How to upgrade to macOS Big Sur from Catalina
How to upgrade to macOS Big Sur from Catalina

The new version of macOS Big Sur is now available, a new version of the operating system that comes along with Apple’s announcement of the new Mac mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro computers with the new Apple Silicon M1 chipset.

This is an important moment for the company, as it supposes that from now on, Apple will choose to manufacture its own chips from ARM, compared to the use that it had been doing until now of the Intel Core models of different generations.

In this article, we will be explaining to you How to upgrade to macOS Big Sur from Catalina on your Mac and things you do before proceeding with installing the macOS Big Sur. Upgrading your Mac is free and easy, and it doesn’t take as long as it used to, but there are some steps you need to take.

Read on to learn how to upgrade to Catalina or Mojave from High Sierra, Sierra, El Capitan, Yosemite, or an earlier version of macOS X and also step by step guide on how to solve the appearance of problems or obstacles.

Note that you can get future macOS or Big Sur updates early by simply joining the Apple’s Beta software programs, which is a must if you are an app developer.

How to Install macOS Big Sur on your Mac

It is now possible to download and update your Mac computer. The method of obtaining Big Sur depends largely on the version of macOS that is currently running on your computer.

Perhaps your biggest concern is whether some of the software programs that you currently use and need to use on a daily basis will continue to work in the new operating system. Fortunately, there are a few ways to test this with Big Sur without removing the older version of macOS on your computer.

Find out how to run macOS on an external hard drive if you want to make sure that the software works fine in the new operating system, before updating your computer.

Upgrade Catalina to Mojave

If you have Catalina or Mojave installed on your Mac, the new update will come naturally through the ‘Software Update’ option. You will get a notification that your system update is available. Proceed like this:

  1. Open the ‘System Preferences’ (you can click on the Apple logo in the menu to find it).
  2. Click on the ‘Software Update’ icon.
  3. Your Mac will check for updates if it is available Click the ‘Update Now’ to allow the installer to download the new macOS version.
  4. While the installer is downloading, you can continue to use your Mac. Once the download is complete now click to install thing will install the new download version of the operating system on your Mac.
  5. Your Mac will be out of service sure Keep that in mind for a while while the new version is being installed.

Earlier version or High Sierra update

If you are running an earlier version or High Sierra, follow these below steps:

  1. Launch your Mac App Store (click on the blue icon containing a white A, or search by pressing space + command and typing App Store).
  2. Search for macOS.
  3. Click the ‘Get’ (older versions of the App Store may have a download button).
  4. If requested you will be asked to fill in your Apple ID information.
  5. The installer will begin to download. You can see how long it will take by looking at the bar under Download.
  6. Once the file is downloaded, a window will appear on your Mac, prompting to continue. The installation file can be found under ‘Applications’ (although it will open automatically).
  7. Fortunately, the download takes place in the background, so you can continue working or browsing the web during the process.

How long will it take?

When we started downloading Big Sur, our Mac said that it would take us 10 hours to download the full 11.98 GB file, so you should arm yourself with some patience, especially if the download uses a low-speed Wi-Fi network.

You may want to leave your Mac downloading the operating system update overnight. All of this is prior to starting the installation, at which point you won’t even be able to use your Mac, which could take an hour.

Now that you have the installation files, we explain how to install Big Sur below.

How to install macOS Big Sur

Once the installer has downloaded (as described above), you are ready to install the macOS software on your Mac.

  1. Once the installation file has downloaded, you should see a pop-up window on your Mac asking you to start the installation process.
  2. If you are ready to install, click ‘Continue’ (note that it may take some time, so finish what you have in hand before continuing with the installation).
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to finish installing the software update, which should take half an hour to an hour, depending on the Mac specifications.

In case you run into trouble, here’s what to do if your Mac freezes during the installation process.

How to prepare your Mac for an operating system update

Normally, we recommend not jumping into the pool and installing new software right away, which we mean as soon as Apple releases it. Regardless of how strict Apple’s testing process is, issues with initial downloads are bound to arise.

Even if there are no problems, Apple’s servers often get overloaded as all users rush to update and that can slow down the process. Therefore, we recommend that you be patient and do a little cleaning beforehand.

