Upgrading to macOS Big Sur

To improve campus network security and to ensure a consistent experience across all college-owned Macs, LITS requires that all faculty and staff workstations are updated to the latest operating system version, macOS 11 Big Sur. Upgrading to Big Sur is easy and can be done in about an hour with minimal interaction. Please use the information below to assist with the upgrade process.



Preparing to Upgrade macOS

Before upgrading, it’s important to check that your system meets the requirements for Big Sur and that your data is protected in case a problem arises. LITS is in the process of replacing hardware that is too old to support Big Sur, but you will want to make sure to check the following:

  1. Make sure you have enough free disk space to install Big Sur. Your system should have at least 40GB available storage before upgrading.

    • Choose Apple menu  > About This Mac, then click Storage to check available storage space.

    • You can free up disk space by moving files to your Google Drive, which has unlimited storage, deleting unused apps, and emptying your trash.

  2. It’s a good idea to back up critical data using Google Drive, by copying your files to an external hard drive or flash drive, or with Time Machine. We recommend Google Drive because our organization has unlimited storage capacity.

    • Use the Google Drive app to make the process even easier.

    • You should not lose data by upgrading macOS; backups are a smart preventative measure we recommend before any major system changes.

  3. Prepare your workstation for the upgrade, and set aside a couple hours to complete the process.

    • Quit all apps and save any files that are open.

    • Make sure your laptop’s charger is connected and the battery is fully charged.

    • Connect to your local network via Ethernet cable if possible to speed up the initial download time.

    • It usually takes about an hour to download and install the upgrade.


Installing the macOS Big Sur Upgrade

To install macOS Big Sur, follow these instructions or use self service:

  1. Open the LITS Self Service app and, under the Featured tab, click Upgrade to macOS Big Sur.

  2. Click the Upgrade button.

  3. Follow the prompts to download and install the upgrade.

If you don’t see the Upgrade to macOS Big Sur option in Self Service, it may mean that your computer is not compatible with the upgrade or does not have enough available storage space. Double check your free disk space and try again, or contact LITS Support if you still can not upgrade.


Further Support

If you have questions on app compatibility or backing up data, or if you run into any problems with the upgrade, please contact LITS Support for further assistance.