The Messages app also lets you pin conversations, making it a whole lot easier to get to your favorite message threads. To do that, right-click a conversation, and then click Pin. You can do that to a total of nine conversations.
In group chats, you can reply directly to specific messages. That should prompt the Messages app to open a new thread (under the original reply), making it easier to keep track of subsequent replies. Also, don’t forget to use mentions while replying — type @[contact name] — to direct messages to specific people.
The Notes app in macOS Big Sur comes with an improved search engine and enhanced document scanning capabilities. It largely remains the same otherwise, though there’s a new option collapse pinned notes. If you have a ton of pinned notes, for example, this makes getting to the rest of your notes much faster. Simply use the arrow-shaped Collapse/Reveal icon to the top of the Pinned section to hide/unhide the list.
The Photos app in macOS Big Sur has various minor tweaks that make for an immersive experience — the new zoom animations within albums, for example, look fantastic. It also makes use of machine learning for better results while using the one-click Retouch tool, so don’t forget to try that out. That aside, there’s also a new Vibrance slider that lets you adjust the vibrance of an image. In Edit mode, expand Options under the Color section to reveal it.
The Photos app also lets you do a whole lot more than view videos. In fact, you now gain access to the complete array of edit options that were previously reserved for photos. Switch to Edit mode to try them out.
Finally, the Maps app in macOS Big Sur has caught up to its counterpart on the iPhone and iPad. In addition to features such as curated Guides, indoor maps, and shared E.T.A.s, you now also get Look Around. While zoning in on a location, click Look Around if available to move through city streets and pan around all directions in 3D. If you use an iPhone or an iPad, you should already be familiar with it. However, the Mac’s big screen makes the whole experience of using Look Around much more immersive.
The Maps app also makes electric vehicle routing a breeze, where you can easily calculate E.T.A.s by taking charging stops into account. Additionally, Maps also comes with detailed cycling paths that reveal information such as elevation levels and inclines for better planning.
When you use a pair of AirPods, they will automatically switch between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. So the next time you start listening to some music on the Mac, forget messing around with the Bluetooth menu to connect to your AirPods. At the time of writing, this functionality was available in the macOS Big Sur Public Beta. It should be available once the stable release hits the shelves late-September or early-October.
The Reminders app doesn’t look too different in macOS Big Sur in terms of aesthetics. But you do get lots of under-the-hood improvements. It now prompts you with date and time suggestions while creating to-dos, sports improved search capabilities, comes with the ability to re-arrange or hide smart lists, and so on. But one particular highlight is a new functionality that lets you assign to-dos to others. During or after creating a to-do within a shared list, click the Info icon and add the name of the contact into the Assign to field.
The Voice Memos app in macOS Big Sur is significantly better at organizing voice memos. It comes with smart folders that categorizes your recordings automatically, and even provides you with the ability to create your own folders. There’s also an awesome new addition dubbed Enhance Recording. Head into the Edit Recording screen of a memo, and then tap the wand-shaped Enhance Recording icon to the upper-right corner of the screen. That tones down background noise and enhances the audio quality automatically.