Is it time for Big Sur yet?

With the release of iOS 11.2.2, is it finally “safe”, and time to upgrade my computers from Catalina? All of the apps that I use are 64-bit compliant, so there shouldn’t be an issue there. Is the OS stable enough that I won’t see any issues?

I would not update everything until you have done a test install on a separate partition and made sure your personal workflow is still intact. If you do pre-press work and require the ability to remove or deactivate fonts installed by Apple, it would be a mistake to go to Big Sur from what I have read.

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Thanks Tom. I’m good that regard. I don’t do a whole lot other than photography, and those apps are all Big Sur ready.

I’ve been running Big Sur on my 2016 MBA for a couple of months (after Catalina for only about 6 weeks) and it’s been running fine. I had one time when it spontaneously shut down when waking from sleep (I have no idea why), but generally it’s been pretty stable. No loss of mail like people were complaining about with Catalina.

I’m still on 11.2.1; I haven’t seen the 11.2.2 upgrade yet.

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Wow, that is interesting for me as still on Catalina I’m getting spontaneous restarts many multiple times a day and have been working with Apple on this with no success. Yesterday was 15 restarts many in triplets were it restarts and before the progress bar appears it restarts again and then on the third try complet

Pardon me if this is too silly to ask of someone savvy enough to even be on this site but:

That’s never happened to me (now on Catalina), but when strange stuff (like this) begins to happen, my first step is to see if I can fix it. My usual routine is OnyX, CleanMyMac, then TechTool Pro, and that usually fixes the problem, or at least gives me enough clues to be able to correct it myself. Have you done any of this, or tried anything similar?

Have you tried Safe Boot Mode to determine if it’s the OS that’s causing the issues vs an application that’s loading?

Have you done a Reinstall MacOS?

These are the things that I’d try.

Yes I have tried Safe Boot Mode, thanks. Reinstall is a bit of a problem if it Reboots in the middle of the reinsall. Same goes for up grading to Big Sur. I may have solved the problem however. I have BOINC installed on my machine and it runs all day in the background and has been doing it for 6-7 years now. I turned it off two days ago and haven’t seen any reboots since. Still waiting.

Yes I’ve now run OnyX at your suggestion and CleanMyMac. I no longer have Tech Tools Pro. But I may have solved the problem. Will wait a few more days and update. Thanks for your suggestions.

Back to the OT: So far, most discussions around Big Sur revolve around whether and how it’s problematic, and that’s an important issue. But an even more fundamental question, unrelated to possible problems, is simply: does Big Sur offer any benefits - better than, say, Catalina - for the Average-Joe user (like me - not a tech-heavy user) on an Intel Mac? I’m always eager to get the newest, because I’m often concerned that I might be missing out on something useful. Will I miss out on anything if I stay with Catalina? My impression so far (based only on what I’ve read, because I haven’t tried Big Sur myself) is that I wouldn’t gain anything, but I don’t really know. I’d appreciate some guidance.

Much more stable that Catalina is now or most probably ever will be. I’ve heard that from dozens of users.

The Messages app on Big Sur now more closely matches features and functionality on the iPad and iPhone messages apps. The mail app has a new look and I prefer its new look to what is on Catalina. Besides the new look to the user interface (I can take or leave the changes to that myself, though it’s really fine), that’s probably what you’d notice most about the upgrade.

Something more - your mileage may vary:

  • new look
  • new control and notification centres
  • widgets
  • Messages matches iOS
  • battery information
  • my favourite point: better security and privacy


This has been my experience and IMHO is the (only) reason to go to Big Sur. Apart from that it hasn’t really done anything for me. The new look isn’t better to me, but I’ve got used to it by now.

I think @franconi’s list is quite comprehensive. It’s just that apart from 1-2 items, the rest of that stuff I couldn’t care less about.

I certainly agree. The Mail improvements (restoration of functions removed in Catalina) are also significant. I have stable performance with seven active Mail accounts from providers including iCloud, MS Exchange, gmail,, and Comcast.

Besides stability and Mail, APFS in Big Sur has changed my backup life. As my boot and data volumes evolve, all the fuss and worry of re-partitioning target drive partitions to match source volume sizes is simply gone. I let APFS juggle the drive space while I only have to look at total drive usage. One large APFS-formatted drive can CCC backup multiple volumes or volume sets and I say, “No Worries.” NOT any more time spent trying to optimize backup storage space.

And the icing on the cake is APFS Time Machine targets seem to work as well or better as the HFS+ versions did.

Thanks for your help, people. None of the improvements mentioned seem to be important enough for me to upgrade, I’ve experienced no problems with Catalina, and I still cherish my bootable backups. So for me, since it ain’t broke, I don’t need to fix it, and now I can feel comfortable about my decision.