New features on your MacBook Air
Your MacBook Air delivers powerful performance to run your favorite apps faster than ever, as well as advanced technologies including Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt / USB 4. Keyboard improvements include convenient new shortcuts for features like Spotlight and dictation. See MacBook Air Magic Keyboard with Touch ID.
macOS Big Sur introduces a fresh new look for your Mac desktop, designed to be more closely integrated across Apple devices. The new design includes a translucent dock and menu bar, updated yet familiar icons, and more spacious menus. Full-height sidebars and integrated toolbar buttons make apps easier to use. Even the sounds you hear when getting a notification or alert have been updated.
The new design makes navigation even easier and gives you more control with these features:
Control Center: The new Control Center puts all your favorite menu bar items in one place, so you have quick access to the controls and preferences you use the most (for example, Wi-Fi, AirDrop, and Bluetooth). See Control Center on your Mac.
Notification Center: The redesigned Notification Center presents your notifications and widgets in a single column. You can customize which widgets you see, and interact with your notifications (for example, reply to an email). The Weather widget is even more precise and warns about severe weather or significant changes. See Notification Center on your Mac.
In addition to the redesigned look and feel, macOS Big Sur includes key improvements to these apps:
Safari: Enjoy a faster personalized browsing experience in the biggest update to Safari since its original launch in 2003. Make your browsing experience your own with a new customizable start page, and find many additional extensions in the App Store. Navigate with ease using all-new Favicons in tabs and tab previews that appear when you hover over them. Click the translation icon to quickly translate webpages (beta) between seven supported languages. Safari also has a new privacy report that shows you how it protects your privacy across the different websites you browse. Already the world’s fasted desktop browser, Safari provides faster browsing and loading of frequently visited sites than Chrome or Firefox. See Safari.
Maps: New curated guides help you discover the best places to eat, shop, and explore in a locale—you can even make your own guides. Use Look Around to take an interactive 3D tour through the streets of select cities. And now you can plan a cycling route that gives you elevation and obstacle indicators, or a route for your electric vehicle, complete with charging stops and time estimates. Indoor maps are available for major airports and shopping centers, so you can easily find restaurants, restrooms, and stores. See Maps.
Messages: New tools make it easier to share expressive messages and manage your group conversations. With new Message effects, you can personalize messages with balloons, confetti, and more. Add a Memoji sticker that matches your mood and personality to the conversation, and create new ones with the Memoji editor on Mac. You can even quickly share trending GIFs or images from your photos library with #images and the new photo picker. New group messaging features streamlined interactions with family, friends, and colleagues. Pin favorite conversations to the top of your messages list for fast access. Use inline replies to respond directly to a message, and direct a message to an individual in a group conversation by simply typing their name. Set a photo or an emoji for a group conversation, and it’s shared with all members of the group. See Messages.
macOS Big Sur also provides these new features and enhancements to existing features:
AirPods: AirPods seamlessly switch between active devices paired to the same iCloud account, making it even easier to use your AirPods with your Apple devices. On your Mac, you can click a notification to switch the audio from another device. Device switching works with AirPods Pro, AirPods (2nd generation), Powerbeats, Powerbeats Pro, and Beats Solo Pro. Requires an iPhone or iPod with the latest version of iOS; an iPad with the latest version of iPadOS; or a Mac with the latest version of macOS.
Apple Arcade: See what games your Game Center friends are playing right from the Arcade tab, and view your achievements and goals on game pages. Game Center now includes an in-game dashboard so you can see your progress and that of your friends at a glance. See App Store.
Battery: Your MacBook Air now features Optimized Battery Charging and a chart of battery levels and usage history. See Charge the MacBook Air battery.
Family Sharing: An improved family settings UI gives family members more clarity and control over how their family is set up. It's easier than ever to set up your family, add new members, and manage your family details. See more about Family Sharing in Access your iCloud content on your Mac and Apple Account on Mac.
Home: The Home app has several improvements, including a visual status area with a summary of accessories that require your attention or have important status changes to share, Face Recognition and Activity Zones for doorbells and video cameras, and Adaptive Lighting for smart light bulbs. See Home.
iPhone and iPad apps on MacBook Air: Many iPhone and iPad apps can now run on your MacBook Air. See App Store.
Listen Now: In Music and Podcasts, the Listen Now tab learns your preferences (favorite artists, interviews, mixes, podcasts) and provides suggestions based on what you listen to. Podcasts includes a more focused Up Next so you can easily resume the next episode in your queue. See Music and Podcasts.
Notes: New text styles give you even more formatting options for your notes. Enhanced scanning on iPhone helps you capture sharper scans and automatically transfers them to your Mac for immediate use. See Notes.
Photos: Video and photo editing capabilities have been expanded with filters, special effects, and more. You can do more refined photo retouching and add captions to photos and videos. Enhancements to Memories include more music tracks for movies and video stabilization. See Photos.
Reminders: Split up tasks and receive smart suggestions to use your reminders in new ways. Assign reminders to people you share lists with and they’ll get a notification. You can also let smart suggestions help you create a reminder based on similar ones you’ve created in the past. When you’re corresponding with someone in Mail, Siri recognizes possible reminders and makes suggestions for you to create them. Then use new keyboard shortcuts to quickly find the reminder you need. See Reminders.
Software updates: With macOS Big Sur, software updates begin in the background and complete faster than before—so it’s easier to keep your Mac up to date and secure.
Spotlight: Spotlight is faster than ever. It now prominently shows your top search results and suggestions as you type—making it even quicker to access high quality suggestions. Spotlight technology is also used in the Find menus for apps like Safari, Pages, Keynote, and more. See Spotlight on your Mac.
Voice Memos: Add folders to help you keep your Voice Memos organized. Easily mark recordings as Favorites so you can quickly access them later. Take your Voice Memos one step further by automatically reducing background noise with a single click. See Voice Memos.