Is macOS Big Sur a free upgrade?

Big Sur is the latest version of Apple’s desktop operating system for Mac computers. As with previous macOS updates, many users wonder if Big Sur is a free upgrade or if you have to pay for it. Let’s take a look at the requirements for installing Big Sur and whether or not it is free.

What are the system requirements for macOS Big Sur?

To install and run Big Sur, you need:

  • A Mac released in 2013 or later
  • 4GB of memory
  • 35.5GB storage
  • macOS Catalina 10.15.4 or later

So if your Mac meets those minimum requirements, you should be able to upgrade to Big Sur. Some older Macs will not be compatible even if they are still functional.

Is the Big Sur upgrade free?

Yes, the Big Sur upgrade is completely free for compatible Macs. Apple does not charge users to update to the latest macOS version. Major macOS releases like Big Sur are always made available as free upgrades.

How can I get the Big Sur upgrade?

If your Mac is compatible, you can upgrade to Big Sur for free using the Software Update feature:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Software Update. Or you can click the Apple logo in the top left and choose Software Update.
  2. The Software Update tool will check for any available updates, including Big Sur if your Mac can run it.
  3. Click the “Upgrade Now” button next to macOS Big Sur.
  4. Follow the prompts to begin downloading and installing Big Sur.

The Big Sur installer file is around 12GB, so it may take a while to download depending on your internet connection speed. As long as you have enough storage space available, the upgrade process is fairly straightforward.

What’s new in macOS Big Sur?

Here are some of the major changes and updates in Big Sur:

  • A redesigned interface with a fresher, more modern look
  • Control Center for quick access to system settings
  • Updated default apps like Messages, Maps, and Safari
  • Safari privacy improvements and speed boost
  • Better notifications and widget support
  • New features for Messages andMaps
  • App Store improvements
  • Updated core technologies and frameworks for developers

Overall, Big Sur provides a range of enhancements and refinements to the macOS experience. It’s an important update to keep your Mac up to date with the latest features and security updates.

Should you upgrade to Big Sur?

Here are some things to consider about upgrading:

Pros Cons
– Fresh new design and interface – Some older apps may not be compatible
– Improved core apps and features – Potential bugs or issues right after release
– Latest macOS technologies – Can’t easily revert back after upgrading
– Better performance and battery life – Large 12GB download for installation
– Important security updates – Some features may be removed or changed

In general, upgrading provides a better experience and keeps your system up to date. But as with any major OS release, there can be potential downsides to upgrading right away.

If you rely on older apps or workflows

Check app compatibility before upgrading. Older apps may not work properly or at all on Big Sur, so it’s best to check if developers have updated their apps yet. If you rely on any legacy software or utilities, you may want to wait before upgrading.

If you want to wait for bugs to be fixed

Brand new OS releases often have unknown bugs and issues that get addressed over time. Waiting a few weeks or months allows Apple to fix early bugs and optimize performance in incremental updates.

If your Mac is running smoothly on Catalina

If your Mac is working perfectly fine on the current OS, upgrading brings more risks of new issues than benefits. But routine security updates will still be needed even if you don’t upgrade.

If you are unsure about the major interface changes

Big Sur introduces the biggest Mac interface redesign in years. If you want to get accustomed to the new look before fully diving in, you can view the changes in demos and screenshots first.


To sum up, yes macOS Big Sur is a free upgrade for all compatible Macs. You can update to the latest version of macOS in the Software Update section of System Preferences.

Big Sur provides a wide range of new features, improvements, updated apps, and a redesigned interface. It’s recommended to upgrade for most users to get the latest experience and security protections. However, as with any major OS release, there are also some potential downsides like app compatibility issues or unknown bugs that get addressed over time. Overall Big Sur is an exciting new update for Mac, and upgrading is free for all compatible systems.

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