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5 Things to Know About the macOS Big Sur 11.3 Update

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Apple has finally pulled the macOS Big Sur 11.3 update from beta testing and it’s now available to download if you own a compatible Mac.

As expected, macOS Big Sur 11.3 is an enormous release for Mac and it brings a mix of new features, bug fixes, and security enhancements to Mac users around the world.

With that in mind, we want to take you through everything there you need to know about the macOS Big Sur 11.3 update and its release.

In this guide we’ll take you through the macOS Big Sur 11.3 update’s performance, the current list of macOS Big Sur 11.3 problems, the best places to find feedback about macOS Big Sur 11.3 problems, and more.

We’ll start with our impressions of macOS Big Sur 11.3 update’s performance on Mac.

macOS Big Sur 11.3 Review

If your Mac is currently running macOS Big Sur 11.2.3, macOS Big Sur 11.3 still requires a big download. The exact macOS Big Sur 11.3 download size varies based on your Mac model and the version of macOS its running.

If your Mac is already running macOS Big Sur 11.2.3, the installation should around 15 minutes to complete. It took right around 15 minutes on a MacBook Pro (2017).

For more on the macOS Big Sur 11.3 download and installation, take a look at our guide.

We’ve been using the macOS Big Sur 11.3 update on a MacBook Pro (2017) for a very short time and here’s what we’ve noticed about its performance in key areas:

Connectivity

  • Battery life is currently stable.
  • Wi-Fi connectivity is fast and reliable.
  • Bluetooth is working normally.

App Performance

  • Third-party apps including Twitter, Slack, Asana, Gmail, Chrome, and Spotify are working fine at the moment.
  • First party apps like Safari and Podcasts are also stable.

Speed

  • macOS Big Sur 11.3 feels as fast as macOS Big Sur 11.2.3.

If your Mac is struggling on macOS Big Sur 11.2.3 or an older version of macOS, you might want to install macOS Big Sur 11.3 on your device today.

If you need help making a decision, check out our reasons to, and not to, install the macOS Big Sur 11.3 update. It will help you make a decision.

macOS Big Sur 11.3 Problems

macOS Big Sur 11.3 is already causing problems for some Mac users.

Mac users are complaining about installation issues, UI lag, issues with first and third-party apps, abnormal battery drain, iMessage issues, Wi-Fi problems, lockups, freezes, and crashes.

If you decide to download the macOS Big Sur 11.3 update on your Mac, and you encounter bugs and/or performance issues, here are a few resources that could help.

Before you get in touch with Apple, check out our fixes for the most common macOS Big Sur problems. We’ve also released a guide that will show you how to fix macOS Big Sur battery life problems.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for in our guides, head over to Apple’s discussion forums. If they can’t help you, you might want to get in contact with Apple Support via Twitter or with customer support via Apple’s website.

If you still can’t fix your issue(s), you might want to schedule an appointment to see a Genius at your local Apple Store.

macOS Big Sur 11.3 Update: What’s New

Again, macOS Big Sur 11.3 is a massive upgrade for Macs. It’s the biggest release since macOS Big Sur’s initial arrival back in late 2020.

The macOS Big Sur 11.3 update includes important bug fixes and security patches. It also delivers an assortment of new features that could improve your experience.

Here’s the official list of macOS Big Sur 11.3’s changes:

New Features

AirTag and Find My

  • Support for AirTag to keep track of and find your important items like your keys, wallet, backpack and more, privately and securely in the Find My app
  • The Find My network with hundreds of millions of devices can help you find your AirTag, even when it isn’t nearby
  • Lost Mode notifies you when your AirTag is found, and you can enter a phone number where you can be contacted

iPhone and iPad apps on Macs with M1

  • Option to change an iPhone and iPad app’s window size
  • Support for displaying the highest resolution version of an iPhone or iPad app in full screen
  • Keyboard support for iPhone and iPad games designed to use device tilt
  • Keyboard, mouse and trackpad support for iPhone and iPad games that support game controllers

Emoji

  • Support for separate skin tones for each individual in all variations of the couple kissing emoji and couple with heart emoji
  • New face emojis, heart emojis, woman with a beard emoji

Siri

  • Siri now includes more diverse voice options

Apple Music

  • Autoplay keeps music playing by automatically playing a similar song, once you’ve reached the end of a song or playlist
  • City charts showcase what’s popular in over 100 cities from all over the world

Podcasts

  • Podcasts Show Pages are redesigned to make it easier to start listening
  • Option to save and download episodes, automatically adding them to your Library for quick access
  • Download behavior and notification settings can be customized on a show-by-show basis
  • Top Charts and popular categories in Search help you discover new shows

