How To Mac

How to Direct Download and Install macOS Big Sur

Written by John

Do you want to know how to download and Install macOS 11 Big Sur? You have landed in the right place, then. Big Sur was one of Apple's significant updates for Mac users. It has many geeky features that contribute a lot to making Mac users' lives easier. macOS Big Sur includes many updates like application icons, improved notification center, improved map apps, redesigned toolbars, and more.

Check Your System’s Compatibility

Before installing macOS Big Sur, you will first need to check your system's compatibility. It is important to check because the upgrade isn't supported for all Mac devices.

Here’s the official device compatibility list from Apple:

  • MacBook 2015 and newer
  • MacBook Air 2013 and newer
  • MacBook Pro Late 2013 and newer
  • Mac Mini 2014 and newer
  • iMac 2014 and newer
  • iMac Pro 2017 and newer (all models)
  • Mac Pro 2013 and newer

How to Direct Download macOS Big Sur

1. Big Sur Download With Terminal

Click on the ‘Magnifying Glass’ icon in your Menu bar. Or, you can use the ‘Command+Space’ command to open the Spotlight Search of your Mac. In the search bar, type ‘Terminal’ and click ‘Return.’ Then, click on the ‘Terminal’ application icon you see on your screen.

In the Terminal, type ‘softwareupdate --list-full-installers’ to list all version of macOS

List version of macOS in Terminal

Type this commands to download macOS 11.6.5 Big Sur: ‘softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer 11.6.5

Download macOS Big Sur 11.6.5 with Terminal

After executing the mentioned command, it will start searching for the available macOS Version. It will now automatically start downloading the macOS after finding them. You will see the macOS on your Application folder.

2. Direct Download macOS 11 Big Sur With .pkg Installer

Before heading forward, let’s first know what is .pkg file on Mac. PKG is an installer file that the App Store uses to install macOS on your Mac.

You can directly download .pkg file for macOS Big Sur from the link below:

Download macOS 11 Big Sur 11.6.8 20G730 InstallAssistant form Apple server

After that, Open .pkg file and you will see "Install macOS Big Sur.app" file in Applications folder.


Convert Big Sur InstallAssistant to Install App

3. Download Big Sur From App Store

Head over to the App Store, and search for the ‘Search’ icon in the navigation menu. Type ' macOS Big Sur' in the 'Search Bar' and press the 'Return' key.

Download macOS Big Sur in App Store

How to Install macOS Big Sur

1. Format USB Drive with Disk Utility

To install macOS 11 Big Sur on your system, you first need to copy the Big Sur installer file to a USB drive that doesn’t have anything on it. For that, you have to format it using Disk Utility. Here’s how you can do it:

Format USB Drive to create Big Sur Installer

  • Connect the USB drive to your Mac.
  • You can either use Spotlight Search to look for Disk Utility.
  • After opening Disk Utility, click on the USB drive you just plugged in and click on Erase.
  • Name the USB drive “Untitled
  • In the “Format type” field, choose “MacOS Extended”.
  • In the “Scheme” field, choose “GUID Partition Map”.
  • Finally, in the top menu, click on Erase and wait for Disk Utility to finish the process.

2. Create macOS USB Installer with Terminal

Now that you’ve formatted the USB drive, you’re ready to turn it into a bootable drive with the help of Terminal. Follow the steps mentioned below:

Create macOS Big Sur USB Installer

  • Search for the Terminal app with Spotlight Search and open it.
  • Copy and paste the following the commands in Terminal, replace ‘Untitled’ with your USB drive’s actual name.
    sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Big\ Sur.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Untitled
  • Hit the Enter key and once you see “Done” written in the Terminal app, you’re ready to install macOS 11 Big Sur with the USB drive.

3. Enable USB Installer for T2 Chip Mac

To be able to install macOS 11 Big Sur with the USB drive, you need to enable external disk usage. T2 Macs and Intel Macs don’t allow this by default. Here’s how you change the settings:

Allow booting from External Media

  • Turn on your Mac and hold the “Command + R” keys to enter Recovery mode.
  • You’ll now be able to see the macOS Utilities screen. Click on Utilities in the top menu and in the drop-down menu, click on Startup Security Utility.
  • Under the “External Boot” section, choose Allow booting from external media. You can now exit the Startup Security Utility screen and restart your Mac.

4. Use Disk Utility to Format Hard Disk

Before clean install macOS 11 Big Sur, it is always good to create a backup of your Data. So, connect an external device and backup your macOS with Time Machine.

  • Connect the USB drive to your Mac and restart your system while holding down the Option key.
  • When the boot option appears on the screen, select the USB Installer drive.
  • From the list of MacOS Utilities you see on the screen, click on Disk Utility.
macOS Utilities in macOS Big Sur

  • Select your volume, usually named Macintosh HD and click on "Erase" button.
  • Give it a name and in the format field, select APFS partition.
  • Hit the Erase button to delete all data and create new partition (We suggest you take the backup of your Data to External Disk).


Format macOS Big Sur Partition with APFS

5. Install macOS Big Sur

Once the disk has been erased, you’ll be taken back to the Utility screen. Click on Install macOS Big Sur and then click on Continue. 

Install Clean macOS Big Sur with Flash Drive

Select the destination of the disk you just formatted and wait for macOS to finish installing. Once it’s done, your Mac will restart and you’ll be able to use macOS 11 Big Sur.

This is how to download and clean install macOS 11 Big Sur. In this tutorial, we showed you How to download macOS 11 Big Sur in three different ways and Clean Install macOS Big Sur with USB Installer. You can follow any of the methods according to your convenience to download and install. Yet, one of the easiest ways is to use the InstallAssistant file to install macOS Big Sur.

With that said, we hope you finally upgraded to macOS Big Sur without any hassle. If you face any issues, then do let us know in the comments. We will try to help you solve those issues.

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