Apple has released the second pre-release beta version of macOS Big Sur 11.3 to registered developers and other beta testers.
The new beta update comes just a few weeks after the release of Big Sur 11.2, which did not offer much by way of new features but did include a number of important security updates.
New features in the latest update include: a new Autoplay feature in the Apple Music app (as seen in iOS 14). You can also see more information about your Mac warranty.
There is also a beta of iOS 14.5. For more information read What's in iOS 14.5.
Big Sur 11.3 features
Apple has revealed that the following new features will be included in Big Sur 11.3:
Improved Safari features - Start Page will be more customisable. Users will be able to re-arrange the sections with customisation controls. In addition, new extensions types will enable developers to create extensions for features that can appear on the new tab page. There will also be a new Web Speech API for developers so that they can incorporate speech recognition into their web pages.
iOS/iPadOS apps on the Mac - iPhone and iPad apps will be enhanced on M1 Macs. For example, iPadOS apps will launch with a larger window and a new preference pane will be available in iOS and iPadOS apps offering access to keyboard commands to be used instead of touch. A Touch Alternative menu will appear in the System panel.
Reminders - Following the macOS Big Sur 11.3 update you will be able to easily sort Reminders by various criteria. Users will also be able to move Reminders manually up and down within any list. The update will also ass support for printing Reminders.
Apple News - Apple is introducing a redesigned News+ Tab to help subscribers quickly access magazines and newspapers. It will also simplify the process for managing downloaded issues.
Games controller support - Mac users will get access to a number of new features when they install this update, including support for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S gaming controllers.
Apple Music - Apple Music improvements will include a Made For You Library shortcut that should simplifying the process of finding personal mixes and playlists. Also a Listen Now option will offer upcoming and live special events based on your interests. In version 2 of the beta Apple added an new Autoplay feature. If Autoplay is enabled, Apple Music will continue to play similar music even if the playlist runs out, something that many users will appreciate. The function is activated by pressing an icon that looks like an infinity sign (∞). Apple is also adding the ability to share lyrics when you send links to your friends via Messaging, Instagram or Facebook Messenger. The function is limited to a maximum of 150 characters, so it is important to select the most relevant paragraph.
Support for stereo-paired HomePods - It will be possible to change the default setting to stereo-paired HomePods. To date it has only been possible to use two HomePods as paired stereo speakers via AirPlay and Apple Music, which has annoyed some users. It is already possible to use dual HomePods without problems with iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, so it is long overdue that the same functionality should come to the Mac. Via 9to5Mac.
Warranty information: You can view your Mac's warranty information under About This Mac > Support.
Big Sur 11.3 release date
The final version of macOS Big Sur 11.3 will probably be released to the public at the end of March. Not long after that we will hear about the next major update, macOS 12, which will be announced at WWDC 2021 in the summer.
If you want to take part in testing the new update, you can sign up for Apple's beta software programme. In addition to new versions of macOS, you'll be able to test upcoming versions of iOS, iPadOS, tvOS and watchOS.