Although macOS 13 Ventura is the latest Mac operating system, you may still need to download macOS Big Sur and fresh install it. Read this guide and download the macOS Big Sur installer without losing data.

macOS Big Sur Overview (New Features & System Requirements)

macOS Big Sur was first announced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2020 and released to the public on November 12, 2020. macOS Big Sur is available as a free update for all macOS Catalina users.

what is macOS Big Sur

macOS Big Sur New Features

It includes many new features and improvements, including a redesigned macOS interface, new Messages and Maps apps, and more. Here's an overview of the new features in macOS Big Sur. 

The macOS interface: The Menu bar has been updated with new icons, and the Dock has been streamlined. The redesign includes updated app icons and a new color scheme.

Messages: It has been updated with new features, including Memoji and Message Effects support. The app also includes a new feature that lets you pin your favorite conversations to the top of your list.

The Maps: The app includes new features, such as indoor maps of select locations, turn-by-turn directions, and traffic conditions. 

Apple silicon support: macOS Big Sur also introduces support for the new Apple Silicon chips, which power the newest Mac computers.

macOS Big Sur System Requirements

macOS Big Sur introduces various new features and improvements and requires certain hardware specifications to run. Below are the macOS Big Sur system requirements: 

  • iMac (Mid 2014 or later)
  • iMac Pro
  • MacBook (Early 2015 or later)
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2013 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (Late 2013 or later)
  • Mac Mini (Late 2014 or later)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013 or later)
  • Developer Transition Kit (only up to Big Sur 11.3 beta 2[12])

If your Mac meets the above requirements, you're ready to upgrade to macOS Big Sur. If not, you may consider purchasing a new Mac that meets the minimum system requirements for macOS Big Sur.

macOS 11 Big Sur Download (Step-by-step Guide)

macOS Big Sur is one of Apple computers' most influential operating systems. You can upgrade to macOS Big Sur for free if you have a compatible Mac. Here's how:

Method 1. Download macOS Big Sur on App Store

Step 1. Open the macOS Big Sur download page and download the macOS Big Sur installer.

Step 2. Click on the "Get" button next to macOS Big Sur, then follow the prompts to begin downloading the software onto your computer.

download macOS Big Sur from APP Store

Method 2. Download macOS Big Sur DMG/ISO/PKG File

If you want to download macOS Big Sur without App Store, you can get macOS Big Sur DMG/ISO/PKG files directly:

download macOS Big Sur DMG file

How to Install macOS 11 Big Sur

Once macOS Big Sur has finished downloading, you will be prompted to restart your computer. Click "Restart" to complete the installation process. If you want to perform a clean install of macOS Big Sur, follow the steps below:

Step 1. Create a bootable USB installer

  • Access Disk Utility on your Mac and erase the internal drive
  • open Terminal and enter the following command:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Big\ --volume /Volumes/Untitled

Step 2. Erase your startup drive

  • Shut down your Mac and hold down Command + R to enter the Recovery Mode
  • Access Disk Utility and select your main startup drive
  • Click Erase in the menu and confirm your action

Step 3. Clean install macOS 11 Big Sur

  • Restart your computer and hold down Option
  • Go back to the initial screen of Disk Utility
  • Choose to install macOS from the connected USB drive
  • Click on "Install macOS" to confirm your action.

After following these steps, macOS Big Sur will be successfully installed on your computer! You can check this macOS Big Sur install video if you still have problems.

  • 02:27 Create a bootable installer
  • 02:58 Check your Applications folder
  • 03:00 Go to Disk Utility
  • 03:33 Mount the USB in Terminal
  • 04:33 Erase your startup drive
  • 04:55 Clean install macOS Big Sur from the USB

Bonus Tip: Recover macOS 11 Big Sur Data After System Reinstall

As the installation process shows, you must erase the disk before the clean install. Thus, you may be at risk of losing data from macOS if you don't have a backup. What's worse, you can't recover deleted files on Mac if you don't have Mac data recovery software. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is a powerful data recovery software that can help you recover lost data after macOS Ventura update.

It can recover files from any type of storage device, including hard drives, external drives, and memory cards. Besides, it can recover Mac unsaved Word documents or other files. 

Note: You can create a backup of your Mac by clicking the "Disk Backup" on the left first. The software will recover the deleted files from the backup image. It can prevent further damage to your disk and data, making it safer and more reliable.

Step 1. Select the location and scan

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac and choose the disk where you lost data. Then, click "Search for lost files" to start scanning.

select a location and click search for lost files

Step 2. Filter and preview lost files

After the scan, use the file format filter on the left or upper right corner to find the deleted files you need.

filter lost files in types

Step 3. Recover lost data or files

You can double-click a file to preview its content, or choose multiple files to recover them at once. Click "Recover" to restore the lost data to a local or cloud drive.

click recover to recover lost data


macOS Big Sur is a free update that brings several new features and improvements to the macOS operating system. To download macOS Big Sur, open the App Store on your Mac and click the "Get" button. macOS Big Sur will then download and install automatically. Once the installation is complete, you will be prompted to restart your Mac. After restarting, you should now have macOS Big Sur up and running.

If you lost data during the download and install process, you can turn to EaseUS MacBook data recovery software to recover lost data.

macOS 11 Download FAQs

Here are some macOS download-and-install-related questions. You can read the questions below to get additional help.

1. Can I download macOS Big Sur for free?

Yes. The full-release version of macOS Big Sur is now available to download for free for all compatible Macs.

2. My Mac won't restart after updating to Big Sur. How to fix it?

To fix Mac won't restart after update:

  • Force to Restart Mac
  • Reset the NVRAM
  • Boot Your Mac in Safe Mode...

3. How to download and install macOS Catalina?

macOS Catalina Download:

  • Make sure your Mac supports macOS 10.15 Catalina.
  • Back up your Mac using Time Machine or another backup method.
  • Download the macOS 10.15 Catalina installer from the Mac App Store.

4. Is macOS Big Sur better than Monterey?

Monterey vs. Big Sur: Monterey may be the better choice if you're looking for the best macOS for your device.

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Updated by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is a senior editor and data recovery specialist of EaseUS. He mainly writes articles and how-to tips about data recovery on PC and Mac. He has handled 10,000+ data recovery cases and is good at data recovery of NTFS, FAT (FAT32 and ExFAT) file systems, and RAID structure reorganization.

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Written by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech lives easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. In her spare time, she loves sharing things about her game experience on Facebook or Twitter.

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