macOS Big Sur vs Catalina: Is It Worth An Upgrade?

Today we are going to help you in enlightening all the aspects of macOS Big Sur vs Catalina.

We will provide you the perfect information and knowledge to know the difference between both of these amazing softwares. 

Want to know the interesting part of this review?

In this review, we have collected all the information regarding the features and functionalities of macOS Big Sur vs Catalina.

You will be able to know every major difference between both of this software and help the user to make the right choice.

These details about the differences between macOS Big Sur vs Catalina will allow you to know whether an update is necessary for your system or not. It will also give you an overview of whether it is worth it or not. 

So, let’s get to the informative part, shall we?

We will take you straight towards the best collection of information regarding macOS Big Sur vs Catalina.

As you go through this review you will know whether the upgrade is worth it or not. 

macOS Big Sur vs Catalina (Differences)

macOS Big Sur vs Catalina

Both macOS Big Sur vs Catalina is one of the best softwares that are available in the market.

They both are used on an enormous scale which is why it is hard to know the differences between them.

Well, there is no need to worry about it at all because we have collected all the essential information that you need to know about the differences between macOS Big Sur vs Catalina.

Here we have listed down a few major differences between macOS Big Sur vs Catalina to help you understand these features. 

User Interface:

In macOS Big Sur vs Catalina, the former has sidebars stretched to the full height of the window, the toolbars are sleek. The interface for redesigned for the apps like Mail and Photos.

Then the icons got simplified, plain white backgrounds on toolbars, and title bars. The Dock has rounded corners, app icons have the same shape which gives a neat look.

For the first time in Big Sure, the Control Center appears on the Mac. It is accessible from a menu bar item allowing you to control Wi-Fi, AirDrop, etc.


According to Apple the biggest update ever is the Safari in Big Sure. This new updated version improves performance and reduces energy consumption. Also, it adds enhanced features to improve privacy.

You can also customize the homepage and add a background image. Next, it allows you to add elements like the Privacy report, reading list, and iCloud tabs.

The new design of tabs lets you see more at once, you can even translate pages between 7 languages. And that too, with a single click.


Even the messages have various new features in Big Sur. Most are similar, as the features have been in other apps.

For instance, the update allows you to pin 9 conversations on the message list’s top. Or you can reply to the messages in group chat directly.

Then allows you to add an image to identify conversations or mention others. Further, you can search for GIFs, add them, trending images.

Or can create your own Memoji on the Mac and add to messages.

App Store:

As the previous few releases have privacy as the key theme, Big Sur is also the same.

Apple displays privacy info in the App Store apart from the privacy report in Safari. The data types collected by the app get split into 3 categories for each app.

First, data used to track you, then data linked to you, and last data not linked to you. This feature makes it easy to determine a specific app and how it uses your info.

1- Design:


Described by Apple this new move from macOS 10.16 Catalina to macOS 11 Big Sur. Since the introduction of Mac OS X, this is the biggest design upgrade in macOS Big Sur vs Catalina.

Yosemite bought its iOS flavored remodel to the Mac and changed the look of Mac OS X back then.

So this redesigned macOS can be the biggest change in decades. Let’s take a look at the modernized, design changes that occurred from Catalina to Big Sur.

In short, there have been plenty of changes and the addition of new elements. For instance, the Control Center moved to the top right and more.

Here’s the deal!

First, we will take a quick look at the Dock, in the case of Catalina the Dock is a muddle of icons that are in no symmetry.

Some icons are square then some are circle, remaining are in neither category. Whereas in Big Sur, the app icons are more uniform in the Dock.

All the icons from Apple are square, in symmetry pretty much like an iPad or iPhone. Many icons are parallel to those of the iPhone and iPad.

Then the Mail icon in Big Sur in an envelope like that from iOS and not the usual eagle stamp icon.

Next, the Messages icon that is blue in Catalina is now replaced with a green Messages icon as in iPad and iPhone. Even Pages have a new icon identical to iOS.

This is only the beginning of the design overhaul of macOS Big Sur vs Catalina as there is a lot more than a few icons.

The elements of the interface are now changed when you open the apps. With the full-height sidebars, it will be easy to find any item, said by Apple.

Then the controls are more integrated into the menu bars. A new icon for Control Centre is over the top right along with the other icons for battery, Wi-Fi, etc.

This single icon allows you to bring up functional controls for various things. From brightness to sound, AirPlay, AirDrop, Do Not Disturb, and Music controls.

What’s the bottom line?

One of the best features that people mentioned the most is customizing controls. Also, you can add tools for the most often carried out things/actions.

There is a chance that you may be able to add tools like Home, Timer, Dark Mode, etc. here just like in iOS. Furthermore, there is another tweak.

The Notification Centre that appears on the right side of the screen is also overhauled in Big Sur. Isn’t it amazing?

Thus in the new design means of macOS Big Sur vs Catalina, you can check Notifications, Widgets in a single view.

Whereas in Catalina two tabs appear when you bring up Notification Centre. These are Today and then Notifications.

The first one is about where the Widgets for Calculator, Calendar, Weather, etc reside. As for the later, it has all the notification received from the apps, emails, or other messages.

For macOS Big Sur vs Catalina, the former shows everything once. Yet the notifications get grouped by the app plus you can pick the widget design suiting you.

In Catalina, this Notification Centre seems to be quite cluttered up. Hence Big Sur has a lot of changes to offer with a neater look.

2- Apps:


After discussing the major design changes, there is a lot more to Big Sure than we all anticipated. There are a lot of twists relevant to the apps.

Though most of these changes are like the ones in iOS 14 and iPad OS 14. Yet the significant overhaul took place for 3 main apps; Maps, Messages, and Safari.

It only gets better!

