A crop of the official macOS Big Sur default desktop background
Apple

The latest version of macOS is macOS 11.0 Big Sur, which Apple released on November 12, 2020. Apple releases a new major version roughly once every year. These upgrades are free and are available in the Mac App Store.

The Latest Version is macOS Big Sur

Apple’s newest Mac operating system is macOS 11.0, also known as macOS Big Sur. This is the sixteenthmajor release of the Mac operating system.

macOS 11.0 Big Sur drops support for some Macs that ran macOS 10.15 Catalina. Here’s how to tell if your Mac can run Big Sur.

Big Sur features a redesign with simplified toolbars, buttons, and menus. It looks a lot more like Apple’s iOS and iPadsOS. Other features from Apple’s mobile operating systems were introduced here, including a Control Center with shortcuts to frequently used tasks. Under the hood, however, this is still the same powerful macOS operating system you’re used to.

macOS 11 Big Sur Interface
Apple, Inc.

RELATED: What's New in macOS 11.0 Big Sur, Available Now

How to Check if You Have the Latest Version

To see which version of macOS you have installed, click the Apple menu icon at the top left corner of your screen, and then select the “About This Mac” command.

The name and version number of your Mac’s operating system appears on the “Overview” tab in the About This Mac window. If you see “macOS Big Sur” and version “11.0”, you have Big Sur. As long as it starts with “11.”, you have Big Sur installed.

In the screenshot below, we have version 10.14 of macOS Mojave installed. For example, if it says you have macOS Mojave version “10.14.1” installed, this means you have Mojave with the “.1” update installed. These smaller updates contain security patches and other fixes. They appear as updates in the Software Update pane.

RELATED: How to Check Which Version of macOS You're Using

How to Update to the Latest Version

If you don’t yet have macOS Big Sur installed, you can easily update to it from the Mac App Store. You can either open the App Store and look for Big Sur or click the following link to open the Big Sur page on the Mac App Store.

Click the “Download” or “Get” button on the macOS Big Sur page to download Big Sur and install it on your Mac. The operating system is over 12.6 GB GB in size so it may take a while. The installer will automatically open after the download is finished. Click through it to install Big Sur on your Mac.

Note: We highly recommend backing up your Mac with Time Machine (or however you back up) before upgrading your operating system. The upgrade should leave everything in place, but it’s always better to play it safe just in case.

Apple only supports the most recent three versions of macOS with security updates, so you have to upgrade regularly to ensure you have the latest security patches.

RELATED: Which Releases of macOS Are Supported With Security Updates?

Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor in Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for nearly a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than 500 million times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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