Wednesday, November 11, 2020

macOS Big Sur Upgrade Checklist


macOS Big Sur color image

This is a major release, so some of your critical and favorite software may no longer work with this new version. 

As with previous major releases, this upgrade was temporarily restricted for college-owned Apple computers. The restriction was removed January 15 2021.

Like the previous version, Catalina, 32-bit applications are incompatible with Big Sur.

We recommend that you only upgrade if your computer has at least 20 GB of available storage space and a minimum of 8 GB of RAM. Before upgrading, make sure you have a backup plan and set aside plenty of time for the installation to complete. 

✓ Have a backup.

ITS strongly recommends backing up your data. Once you upgrade, there's no going back to retrieve any lost data. Back up your data to your CrashPlan, Google Drive Backup & Sync, H Drive, or Time Machine.

✓ Check software compatibility.

What is the most important software that you use every day? The latest versions of programs such as Microsoft Office and Google File Stream are known to work great with macOS Big Sur, but some specialized software may need patches or paid upgrades before they work. If you aren’t sure, contact the ITS Help Desk at Faculty members may contact their Academic Information Associate. RoaringApps compatibility checker may have more information.

✓ Review the list of 32-bit applications installed on your Mac - Catalina macOS users can skip this step.

  1. Go to the Apple menu and choose About this Mac
  2. From the Overview tab, select System Report…
  3. Locate Software and click Applications. Wait a moment and a list of all the applications installed on your computer appears, including the Application Name, Version, Obtained from, Last Modified, and 64-Bit (Intel).
  4. Look closely at the 64-Bit (Intel) column for applications with No. These applications will no longer work when upgraded to Big Sur.
  5. Read this article for more info: 32-bit app compatibility with macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 and later

✓ Make sure to have enough storage space. 

You need 20 GB of available storage capacity. To find the available storage go to the Apple menu and choose About This Mac then Storage.

✓ Make sure to have enough memory (RAM). 

ITS recommends at least 8 GB of RAM, otherwise your computer may run very slowly after the upgrade. To find the memory (RAM) go to the Apple menu and choose About This Mac then Overview, look for Memory.

✓ Make sure your hardware is compatible if you want to use Big Sur’s new features.

We only recommend the upgrade for the following computer models. To find your model, go to the Apple menu and choose About This Mac.

MacBook Pro: Late 2013 or newer
MacBook Air: Mid 2013 or newer
MacBook: Early 2015 or newer

iMac: Mid 2014 or newer
iMac Pro

Mac Pro: Late 2013 or newer
Mac Mini: Late 2014 or newer

✓ Clear your schedule. 

Upgrading your device to macOS Big Sur may take hours, and could require reinstalling speciality software afterward.

✓ Install macOS Big Sur.

Go to the Apple menu > App Store… > macOS Big Sur > Download > Install

✓ Upgrade or remove 32-bit applications that no longer work with Big Sur - Catalina macOS users can skip this step.

Contact the software manufacturer for the latest upgrade.

Additional Resources


ITS Help Desk | | 651-696-6525

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