DescriptionUpgrade to macOS 11 Big Sur
AccessFaculty & Staff (college owned computers only)


LocationFaculty and Staff iMacs and MacBooks

These update instructions are for college-owned computers only.  All Swarthmore community members are encouraged to update their personal Macs to Big Sur through the App Store.

Before you upgrade

Almost all ITS provided academic and productivity software is compatible with macOS 11 Big Sur.   However, older personal 32-bit software may need to be updated or replaced to run on the new OS.  For more information on identifying 32-bit programs before upgrading, see Apple's webpage here:

If you use Kaleidagraph, note that the vendor has not upgraded the program for 64-bit yet.    We recommend waiting to run this update if you require Kaleidagraph.

Updating to macOS 11 Big Sur

You can update macOS on your College-owned computer using the Self Service app in your Applications folder.   If you do not see the Self Service app on your College-owned computer, contact the Help Desk and request that your system be enrolled in our Apple software management system.

  1. Save any unsaved documents and close any open programs.   If you are updating a MacBook, plug the laptop into AC power.  
  2. Search for Self Service on your laptop and launch the program.

3.  In Self Service, navigate to the "OS" section and click on "macOS Big Sur Upgrade".


4.  You will be walked through the download and install process.   Note that the entire process will take about thirty minutes and will reboot the computer.