In macOS Big Sur vs Catalina, the changes made to Maps are pretty good even though Maps feel pointless.

Then the major changes seen will be in Messages and then Safari. In the case of Safari, the changes are not bound to Big Sure only but will occur in Catalina also.

3- Messages:


There were rumors about Messages being bigger and overhauled before WWDC and it came to be true.

The major reason for the success of these changes is Catalyst. This is a tool from Apple, used to translate apps from iOS to Mac.

Though Messages have been on Mac for quite some time now and first arrived in 2012 OS C Mountain Lion. At that time, Messages replaced iChat; the previous app used for messaging since 2002.

Whereas this time, Apple turned the iOS app into a Mac app with features like that in Messages on iPhone and iPad.

  • You can now create Memoji and new options are coming to that include masks.
  • You can attach animations like lasers or balloons to your messages.
  • The Image and Gif library found in Messages in iOS is now accessible.

Want to know the best part?

In macOS, Big Sur vs Catalina Messages on Mac will get all the new features of Messaged on iPadOS and iOS.

Here is the list of those features:

  • When mentioned in a group chat, you will be able to opt for only receiving notifications.
  • You will get to send Inline replies rather than the messages getting buried. Hence direct reply to specific messages in a group conversation is possible.
  • By using @ sign, you can direct the reply to 1 participant while in a group message.
  • You will get the ability to pin any conversations on the top. Thus you can add up to 9 conversations on the top and keep them in sync to all the devices.

These features are not only useful but also work in an amazing way to provide benefits to the users. 

4- Safari:


As we have mentioned that changes made to Safari won’t be minimal for Big Sur.

Usually, the new versions of Safari run on 3 current supported OS. Hence we figure out that the update will work for Catalina as well as Mojave.

Whereas, Safari 14 do have some spruce features arriving soon with Big Sur. For macOS Big Sur vs Catalina comparison, first of all, we have the Start page.

This page allows personalization to an extent that can add your background photos. Tabs can be a real pain and quite frustrating with the present Safari version.

In the current version, we can see more than half of the tab bar given to the pinned tabs. These tabs represent the open pages with ends pushed together making them inutile.

This is a major setback and requires opening-up Tab Overview to find any needed tabs. Thus Apple brought up a solution that is clear cut the best option.

Now, you can hover over any tab and will be able to see a preview of the webpage.

Here’s the kicker!

Translations are the next new, astounding feature added to the Safari update.

Though Apple pointed out that even after launch this feature will be in Beta like Siri was. So, now you can view a translated version of almost any compatible webpage.

The languages for translation are only 7. English, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish, Brazilian, German, and Portuguese.

Rather than visiting Google Translate now and then, you will save more time. Simply click on the translate option and voila! The website/page will appear translated into your chosen language.

Apart from these amazing additions to Safari, here is another chance. Next, we have Extensions allowing you to opt for desired website extensions to work with.

Apple will soon make migration easier so there are soon more Chrome Extensions coming to the Mac. In the Mac App Store, there will be a separate section for Extensions.

Safari also has some new privacy features in the update. Privacy Report is the major highlight among these.

In other words, Apple will allow you to know about stopping sites from tracking you behind the scenes.

For each page you visit, there will be a report. The Privacy Report will show each blocked cross-site tracker in the last 30 days.

5- App Store:

App Store

In this macOS Big Sur vs Catalina comparison, a few changes are coming to the App Store also. As we have mentioned above that Widgets and Safari Extensions will have shelves in the store.

Yet the extensive change will be about Apple insisting developers to share more. The app developers need to share more info about working, handling of data with the customers.

It only gets better!

You will be able to see details of the privacy practices of the apps in a summarized manner. These summaries are equated by Apple to the nutritional info labels in food items

Also, you will be able to see the data collected by the app, whether it gets shared with a 3rd party. Then the installation of apps will be also changed in Big Sur.

It will include system updates, Apple said updates can initialize in the background. Thus the time taken will be minimal and the process will complete faster.

But the OS updates will still take hours to end.

Is It Worth An Upgrade?

Is It Worth An Upgrade1

At last, the major question arises whether it is worth an update or not? We conclude it in this way; between macOS Big Sur vs Catalina, the former comes with a fresher design.

It offers you a remodeled Notification Centre, Control Centre, updated Messaged version.

What’s the bottom line?

Either these changes, additions, are enough to switch for updating or not. It is quite an early stage to decide this.

The real deal of Big Sur lies beneath the covers as it will be the first macOS supporting Apple Silicon.

Furthermore, the change is the transition from Intel to its processors of Apple.

Though macOS 11 will for sure be massive but not for average users.

These features are life-changing if you want to buy an Apple Silicon powered Mac.

Only then these additions being able to run on the iPhone and iPad are revolutionary. 

Wrapping It All Up!!

These are all the differences that you need to know about macOS Big Sur vs Catalina.

This will give you a brief overview of all the information that you need to make sure is the upgrade worth it or not.

Everything comes with special details that are essential to know their working perfectly. I am sure about the fact that you will love every bit of content listed here.

This is because all the information in here is well researched according to the requirements.

All the content is organized in such a way that the reader can easily find what they are looking for in this review.

Every bit of the content here is useful and authentic in every way. 

We hope that after you have gone through the whole review, all your doubts would be elevated regarding the difference between macOS Big Sur vs Catalina.

But if there is still something which is still bugging in your mind then there is no need to worry about it at all.

The good thing is that we are always here for your assistance. You can simply ask us anything you need to know that you find some doubts in the review.

We will analyze all the queries you send toward us and provide you simple and useful answers to your problems.

In the end, you need to make sure that you stay connected with us for the latest updates. Until then we hope that you have a great experience of going through this review.

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