macOS “Big Sur” tips

While keeping your Mac up-to-date with the latest macOS system software generally is easier (and more reliable) for “mere mortals” than keeping up with all the Windows 10 updates on a PC, it’s still a chore. For some there’s no practical benefit for a new release (other than any security patches). But if you’ve got a Mac that supports the latest macOS – in this case version 11.2 with the moniker “Big Sur,” at some point the upgrade makes sense.

The first thing after a macOS upgrade is to check that everything looks okay and that you can do what you typically do as before.

Then, if you’re curious, explore new features.

• MacWorld > “Uncover macOS Big Sur’s secrets with these 11 tips, tricks, and hidden features” by Roman Loyola, Senior Editor (Mar 22.2021) – Big Sur is a monster release, and there are a bunch of new features you may have missed.

It’s been a few months now since Apple released macOS 11 Big Sur, and hopefully by now you’ve adjusted to its revamped user interface and the major new features, like the enhanced Messages and Maps apps. But operating systems are huge and there are always a few new features that aren’t obvious and you may have missed. Here are 11 tips, tricks, and hidden features in Big Sur that you need to check out. Give these a look and get the most out of Big Sur.


  1. Keeping your Mac up-to-date with the latest macOS system is particularly recommended for security patches – much like paying attention to any manufacturer’s recall notices for your car or truck.

    • The Verge > “The macOS 11.3 update includes a massive security patch and new emoji” by Mitchell Clark (Apr 26, 2021) – Even if you’re not into iOS apps or games, it’s probably best to install it ASAP.

    The update reportedly patches a vulnerability that allowed malware to bypass many of macOS’s built-in protections, like File Quarantine and GateKeeper’s opening dialog box. While Apple’s built-in anti-malware system could still block malicious programs if Apple were aware of them, enterprise software company Jamf did find evidence that the security flaw was being exploited by attackers.

    Apple also details a slew of other security fixes that are included with the latest update on its security update page. Catalina and Mojave have received security patches as well, for those who haven’t yet updated to Big Sur.

  2. Keeping your Mac up-to-date with the latest macOS system is particularly recommended for security patches, setting aside whether any new features (or other bug fixes) apply to your situation.

    • Mac World > “macOS Big Sur 11.3 is now available with a major security patch” by Roman Loyola, Senior Editor (Apr 27, 2021) – Improved support for iPhone and iPad apps on M1 Macs, new Safari features, and more.

    Apple on Monday released macOS Big Sur 11.3, an update to the Mac operating system. The Update includes improved support for AirTag, iPhone and iPad apps on Apple Silicon Macs, new Safari features, and more.

    Vulnerability fix

    Among the many new features detailed below, the macOS 11.3 Big Sur update fixes several security issues, including one where
    “A malicious application may bypass Gatekeeper checks” (CVE-2021-30657) and another where “A malicious application may be able to bypass Privacy preferences” (CVE-2021-1849). According to Ars Technica, CVE-2021-30657 was actively being exploited in the wild to suppress macOS security warnings.

    The article breaks out the benefits of the Update for the latest Apple M1-chip Macs, as well as for other Macs.

    As always, it’s a good idea to back up your data before updating your Mac. Time Machine, for example.

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