10 Common macOS Big Sur Problems & How to Fix Them
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10 Common macOS Big Sur Problems & How to Fix Them

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As we push away from the macOS Big Sur’s release we’re hearing about a number of bugs and performance issues plaguing Apple’s new operating system.

macOS Big Sur went through a lengthy testing process, but problems have unsurprisingly slipped through the cracks into the official release.

The current list of macOS Big Sur problems includes abnormal battery drain, Wi-Fi issues, lag, crashes, issues with first and third-party apps, and installation issues. A lot of the problems are brand new, others have carried over from macOS Catalina.

While some of these issues might require a fix from Apple in a new version of macOS Big Sur or a visit to your local Apple Store (if it’s open), you might be able to fix the issue(s) yourself.

In this guide we’ll take you through fixes for the most common macOS Big Sur problems we’ve heard about. If you’re noticing battery drain, issues with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, or if you’re having issues installing macOS Big Sur, have a look through these fixes before you pickup the phone or take your Mac into a store.

How to Fix macOS Big Sur Download Problems

A ton of people ran into download problems trying to install macOS Big Sur right when it came out. Apple’s server issues have subsided, but some Mac users are still having issues downloading the software as we push away from the release date.

You might see download problems if your connection isn’t great. Lost connections and slow download speeds are two of the common issues we’re seeing.

If you run into download issues, try plugging an ethernet cable into your Mac (if you have an ethernet adapter) to download the macOS Big Sur update. This can solve some download issues and speed up slow downloads.

If you can’t plug in an ethernet cable or the problems persist, try restarting your router and/or your Mac. If neither of those work, you should bring your Mac somewhere with a faster internet connection.

How to Fix macOS Big Sur Installation Issues

If you’re having issues installing macOS Big Sur, you’ll want to first make sure your Mac is compatible with the new operating system. If it’s not, you won’t be able to install the software. Here’s the list of compatible devices:

  • MacBook (2015 and later)
  • MacBook Air (2013 and later)
  • MacBook Pro (Late 2013 and later)
  • Mac mini (2014 and later)
  • iMac (2014 and later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 and later)
  • Mac Pro (2013 and later)
  • How to Fix macOS Big Sur Battery Life Problems

If the macOS Big Sur download completes, but you aren’t prompted to install the operating system on your Mac, you’ll need to head into your Mac’s Applications folder and look for the installation file. Double-click the file and macOS Big Sur should start installing on your computer.

If you run into an issue where the installation fails because your Mac has low disk space, you’ll want to restart your Mac and press Control + R while it’s booting up. This will put it into Recovery mode.

From there, you’ll want to select ‘Disk boot’ to boot your computer normally. Once that’s done, you’ll need to delete files you no longer need to make room.

You can also try restoring to the Time Machine Update you made right before you started (if you did so). This will get you back into your Mac’s previous version of macOS and allow you to delete files.

How to Fix macOS Big Sur Bluetooth Issues

If your Bluetooth connections start giving you problems on macOS Big Sur, here are a few fixes you can try.

First, try turning Bluetooth off and then back on. Before you do this, make sure you have a way to connect a mouse to your computer to turn it back on.

If that doesn’t work, try removing the Bluetooth device giving you issues. Here’s how you do that:

  1. Click on the Bluetooth icon in upper right area of your screen.
  2. Open up Bluetooth preferences.
  3. Click on the device, delete it, then start the pairing process.

If you can’t get Bluetooth to work at all, you may need to delete the plist file for Bluetooth. To do this:

  1. Go into Finder.
  2. Click on Macintosh HD.
  3. Click Library.
  4. Scroll down and go into the Preferences folder.
  5. Find a file called ‘com.apple.Bluetooth.plist’.
  6. Delete this file or move it somewhere safe.
  7. Reboot your Mac and try reconnecting.

Apple also suggests restarting your Mac and then creating another user to see if Bluetooth works for a new user on the device.

How to Fix macOS Big Sur Wi-Fi Problems

If you’re having issues with your Mac’s Wi-Fi connectivity, try these fixes.

