Ready for macOS 11 Big Sur

3 minute read

macOS Big Sur is the next big thing for Apple users. It's part of the story of Apple's apparent desire to converge iOS for iPhones and iPads with macOS on the desktop. It's also an important step towards the transition from Intel processors to RISC processors.

We'll briefly take a look as to what this is likely to mean for Adobe users further down the page. But the most important matter at this stage is knowing that Astute Graphics has done its homework and ensured that its service works on macOS 11 Big Sur in time for its full release sometime in October 2020.

At the end of September we released our "5-Star" updates to all plugins. This brought additional functionality, but as importantly, it added Big Sur compatibility to the plugins themselves.

Of increasing importance is the Astute Manager which has also been updated to work with Big Sur. Version 2.0.2 is automatically pushed to all recent Astute Manager installations. If in doubt, you can download and install the latest Astute Manager from

Once updated, simply ensure you have updated all your plugins (help can be found here, if you're unsure), you're compatible with Apple's latest desktop OS.

Future iOS convergence and RISC hardware

Apple announced this summer that it intends to move all its desktop computers away from the current Intel chip set to RISC, licensed from chip designers ARM, over a two-year period. This architecture is already the basis of iPhone and iPad devices.

It is therefore logical to conclude that iOS and the desktop macOS convergence will be forthcoming in the near future. Apple have already announced Mac Catalyst which provides an element of this.

What does this mean for Illustrator users?

If you are an Illustrator user, we would avoid jumping over to Apple's new RISC hardware until the situation with Adobe and Astute Graphics updates are crystal clear.

The most pressing issue will be transitioning Illustrator to the new RISC hardware. Apple is set to start releasing the new machines from the lower level first. Therefore, MacBook Air laptops are anticipated to be the first around the end of 2020. However, as these are rarely used for power-and-display-hungry Adobe Illustrator, it will be further into 2021 when Illustrator RISC hardware compatibility will have to become reality.

We are not privy to internal plans within Adobe regarding timescales to convert to RISC, but simply based on the fact Illustrator is an extensive and historic application, it's going to take a significant concerted effort to achieve. That will not be a quick, cheap or easy process.

Beyond that, Astute Graphics will have to convert its plugins to also function on RISC hardware. The full extent of what this will involve is not clear and likely to be largely unknown for some time until suitable hardware and Illustrator SDKs become available.

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