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macOS Big Sur available for download but patience is required



Update: The second try at the installation mentioned in the post below also failed.


Which will take longer: President Trump concedes to President-elect Joe Biden? Or, you to fetch and install macOS Big Sur, Apple’s fresh operating system for the Mac?


I can’t predict what Donald Trump will do. I can tell you the Big Sur update may also try your patience.



Several minutes ago, I began downloading Big Sur onto my MacBook Pro. When I started writing this item, a window indicated that the download would take about 17 more hours with my computer having grabbed 1.36GB out of 12.18GB total. And yeah, I have fast broadband.


Not long after I received worse news: A notification that the download failed.


(I'm giving it another shot.)


My experience isn’t unique. One person tweeted at me their download would also take about 17 hours. Another said a dozen hours. A third reported, yikes, two whole days.


This has been a busy stretch for Apple, with recent launches of a new iPad Air, HomePod mini and, most notably, the iPhone 12.


This past Tuesday, Apple unveiled a new 13-inch MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini, the first models powered by its proprietary custom designed Arm-based M1 chip. Back in June at the WWDC conference, Apple announced it would be ditching Intel chips on the Mac in favor of its own silicon, a transition that would be completed in two years.


With this week's Mac announcements, Apple claims the M1 silicon delivers up to 3.5x faster CPU performance, up to 6x on graphics, up to 15x on machine learning and up to 2x on battery life. (I’ll leave it to the folks who benchmark these things to verify the claims.)



What can you expect then when Big Sur finally lands on your Mac? Among other features, a redesign that adds Control Center to the Mac toolbar. Clicking the icon lets you conveniently adjust display and sound settings, switch Wi-Fi networks, turn on Do Not Disturb, and so on. (I've been running Big Sur in beta on my iMac.)


You can customize the at-a-glance Notification Center in Big Sur with widgets that might reveal, for example, your next appointments, stocks performance, and Screen Time usage.


Apple has also made improvements to the Safari browser and to the Maps and Messages apps. Users will gain more control around privacy, especially later this year when the Mac App Store will include product pages with sections that outline the privacy practices of the app developer.


Flash, I just checked again, and my second try at the Big Sur download is looking more promising--so far anyway. (I've been at it nearly two hours.) More than half-way through the download the window reported that I had just an hour to go, except a moment later that one hour became three hours, then two. I guess it ain't over til it's over.


OK, I’m taking wagers now: What's first? Trump concedes or you complete the Big Sur upgrade? I'm betting on the latter.


Email: edbaig@gmail.com; Follow @edbaig on Twitter