5 Big Sur tips to enhance your Mac experience


Below are some tips and features to make the computing experience on your Mac as seamless and feature-rich as possible.

Image: Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

I’m a big fan of macOS and have been for over a decade now. While I’ve been in IT and have been tasked with managing Apple devices professionally for far longer than that, it wasn’t until 2007 when I decided to really dive deeply into then OS X to learn more of the ins and outs of Apple’s operating system.

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Something that always sticks out with me is just how easy-to-use and relatively trouble-free Macs are to keep up compared with other OSes. I resolve computer issues all day long for a living. The last thing I want to do after-hours is jump on a computer again, but if I do, the next to last thing I want to deal with are computer problems.

With Big Sur, Apple has upped the ante with simplicity and ease of use in mind. Hopefully, this collection of tips below will help to make your computing a little smoother and more enjoyable.

1. Show battery and percentage on Menu Bar

Apple moved this setting from the easy-to-find, simple-to-enable icon on the Menu Bar, where it had been for ages, to System Preferences > Dock & Menu Bar > Battery. Under the Battery section, check the boxes for Show in Menu Bar and Show Percentage to enable.

2. Pin favorites in Messages app

This one is identical to the iOS version. Right-click a message thread and select “Pin” from the context menu and it will move the icon up to the top and enlarge it to make it stand out. Perfect for easily accessing your go-to contacts.

Note: The same pinning method applies when using the Notes app.

SEE: 7 handy Terminal commands for Mac users to know (TechRepublic)

3. Safari translates websites in foreign languages

With the immeasurable number of websites across the vastness of the internet, there’s no doubt that we could be missing out on some great content simply because we don’t understand the language. Well, Apple has baked a translator into Safari that allows translating supported languages all by clicking the translation icon (should it appear) after the site’s URL.

4. Maps features detailed indoor maps 

I absolutely love this feature update to Maps. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t traveling as much as we used to or would like to, but when the time comes for safe traveling to resume, Apple Maps has been extended to include indoor mapping of major airports and shopping malls globally.

SEE: How to disable T2 security to load macOS from an external source (TechRepublic)

5. Detailed Privacy labels on App Store applications

Filed under the “good to know” category, Apple has implemented an App Privacy section for App Store apps that detail a variety of info about the developer and what kinds of data they collect, how and why the data are collected (say by, recording your voice or saving your search queries), and whether the data collected do or don’t personally identify the user.

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