How to Install MacOS Big Sur on a Mac

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How to install macOS Big Sur

Ready to upgrade to and install macOS Big Sur on your Mac? MacOS Big Sur is here, with it’s redesigned user interface, new icons, new system sounds, and a refreshed general appearance. Of course, there’s plenty of new beyond the visual changes, with new features in Safari, Messages, Photos, and more.

Here we’ll walk through the steps to install macOS Big Sur, and so if you’re interested you’ll be up and running with the latest macOS in no time at all. This method will be covering upgrading from an existing version of MacOS to install MacOS Big Sur, we’ll have a separate article covering clean installs.

The requirements for installing macOS Big Sur are fairly straight forward; the Mac must be compatible with and meet the Big Sur system requirements, you’ll want to make a complete backup of your Mac and all important data using Time Machine or something similar, and you’ll need to download macOS Big Sur. You can certainly go beyond that and prepare for Big Sur, but if you’re all ready to go then it’s just a matter of committing the time to install it onto a Macintosh.

How to Install macOS Big Sur on a Mac by Upgrading

Have a compatible Mac, a full backup, and you’re ready to go? Here’s how to upgrade to macOS Big Sur:

  1. Complete a full backup of the Mac, with Time Machine or your backup method of choice
  2. Head to the Mac App Store and choose “Get” to trigger the upgrade process for MacOS Big Sur
  3. Get macOS Big Sur from the Mac App Store

  4. From System Preferences, choose “Upgrade Now” *
  5. How to download and upgrade macOS Big Sur

  6. Let macOS Big Sur download, when finished a splash screen to install it will launch automatically **
  7. How to upgrade to macOS Big Sur

  8. Click on ‘Continue’ and agree to the terms of service (after carefully reading the entire treatise, of course)
  9. Agree to Big Sur terms after reading them of course

  10. Choose the destination hard drive (by default, “Macintosh HD”) and choose Continue
  11. Choose the destination drive and install macOS Big Sur

  12. Let the installation complete, it can take a while to finish the upgrade, do not interrupt the installation

When complete, the Mac will reboot automatically into macOS Big Sur, and you’re ready to go.

macOS Big Sur desktop screenshot

Explore the new user interface look, check out the new wallpapers, enjoy the new system sounds, check out the new features in Safari, Photos, Messages, Finder, and more. There’s plenty to see and do.

And of course, stay tuned for a continuous stream of tips and tricks for macOS Big Sur.

* If you experience an error message trying to download macOS Big Sur, check here for some troubleshooting tips. Often simply rebooting the Mac and trying again in a few moments will resolve the problem.

** If you wish to make a bootable USB drive for Big Sur you’ll want to quit out of the installer before running it, as the installer deletes itself upon successful completion of the upgrade.

What has your been your experience with upgrading to macOS Big Sur? Did you install it right away, are you holding off for a while? Share any of your thoughts, experiences, and opinions in the comments!

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