December 28, 2021

macOS Big Sur vs Catalina: What’s the Difference?

Some recent operating systems for Apple include macOS Big Sur and Catalina. If you’re still using macOS Catalina, then you might be wondering if it’s worth upgrading.

Many users out there are hesitant to upgrade to new operating systems because they are worried about losing data or features that they have grown accustomed to. So when it comes to macOS Big Sur vs Catalina, is the upgrade worth it?

That’s a great question. And we’ve got the information that you are looking for!

So if you would like to learn more, then keep on reading and we will take you through everything that you need to know when it comes to macOS Catalina vs Big Sur.


When Apple moved over from macOS 10.16 Catalina to macOS 11 Big Sur, they referred to the change as the biggest design upgrade in the system’s history. It is incredible that a large company like Apple continues to innovate to such great lengths with each new operating system.

There are several design changes and completely new elements that Big Sur brings. Let’s start with the Dock.

The Dock, in Catalina, contains all kinds of mismatched icons of different shapes and colors. With Big Sur, the app icons are going to be a lot more uniform when in the Dock. All of the new icons are going to be squares, just like how they are on Apple’s mobile devices.

In fact, many of these icons are going to look just like how they do on the iPad and iPhone.

You’ll see that the Mail icon won’t be the classic eagle stamp icon anymore. Instead, it will be the same envelope icon that you see on mobile devices.

Of course, there are more changes to the design than just a few app styles. When you open application elements of the interface in Big Sur, there is going to be greater use of full-height sidebars. This is to make it easier to find what you want.


According to Apple, the update to Safari should be seen as a major upgrade. This update adds features to improve privacy, lower energy consumption, and speed up performance.

When you use Safari on macOS Big Sur, you are able to customize the homepage and even add a background image. You can then add elements like your iCloud tabs, your reading list, and even a Privacy Report.

Tabs in Safari have been redesigned. When you hover your mouse over a tab it will bring up a preview of that page. This is going to allow you to more efficiently move between tabs.

Safari now has the ability to translate pages into different languages with just one click. It can also show you a report of all of the cross-site trackers that it is blocking so that your privacy stays protected. Lastly, it can also tell you if any of your saved usernames and passwords have been hacked.

Of course, if things start going haywire and you think it’s been hacked, then you should visit a reputable site like; and learn how to kill certain processes.


In Big Sur, Messages comes with a lot of great new features. A lot of these new features are similar to those that have been used in other messaging apps for quite a while now. With that said, it is still better to get those features late than never.

With the new version of Messages, you are able to pin up to nine conversations to the top of your message list. You can also add an image to specify a conversation and directly reply to messages in group conversations and “mention” other people.

You can also search for and send trending images and GIFs in messages. Users can search through their messages more easily and add and create Memoji on the computer.

Big Sur is also a lot faster than Catalina and Messages in Big Sur is more or less comparable to the iOS version of the app.


Another application that has been as great as its mobile counterpart is Maps. However, that has changed since the introduction of Big Sur. Users in Maps can now create guides to locations and also access the guides that are made by other people.

The app also has routes for cyclists and charging points for electric cars. You can even find indoor maps for some places.

There is also the Look Around feature in Big Sur Maps, which is Apple’s version of Google Street View. This feature lets you get a street-level 3D perspective of locations.

App Store

One thing that has helped Apple stand out above other tech companies is their obsession with privacy. And that stays true with Big Sur. You now get privacy information in the App Store.

For every app, some data is collected by the app. You will get to see which data is linked to you, which isn’t linked to you, and which is used to track you.

The Importance of Knowing What the Difference Is for macOS Big Sur vs Catalina

Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now understand what the differences are when it comes to macOS Big Sur vs Catalina. As we can see, there are some handy upgrades with the new OS. If these upgrades sound appealing to you, then you should consider updating your computer’s operating system.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of our site for more articles today!

About the author 

Peter Hatch

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