First, click on Wi-Fi in the menu bar and turn it off. Wait for 10-15 seconds and turn it back on. This has fixed issues for us many times in the past.

If you still have issues, see if you can connect to another Wi-Fi network. If your other devices can connect to the network your Mac can’t connect to, try restarting your Mac and the router.

How to Fix macOS Big Sur FaceTime Issues

If you’re having trouble making or receiving FaceTime calls, you’ll want to make sure Apple isn’t having any issues. If FaceTime has a green symbol next to it, the issues are probably on your end.

Make sure your Mac is properly connected to Wi-Fi or your hotspot. If it is, make sure FaceTime isn’t turned off. You can check by heading into the FaceTime app and clicking ‘FaceTime’ in the upper left hand corner.

If FaceTime is on and you’re connected to Wi-Fi or a cellular network, try restarting your Mac.

How to Fix macOS Big Sur App Problems

If your applications aren’t working properly on macOS Big Sur, the first thing to do is check for an update. Developers are rolling out support updates and they could help stabilize an app’s performance.

If you’re still having issues, try restarting your Mac. If that doesn’t help, you can also try deleting the app and downloading it again.

If you can’t fix the issue yourself, get in contact with the app’s developer and see if it knows about the issue. If it does, it might have a manual fix or an ETA on an update that will address the issue.

How to Fix macOS Big Sur Performance Issues

If your Mac feels slower right after installing macOS Big Sur, you aren’t alone.

In general, you should wait a day or so to see if the software’s performance improves. If you’re still having issues after a couple o f days on macOS Big Sur, try restarting your Mac and see if things improve.

You should also try installing app updates, many of which will include optimizations for macOS Big Sur.

If your Mac is still slow, you may need to do a clean macOS Big Sur install. A clean install could have a tremendous impact on your Mac’s performance.

How to Fix macOS Big Sur Touch ID Problems

If you own a Mac that has Touch ID, and Touch ID isn’t working after the move to macOS Big Sur, there’s no need to panic. You should be able to fix the issue yourself.

Before you do anything, try updating your fingerprint. Head into the System Preferences app and go through the setup process. If you re-adding your fingerprint doesn’t work, you’ll need to reset your Mac’s SMC.

How to Fix macOS Big Sur Mouse Issues

If your mouse no longer works on macOS Big Sur, and you’re positive it’s not a hardware issue, you’ll want to delete two files on your computer.

  1. Go into Finder.
  2. Click on Macintosh HD.
  3. Click Library.
  4. Scroll down and go into the Preferences folder.
  5. Find a file called ‘com.apple.Bluetooth.plist’.
  6. Delete this file or move it somewhere safe.
  7. Find a file called ‘com.apple.driver.AppleBluetoothMultitouch.mouse.plist’.
  8. Delete this file or move it somewhere safe.
  9. Reboot your Mac and try your mouse again.

Update Your Mac

Apple will periodically release new software. Point updates (macOS x.x.x) are typically focused on fixing bugs while milestone upgrades (macOS x.x) usually deliver a mix of features and fixes.

The company might not call out general fixes (ex. a fix for Bluetooth issues) in an update’s change log, but new software always has the potential to help.

For more on the latest version of macOS Big Sur, take a look at our guide.

Downgrade

If everything fails, and you can’t wait for the next version of macOS Big Sur or you can’t get working solution from Apple customer service, you can try downgrading to older software. This could help improve your Mac’s performance.

If you don’t know how to downgrade a Mac’s software, take a look at our walkthrough.

4 Reasons Not to Install macOS Big Sur & 11 Reasons You Should

Install macOS Big Sur for Better Security

Install macOS Big Sur for Better Security

If security is important to you, think about installing the macOS Big Sur update right away.

macOS Big Sur brings 50+ new security patches to your Mac. If you're interested in the exact nature of these improvements, you can read about them over on Apple's website.

In addition to those patches, macOS Big Sur comes with additional security and privacy upgrades including improvements to the App Store and Safari. 

In Safari, you can now tap the Privacy Report button to better understand how websites handle your privacy.

With macOS Big Sur on board you can now get information on the App Store that will help you understand the privacy practices of apps before you download them. 

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