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5 Things to Know About the macOS Big Sur 11.4 Update

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Apple’s finally released its macOS Big Sur 11.4 update for Mac.

Unlike macOS Big Sur 11.3.1, macOS Big Sur 11.4 is a milestone release and it carries new features, bug fixes, and important security patches.

With that in mind, we want to take you through everything there you need to know about the macOS Big Sur 11.4 update and its release.

In this guide we’ll take you through the macOS Big Sur 11.4 update’s performance, the current list of macOS Big Sur 11.4 problems, the best places to find feedback about macOS Big Sur 11.4 problems, and more.

We’ll start out with some quick impressions of macOS Big Sur 11.4 update’s performance on Mac.

macOS Big Sur 11.4 Review

If your Mac is currently on macOS Big Sur 11.3.1, macOS Big Sur 11.4 requires a fairly large download. The exact macOS Big Sur 11.4 download size varies based on your Mac model and the version of macOS its running.

If your Mac is running macOS Big Sur 11.3.1, the installation should take less than 15 minutes to complete. It took around 13 minutes on a MacBook Pro (2017).

For more on the macOS Big Sur 11.4 download and installation, take a look at our guide.

We’ve been using the macOS Big Sur 11.4 update on a MacBook Pro (2017) for several days now and here’s what we’ve learned about its performance thus far:

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 11.4 feels as fast as macOS Big Sur 11.3.1.

If your Mac is struggling on macOS Big Sur 11.3.1 or an older version of macOS, you might want to install macOS Big Sur 11.4 on your Mac today.

If you need help making a decision, check out our reasons to, and not to, install the macOS Big Sur 11.4 update.

macOS Big Sur 11.4 Problems

macOS Big Sur 11.4 update is already causing problems for some Mac users.

Mac owners have noticed 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 11.4 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 11.4 Update: What’s New

Apple’s milestone (x.x) updates typically bring a mix of features, security patches, and under-the-hood improvements and that’s what macOS Big Sur 11.4 brings to the table.

Here’s the full macOS Big Sur 11.4 change log:

Podcasts

  • Apple Podcasts subscriptions are available for purchase via monthly and annual subscriptions
  • Channels group together collections of shows from podcast creators.

Bug Fixes

  • Bookmarks in Safari may get reordered or moved into a folder that can appear hidden
  • Certain websites may not display correctly after your Mac wakes from sleep
  • Keywords may not be included when exporting a photo from the Photos app
  • Preview may become unresponsive when searching PDF documents
  • 16-inch MacBook may become unresponsive when playing Civilization VI

macOS Big Sur 11.4 also ties in with Apple’s new Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio features for Apple Music. Those features are due out in June.

The update also brings a whopping 50+ security patches to Mac users and you can learn more about those over on Apple’s security site.

You Can Downgrade from macOS Big Sur 11.4

If you run into problems on macOS Big Sur 11.4, 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.

What’s Next

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

The company’s put macOS Big Sur 11.5 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 11.4, macOS Big Sur 11.5 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 11.5 release date yet, but there’s a good chance it rolls out alongside iOS 14.7 and iPadOS 14.7 sometime this summer.

For more on macOS Big Sur 11.5 and the beta, take a look at our guide.

Apple’s also confirmed its new macOS Monterey operating system and it’s currently in beta testing.

The macOS Monterey release date lands this fall, but if you don’t want to wait until September, you can download the software on your Mac right now.

For more on macOS Monterey and the beta, have a peek at our walkthrough.

4 Reasons Not to Install macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 & 11 Reasons You Should

Install macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 for Better Security

Install macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 for Better Security

If security is important to you, you should think about installing Apple's macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 update right now.

macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 brings 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

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Joseph`

    05/26/2021 at 12:09 pm

    A couple of issues I noticed after updating:
    There was significant lag when using Spotlight to launch apps. However, I realized this was due to reindexing. Given enough time, things went back to normal.

    The latest version of Carbon Copy Cloner now does bootable systems backups once again, on Apple Silicon!! While this might not have anything to do with the latest update, it’s a welcome fix, saving me from having to perform updates three times every time they come out.

    MacOS 11.4 breaks the “Hello” screensaver, introduced in MacOS 11.3. Two nits here:
    Why was it a separate install to begin with? It should have just been part of the 11.3 update, not require users to jump through hoops just to find it, then have to follow a series of steps to make it work. And secondly, why on earth did it need to be REINSTALLED after ever single minor 11.3 update? I tried reinstalling it after 11.4 removed it (again) and just had a message bouncing around on a black screen saying that the screensaver didn’t work and required an update. Which technically still IS a screensaver, just a rather boring one….

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