macOS - Upgrade to Big Sur

This article explains the Big Sur upgrade process available through Self-Service


macOS 11 "Big Sur" Upgrade

A few things to note before upgrading to macOS Big Sur

  • Do not upgrade a computer unless you have physical access to it. Attempting to upgrade a computer remotely will drop the remote connection leaving the computer stuck waiting for local user input.
  • The Big Sur upgrade requires a significant amount of free disk space. The installer itself is much larger due to its support of both Intel and Apple "M" processors. As a result, computers need approximately 60GB of free space for upgrade files to download and the upgrade process to complete.
  • Installing Big Sur on a University-Owned Mac will also install Jamf Connect for authentication. All university owned Macs running Big Sur will get this feature, even if the upgrade is installed through methods other than detailed below. For more on Jamf Connect, please see the Jamf Connect KB document


Starting the Upgrade Process

Step 1. Open the Self Service application from the Applications folder, dock, Spotlight or Launchpad.

A screenshot of a cell phone Searching for Self Service in Spotlight


Step 2. From the Self Service application search for Big Sur and select the Upgrade to Big Sur policy.

The Big Sur upgrade appearing in Self Service


Before the installation begins, there will be a prompt warning the user that the computer will automatically restart once the installer is ready to begin the upgrade.

Starting the Big Sur Upgrade


Step 3. If the macOS Big Sur installer is not present, there will be a prompt to Download it. Some computers may already have the installation files cached. If the Big Sur Installer is already present on the computer, the installation process will begin immediately. Skip to Installing the Upgrade if you are not prompted to download Big Sur.

Choice to download the Big Sur Upgrade


There will be a notification that the download will happen in the background. Click OK. When the download is complete the installer will begin the upgrade process.

Big Sur is now downloading

Installing the Upgrade

The computer will begin the installation process as soon as the installer is ready. This will cause the computer to restart, and it  will reboot several times during this process. The typical upgrade takes between 30-60 minutes depending on the age of the computer. This process is completely automated and the user will not have to take any action until the upgrade is completed and the user logs into their account.

Preparing the macOS installerStep 4. The final step in the upgrade process requires the user to login as they normally would. After logging in, the upgrade will finish which may also take several minutes. For further information, scroll down to Using Jamf Connect Login in the Jamf Connect KB document





Keywords:macOS, Big Sur, macOS 11, OS, Mac, Upgrade, Jamf, Self Service   Doc ID:108280
Owner:Christopher C.Group:UW-Milwaukee Help Desk
Created:2021-01-12 12:25 CDTUpdated:2021-08-04 14:00 CDT
Sites:UW-Milwaukee Help Desk
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