Get up to speed quickly with macOS 11!

Take Control of
Big Sur

Joe Kissell

Get to know macOS 11 with Take Control of Big Sur. Learn everything you need to know to prepare for a smooth transition to the new version of macOS—and what to do once you’ve upgraded. Discover new features, explore the revised user interface, and avoid potentially unpleasant surprises.

All Take Control books are delivered in two ebook formats—PDF and EPUB—and can be read on nearly any device.


macOS 11 Big Sur is more than just Apple’s annual update to its Mac operating system. This revision breaks entirely new ground, significantly overhauling your Mac’s look and feel, adding big new features, and including support for the first Macs based on Apple silicon rather than Intel processors.

We’re changing things up this year, too. Rather than two separate titles on the new macOS version as we’ve had in past years, this time we’ve rolled everything into one: a book that helps you prepare for the new system, safely upgrade your Mac to run Big Sur, and then get to know all the new features. (So, if you’re looking for Take Control of Upgrading to Big Sur, look no further: this book contains an abbreviated version of Joe’s legendary upgrading instructions.)

Some of the topics covered in this book are:

  • How to tell whether your Mac can run Big Sur
  • Steps you should take before upgrading
  • How to perform an in-place upgrade—or do a clean install and migrate your old data from a backup
  • What Control Center is and how it can simplify adjusting system settings
  • What’s new in the Maps app (guides, Look Around, indoor maps, and more)
  • Ways to improve your messaging with enhanced group conversations, Memoji, and other changes in Messages
  • How to use and customized the heavily revised Notification Center
  • New features in Photos to make your images and videos even better
  • Improved privacy features in Safari—plus a Start Page, improved tabs, and spiffy new features
  • The small changes throughout macOS and bundled apps, including Apple Arcade, Spotlight, Siri, the App Store, Notes, Reminders, Voice Memos, and more
Joe Kissell

About Joe Kissell

Take Control publisher Joe Kissell has written more than 60 books about technology, including many popular Take Control books. He formerly wrote for publications such as Macworld, Wirecutter, and TidBITS. He lives in Saskatoon with his wife, his two children, and his cat.

What’s New in Version 1.1

Version 1.1 updates this book to cover macOS 11.0.1, including details about changes between the beta versions of Big Sur and the initial public release version. Most notably:

  • “Free Disk Space” now reflects the latest guidance from Apple.
  • “Obtain the Installer” has a direct link to Big Sur in the Mac App Store, and more detailed download instructions.
  • In “Make a Bootable Big Sur Installer Volume,” I mention the demise of DiskMaker X.
  • I’ve updated “Bootable Duplicates in Big Sur” to reflect the fact that macOS 11.0.1 has restored the capability to make bootable duplicates.
  • Read Me First
    • Updates and More
    • What's New in Version 1.1
  • Introduction
  • Big Sur Quick Start
  • Take In the Scenic View
    • Find Out What’s New in Big Sur
    • Catch Up with macOS Changes
  • Check Your Mac for Compatibility
    • Model Support
    • RAM
    • Free Disk Space
  • Upgrade to Big Sur
    • Update Your Third-Party Software
    • Back Up Your Disk
    • Decide on an Installation Method
    • Make Final Preparations
    • Upgrade Using Plan A: In‑Place Upgrade
    • Upgrade Using Plan B: Clean Install
    • Perform Post-Installation Tasks
    • Troubleshoot Upgrade Problems
  • A Quick Tour of Big Sur
    • Get Your Visual Bearings
    • Explore System Preferences Changes
    • Update Your Backup Strategy
    • Prepare for Apple Silicon
  • Work with Control Center
    • Use Control Center
    • Customize Control Center
    • Manage Menu Items
  • Find Your Way Around Maps
    • Get to Know the Sidebar
    • Use Guides
    • Look Around
    • Indoor Maps
    • Live ETA Updates
    • Cycling Routes
    • Learn About Other New Maps Features
  • Enhance Your Messages
    • Notice the Small Improvements
    • Use the App Store Menu
    • Improve Group Conversations
    • Use Memoji
  • Manage Notifications
    • Display Notification Center
    • Edit Notification Center Widgets
  • Improve Your Photos
    • Navigate Your Collection
    • Enhance Photos and Videos
  • Learn New Safari Tricks
    • Customize Your Start Page
    • Get More Out of Tabs
    • Translate Pages from Other Languages
    • Extend Safari
    • Protect Your Privacy
    • Import Data from Chrome
  • Discover All the Little Things
    • Other System Improvements
    • Other App Improvements
  • About This Book
    • Ebook Extras
    • About the Author and Publisher
  • Also by Joe Kissell
  • Copyright and Fine Print

Joe Kissell discusses Big Sur on MacVoices

Posted by Joe Kissell on September 11, 2020

Joe Kissell joined Chuck Joiner on MacVoices in a two-part interview to discuss his book Take Control of Big Sur.

In Part 1, Joe discusses the upgrade process and some things you should know before jumping in—including potential changes to how you back up your Mac. (Part 1 of 2)

In Part 2, Joe talks about the new look and feel of Big Sur as well as new features, some of which won’t be evident until Macs with Apple silicon ship. He also welcomes back the startup chime!


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