Home / Technology / The visual comparison of macOS Catalina and Big Sur by developers offers a closer look at Apple’s UI redesign for Macs

The visual comparison of macOS Catalina and Big Sur by developers offers a closer look at Apple’s UI redesign for Macs



macOS 11 Big Sur is the next major version of Apple’s Mac operating system. After previewing at WWDC, one of the biggest discussions centered around the brand new user interface redesign.

Andrew Denty
Developers are still learning what effects the new user interface will have on their apps. With that in mind, app designer Andrew Denty has made a comprehensive visual comparison of the user interface changes between macOS Catalina and macOS Big Sur.

All screenshots are taken during a standard installation of macOS and the Catalina version is always on the left. I made a conscious effort not to change the window size or change the default settings. I haven’t covered everything, but it’s a good taste of the changes so far.

The side-by-side comparisons cover changes to Finder, preview, system settings, menu bar, notification center, Safari, calendar, contacts, reminders, notes, photos, Apple Music, podcasts and many other native apps.

Andrew Denty


Overall, Denty believes the Big Sur UI differences aren’t as dramatic as he first thought. They consist of a “largely incremental set of changes to make macOS feel more coherent with iOS and iPad OS”.

Still, he believes Apple “still has a lot to do to perfect the new MacOS user interface” before it ends beta, and hopes for more consistency when launching apps and better visual separation of items like status bars and path bars , of which he admits that they “look a little unloved” and don’t yet feel properly integrated.

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Big Sur is currently available for developers, but Apple also plans to release a beta for public beta testers in July, followed by an official release in the fall. What do you think about the redesigned user interface? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to read our Big Sur summary for a comprehensive overview of all new features.

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