There are a few things worth keeping in mind before downloading a new version of the Mac operating system. If you check all of this first, you are less likely to have problems after the update.

Here are the steps to follow when updating your Mac to the latest version of macOS.

  1. Find the version of macOS you need.
  2. Check that your Mac is compatible.
  3. Make sure you have enough space on your Mac. The Big Sur beta setup file was 10GB!
  4. Make a backup of your Mac.
  5. Make sure your Mac is healthy.
  6. Sign in to iCloud.
  7. Make sure you are on a trusted network.
  8. Update to the latest version of your current version of macOS.
  9. Download macOS only from the Mac App Store.
  10. Install macOS on your Mac.

We also cover how to update your Mac with the minor operating system updates that Apple releases throughout the year – if it’s just an update to the current version of macOS.

Find the version of macOS you need

The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out exactly which version of the Mac operating system to install and make sure there is no reason not to install it.

If you decide to wait and download the version of macOS a few months after launch, or if you are considering upgrading your Mac to an earlier version of macOS, keep in mind that the version you will download will be a version prior to the latest update.

So you should expect to have to update the operating system again once you have installed it, but this should happen automatically. Apple continues to release updates throughout the year, patching vulnerabilities, and fixing issues.

Make sure you have enough space 

Apple suggests that you should have at least 20GB of free drive space on your Mac before installing a new version of macOS, although you may not need as much.

In general, we recommend that you always try to keep 10% of the total space on your Mac free before proceeding with the new installation.

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Make a backup

Another very interesting option is to make a backup of your Mac. Time Machine has always made this process easier.

Make sure you are on a reliable network

We also recommend that you be on a reliable network, be it from your home or work. In addition to having a good bandwidth, it is interesting to avoid downloading this type of update in hotels, coffee shops or places with public Wi-Fi networks.

Sometimes, if you are close to the router and your Mac allows it, you can use a Gigabit Ethernet wired connection with which the download will be carried out much faster without saturating the connection of the rest of the users.

Update all your software to the latest version

Before updating to the new version of macOS, be sure to install the latest updates for the version of macOS that you are running. From time to time, there will be software updates to improve stability

There is always the possibility that you will have trouble updating to the new version of the Mac operating system if you haven’t pre-installed this essential update beforehand, so do your housework first.

You should also make sure you have updated third-party applications. Those updates may include changes required to update to the latest version of macOS, and if you don’t run the updates, they may not work properly.

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To update the apps you purchased from the Mac App Store, launch the App Store app and click the ‘Updates’ button on the toolbar. Then click on ‘Update All’, simply providing your Apple ID and password.

For apps that you purchased elsewhere, you will need to install updates manually. You can check for available updates from the application menu. In Microsoft Word, for example, it’s all about clicking ‘Help> Check for updates’.

Check compatibility with your third-party apps before updating macOS. That way, you’re all up and running right away, instead of getting frustrated that your favorite apps and plugins aren’t working like they used to.

How to install a macOS update in Big Sur, Catalina, or Mojave

Installing updates for macOS, once you’re running Big Sur, Catalina, or Mojave, is a bit different than the previous ones. Instead of opening the Mac App Store, you’ll need to do the following:

  1. Open system preferences
  2. Click on ‘Software Update’
  3. Then click update software if one is available
  4. You can also click on the Apple logo in the menu bar and select ‘Software Update’.

How to install a macOS update on High Sierra or earlier

If you have already installed the new version of macOS and only want to install the latest update for that software, you will find it in the updates tab of the Mac App Store.

  1. Open the Mac App Store.
  2. Click on ‘Updates’.
  3. Click ‘Update’ next to the updates you want to install.
  4. If the software has not yet been downloaded (you can set it to download automatically). It will download in the background.
  5. Once the software has downloaded, you will see a notification to let you know that it is ready to be installed.
  6. Your Mac may notify you that it will restart before installing the update, so you can bet on postponing the update for a while.
  7. When you’re ready to continue, click ‘Update again’ and wait while your Mac restarts and installs the update.
  8. Your Mac will shut down and the installation will begin; Note that this can take a while and there is no warning until it actually starts up again, a recent update can take up to 24 minutes, so don’t panic.
  9. After the installation is complete, your Mac will restart.


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