Apple Big Sur (macOS 11.0) and M1 (Apple Silicon) release


Big Sur (version 11.0, hereafter referred to as Big Sur) is the latest release of the Apple operating system for Macintosh workstations such as iMacs, MacBooks and Mac Pros. Released on November 12, 2020, Apple lists many new features and improvements over the previous version at

Big Sur continues to use Apple File System (APFS) as the default file system, as introduced in macOS High Sierra (10.13)

Apple has also started to ship Mac Minis, MacBook Airs and the 13” MacBook Pro with the new Apple M1 Chip, also called “Apple Silicon”. These Macs can only run Big Sur.

Until a more thorough test and review of the release version of Big Sur and the new M1 Macs can be performed and known software incompatibilities resolved, University Systems does not recommend upgrading to Big Sur or purchasing new Apple hardware with the new M1 processor. At this time we cannot provide technical approval for purchases of M1 Apple Macs. The testing and review is underway and we will post an update to this bulletin in early January.

Apple computers with Intel chips are still available, we recommend purchasing Intel based Macs in the interim.

UVic specific applications and services are currently being tested with Big Sur and M1 Macs, and their compatibility with this new operating system and new hardware will be itemized below as each service's testing is completed.

*Please note that the Optimized Storage feature in Big Sur may transfer sensitive or confidential materials from your hard drive to iCloud. University Systems strongly recommends that any faculty and staff upgrading to Big Sur disable Optimized Storage and refrain from using iCloud to store any university data as the data may not be stored in compliance with privacy legislation and university policy.


New Macintosh hardware

If you are buying a new Macintosh it may come with Big Sur pre-installed. We recommend that you run Software Update to ensure you have any updates both for macOS but also for any Apple applications that may require an update to run under Big Sur.

You may rely on software that is not compatible with Big Sur. This will include any 32bit-only applications, which will be reliant on updates from vendors to 64-bit. This could include hardware drivers (printers, scanners, lab equipment, etc). If you're considering purchasing a new Apple Computer, please take care to ensure the software you require can run on Big Sur.

The following website is a crowdsourced library of programs that reports on compatibility with Big Sur, it may help inform whether a program you rely on is compatible with Big Sur:


UVic Specific Applications

The list of applications below have been reviewed and tested (if available) for compatibility with Big Sur. This list will be updated as we test any new versions that vendors release and vendors release more information on compatibility with Big Sur.

Cisco Anyconnect Secure Mobility Client (VPN)
Cisco AnyConnect 4.9.03047 is compatible with Big Sur.

IBM Spectrum Protect (Backup)
IBM Spectrum Protect (TSM) does not currently support a version that is compatible with Big Sur.

iClicker (In-class polling)
iClicker has not yet confirmed compatibility with Big Sur.

Symantec Endpoint Protection (Anti-virus)
Broadcom does not currently support a version of SEP that is compatible with Big Sur.

Ricoh and Kyocera do not currently support versions of their print drivers that are compatible with Big Sur. In general usually very old printers will be incompatible or have reduced functionality on the newest operating systems.

Microsoft Teams is compatible with Big Sur

Zoom does not currently support a version that is compatible with Big Sur.

Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office is compatible with Big Sur


UVic Specific Services


Connect (Sharepoint 2013) works successfully in Safari 14 on Big Sur

MyPage works successfully in Safari 14 on Big Sur

Brightspaces works successfully in Safari 14 on Big Sur

Coursespaces works successfully in Safari 14 on Big Sur


Updating your Mac

If you have technical support through Desktop Support Services (DSS), in your department, or through the Computer Help Desk, please contact them to arrange your upgrade.

If you are planning to update your existing Mac to Big Sur yourself you should follow Apple's recommended process:

It is especially important that you back up your Mac prior to upgrading to avoid data loss in case the upgrade fails.


Questions about Big Sur?

If you have any questions about Big Sur or the M1 Macs, please contact the Computer Help Desk at or your Desktop Support Services contact for additional information. We will continue to update this bulletin as we test additional features and compatibility with Big Sur and the M1 Macs.