macOS Big Sur 11.1 is almost ready

macOS Big Sur 11.1 Release Candidate is what Apple used to call a ‘Golden Master.’
The macOS Big Sur 11.1 Release Candidate is likely the last step before a public release.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple seeded a macOS Big Sur 11.1 Release Candidate to developers on Thursday. That’s good news for those who hold off upgrading their Mac to each new big new macOS release until after it gets its first major revision.

In addition, there are second release candidates for iOS 14.3 and iPadOS 14.3 available.

macOS Big Sur 11.1 is right around the corner

Now that third-party software developers have access to the Release Candidate for the next macOS version, they can do some last-minute hunting for bugs in Apple’s code, and also test to see whether their own apps are compatible with any new features.

That said, Apple has kept a tight lid on what new features are coming in version 11.1. It’s possible the only tweaks are to support AirPods Max and Apple Fitness+. But Big Sur is a monumental update, offering the biggest design overhaul to the Mac user interface in nearly two decades.

And exactly when macOS Big Sur 11.1 will be released is not known either. But it’ll surely be soon. As Apple says, “The term ‘Release Candidate’ (RC) replaces ‘GM seed’ and indicates this version is near final.”

When is an iOS release candidate not a release candidate?

But sometimes a Release Candidate doesn’t get picked. Apple put out iOS 14.3 RC and iPadOS 14.3 RC on Tuesday, and today replaced them with updated versions. This is an unusual step. The mostly likely explanation is a serious bug turned up at the last minute.

The new iOS update will bring ProRAW support to the iPhone 12 Pro models. Plus, it and the iPad equivalent will give everyone more information about the privacy practices of the apps they use. And iOS 14.3 and/or iPadOS are needed to use AirPods Max and Apple Fitness+. The exercise service launches December 14, so these versions need to be out soon.

But for right now, they’re only for devs. Those part of the Apple Developer Program can download the iOS 14.3 RC2 and iPadOS 14.3 RC2 today, along with macOS Big Sur 11.1 Release Candidate.