Mac OS version 11 or Big Sur is the latest release of the Apple operating system for Macintosh workstations such as iMacs and MacBooks.

Released on Nov. 12, 2020, Apple lists many new features and improvements over the previous version at

Big Sur continues to use Apple File System (APFS) as the default file system, as introduced in macOS High Sierra (10.13)

Until a more thorough test and review of the release version of Big Sur can be performed and known software incompatibilities are resolved, Computing Services does not recommend upgrading to Big Sur.

Mount Allison specific applications and services are currently being tested with Big Sur, and their compatibility with this new operating system will be itemized below as each service's testing is completed.

*Please note that the Optimized Storage feature in Big Sur may transfer sensitive or confidential materials from your hard drive to iCloud. University Systems strongly recommends that any faculty and staff upgrading to Big Sur disable Optimized Storage and refrain from using iCloud to store any University data as the data may not be stored in compliance with privacy legislation and University policy.

New Macintosh hardware
If you are buying a new Macintosh it may come with Big Sur pre-installed. We recommend that you run Software Update to ensure you have any updates for macOS and for any applications that may require an update to run under Big Sur.

You may rely on software that is not compatible with Big Sur. This will include any 32bit-only applications. Check with application vendors for 64 bit versions of applications you use. Look for updates for hardware drivers (printers, scanners, lab equipment, etc). If you're considering purchasing a new Apple Computer, please take care to ensure the software you require can run on Big Sur.

The following website is a crowdsourced library of programs that reports on compatibility with Big Sur, it may help inform whether a program you rely on is compatible with Big Sur:

Mount Allison-specific applications
The list of applications below have been reviewed and tested (if available) for compatibility with Big Sur. This list will be updated as we test any new versions that vendors release and vendors release more information on compatibility with Big Sur.

  • Teams
    Microsoft Teams is compatible with Big Sur
  • Microsoft Office
    Microsoft Office is compatible with Big Sur
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader DC
    Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is compatible with Big Sur

Mount Allison-specific services

  • Connect
  • Moodle
  • 25 Live

Updating your Mac
If you are planning to update your existing Mac to Big Sur yourself you should follow Apple's recommended process:  It is especially important that you back up your Mac prior to upgrading to avoid data loss in case the upgrade fails.

Questions about Big Sur?
If you have any questions about Big Sur, please contact the Computing Services Help Desk at We will continue to update this page as we test additional features and compatibility with Big Sur.