to get it back without restarting via various manipulations that don’t need the cursor, but I have yet to find any surefire algorithm aside from restarting the system

Nay. Printing is broken for many people. Printer problem mac OS Big Sur - Apple Community

Probably not advisable if font management is important for your workflow.

Done it…no real issues. Check first to make sure nothing important is not compatible yet. For me…it was the 2 year old version of Parallels desktop but since VMWare Fusion 3 is now free for personal use I got it and moved my Windows 10 and Mojave VMs over to it…they don’t get used much but I wanted one 32 bit macOS one on hand if I need it and I have the occasional need to do something in Windows.

I’m still waiting for Adam to give his approval.

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I believe we are expecting 11.1 this week.

FWIW my experience with Big Sur is that the betas were more stable/reliable for me on my 2019 16" MacBook Pro than Catalina was.

Unfortunately these sorts of recommendations are very specific to each individual, so it’s difficult to make a recommendation to someone else without knowing your usage.

11.1 was released today.

Leo Laporte’s standing recommendation is to wait for the update to the update, that is the update that fixes the regressions introduced by the original update tasked with fixing the initial public release. I guess something like 11.1.1.

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I think it’s interesting that Apple released 11.1 without any intermediate bug fix releases, and there were only a few bugs fixed in this release.

The main thing I’d say about upgrading to Big Sur right now is that you should not upgrade until your backup system is compatible. Time Machine is, and Carbon Copy Cloner and ChronoSync are (with extra work) but SuperDuper is not yet.

In general, it still feels a little early to me. I have several machines running it without much difficulty, but I probably won’t upgrade my main iMac for a few more weeks.

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I upgraded my MBP 13 2017 last week (dirty install). So far, it’s been rock solid, although the UI refresh has been a bit of a shock.

There was an 11.01 bug release that was needed for M1 Macs to enable reinstalling Big Sur.

Just updated. Took 3 tries because of “corrupted download”, “Missing items”, talked to Support said get it from t he App Store. Did so with zero problems except that it is huge install. All of my apps are running with no issues that I have seen. This was a lot better transition for me than Catalina was!

Although I haven’t upgraded but rather bought a whole new machine (Mini M1) with Big Sur, I suspect the issue I have is relevant here. Music was already a downgrade for those of us who own and rip/download our music rather than using Apple Music streaming, but Music under Big Sur is even worse. Not only does have I not found a way to display album art at the far left of Songs view, but it now has a problem with working in columns. When Songs view is sorted by a given column, when typing a letter Music/iTunes has always jumped to that letter in the column. Not any more - now when typing a letter, Music apparently thinks you want to do a search, and leaves Songs view to display the search results screen. Extremely annoying. If you’re a big user of Music, you might want to wait to upgrade (though since Apple seems determined to make Music worse and worse, I’m not confident this will be fixed). I’m usually quite tolerant of weird Apple decisions, but the way they’re handling Music for those of us who want to own our music is really annoying.


I agree wholeheartedly! I really miss iTunes!

Please let us know when you upgrade your main iMac. When you feel safe to do that, I’ll upgrade mine. In fact, I’ll wait until I hear how you feel about the upgrade you did. I just don’t want to deal with a lot of computer issues right now.

Hi Sam
I upgraded day 1 I like to live dangerously, two things one good one bad, good is that the kernel panic issue I had been experiencing in Catalina went away, bad is that Mail is an absolute shambles and I think I will dump it for Outlook. The search function doesn’t i.e it does nothing plus several other issues. Otherwise all good though I do find the font size in the menu bar small and no way to change.

I think, after everything I’ve read I’m going to wait a little longer.

Thanks, everyone for your support and insight.


Probably the best idea, Sam.

After installing it and trying to get ‘Music’ working with my current iTunes collection, and some other odd behaviours that had me wondering, I’ve gone back to Mojave.

After reading here about all the problems folks experienced with Catalina, I speculate that Mojave is a better, more reliable OS.

Still, I’m surprised that Apple released Big Sur, when I would have thought they’d be better off resolving existing problems with Catalina, before releasing Big Sur?

Can anyone tell me if Catalina is stable enough, that you’d recommend it given your experiences with it?


Did it last night on my 2018 iMac.

Mild chaos.

  • Over 1100 e-mails were moved out of Gmail folders into a mysterious “Recovered E-mails” folder. I have no idea why. Now I get to spend a few hours over the next week refiling them.

  • My Favorites Bar mailboxes in Mail are gone, replaced by some new defaults that show up in the mailboxes list too. They are permanently connected now. Am re-creating what has worked for the whole family for years.

  • Mail message list was in a tiny font. Fixed… eventually. Well, at least customized columns are back!

  • Buttons in Toolbars in Mail and Safari were reset to “Default”. I’m looking at my MacBook Pro, still on Catalina, to see how I set it up and re-creating the best I can. The window structure in Mail uses up space on the left for the mailbox title so buttons are all weirdly shifted to the right.

  • Menu bar font is small (I have made it a bit bigger via Preferences but there are only two sizes) and poorly placed a bit too low.

  • Menus are… too far flush left (if no items can be checked then there is no buffer on the left anymore, so menus are different and inconsistent), strangely round-cornered blobs not connected to the menu title, key commands in barely visible gray. Mavericks redux (at least I think it was Mavericks — horrible font in the menus).

  • Accent color was inexplicably set to fire engine red— yikes. Fixed, kinda. The blue is way too dark blue. Highlight colors are far too muted; had to go “Custom”.

  • Aerial screensaver and Dropbox broke. Needed to reinstall both. I expect more problems like these.

Overall — not friendly to older eyes. Annoying “do I really need to set this up again?” things.

Not big chaos, just mild chaos.

Budget some time to fix things. And refile a lot of e-mails.

I won’t be updating my MacBook Pro — my main work machine — until I must. Whoever thought I’d want to stay with Catalina??!?