News

  • Redesigned News+ feed enables Apple News+ subscribers to quickly find, download, and manage magazine and newspaper issues
  • All-new Search experience that helps you find relevant topics, channels, and stories

Safari

  • Start Page section order can now be customized
  • Additional WebExtensions API lets developers offer extensions that replace the new tab page
  • Web Speech API lets developers incorporate speech recognition into their web pages for real-time captioning, dictation, and voice navigation
  • WebM and Vorbis video and audio format support

Reminders

  • Ability to sort Today Smart list
  • Support for syncing the order of reminders in lists across your devices
  • Option to print your reminder lists

Gaming

  • Xbox Series X|S Wireless Controller or Sony PS5 DualSense Wireless Controller support

Mac computers with the M1 chip

  • Hibernation support

About This Mac

  • About this Mac displays Apple warranty status and AppleCare+ coverage in the Service tab when signed in with Apple ID
  • Support for purchasing and enrolling in AppleCare+ for eligible Mac computers from About This Mac

Bug Fixes

  • Reminders created via Siri may be unintentionally set for early morning hours
  • iCloud Keychain might not turn off
  • AirPods audio routing to incorrect device for Automatic Switching
  • AirPods Automatic Switching notifications might be missing or duplicated
  • External 4K monitors may not display in full resolution when connected over USB-C
  • Login window may not display properly after restarting Mac mini (M1, 2020)
  • The Dwell feature may not work in the Accessibility Keyboard

macOS Big Sur 11.3 also includes security patches and you can read about those over on Apple’s website.

You Can Downgrade from macOS Big Sur 11.3

If you run into problems on macOS Big Sur 11.3, you can downgrade your Mac’s software back to an older version if you think that might help.

There is no time frame for this to expire so if you decide you need to go back, it’s fairly easy to do if you are prepared. Here’s our guide to downgrade and it will help you understand the process and make your move.

Next macOS Big Sur Update

Apple’s confirmed a new version of macOS Big Sur.

The company’s put macOS Big Sur 11.4 into beta testing and the pre-release version of the firmware is available to download right now through the company’s beta programs.

Like macOS Big Sur 11.3, macOS Big Sur 11.4 is a milestone upgrade which means it should carry new features, fixes, enhancements, and security patches.

We don’t have an official macOS Big Sur 11.4 release date yet, but we’ll let you know if we hear anything it.

For more on macOS Big Sur 11.4, take a look at our guide.

4 Reasons Not to Install macOS Big Sur 11.6 & 11 Reasons You Should

Install macOS Big Sur 11.6 for Better Security

Install macOS Big Sur 11.6 for Better Security

If security is important to you, you should think about installing Apple's macOS Big Sur 11.6 update right now.

macOS Big Sur 11.6 has two important security patches on board. You can read about both of those over on Apple's security website

If you missed previous versions of macOS you'll get the patches from those updates with your upgrade. 

If you missed macOS Big Sur 11.5.1, it brought a brand new security patch to Macs. You can read more about it on Apple's website

If you missed macOS Big Sur 11.5, the update carried 35 new security patches that will help protect your Mac from harm. If you're interested in the details, check out the company's security site

If you missed macOS Big Sur 11.4, you'll get the update's 50+ security patches when you upgrade. You can read more about them over on Apple's security site

If you missed macOS Big Sur 11.3.1, it had two crucial security patches on board, both related to WebKit. If you want to learn more about them, head over to Apple's website

If you skipped macOS Big Sur 11.3, it also had patches on board. The list included one for a vulnerability that escaped built-in malware protections. For more on macOS Big Sur 11.3's patches, head on over to Apple's security site

If you missed earlier versions of macOS, you'll want to consider upgrading so you get their security patches as well. 

macOS Big Sur 11.2.3 brought one security patch to Mac users. You can read more about it on Apple's website

macOS Big Sur 11.2.1 had three security patches on board. You can read about them over on its security website.

macOS Big Sur 11.2 had a ton of patches on board and you can learn more about them right here

If you missed macOS Big Sur 11.1, it had 51 security patches on board. You can read about them right here.

macOS Big Sur 11.1 also included a new privacy information section on App Store pages that includes a developer-reported summary of the app’s privacy practices.

If you're moving up from macOS Catalina, you'll get macOS Big Sur 11.0.1's 50+ security patches. If you're interested 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. 

Researchers also discovered that Apple brought a new "BlastDoor" sandbox security system to macOS Big Sur, iOS 14, and iPadOS 14. The system is meant to prevent attacks from occurring via the Messages app. 

You can read more about "BlastDoor" right here

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