How the New Control Center in macOS Big Sur Works

While it will clearly be familiar to iPhone and iPad users, macOS Big Sur has a different implementation of the Control Center than what you’re used to on the iPhone and iPad. And, it’s certainly going to take a while to get used to.

Meet the New Mac Control Center

Control Center in macOS can be accessed by clicking the new “Control Center” button from the menu bar—it’s next to the Siri icon. The drop-down menu will reveal all its available controls.

The arrangement is similar to the iPhone version with rounded rectangles and square boxes. The first box shows connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AirDrop.

On the right side, you’ll find the Do Not Disturb, Keyboard Brightness, and AirPlay controls. Under that, you’ll see sliders for Display and Sound.


At the bottom, you’ll see a Now Playing widget for the currently playing media and the battery life of your Mac.

The new Control Center on macOS Big Sur.

You can click each control to expand it. You’ll find more options.

Do Not Disturb options in the Mac Control Center.

The Control Center’s behavior does feel a little weird on the Mac. When you click on any control, the Control Center disappears and the options show up at the top of the Control Center. You have to move your mouse every time you want to interact with it.

You’ll find expanded menus for every control in the Control Center. You can even click the Keyboard Brightness slider to see an option to disable the feature and a shortcut to Keyboard Preferences.

Keyboard brightness controls in macOS Big Sur.

Customizing the Control Center and Menu Bar

You can choose to enable additional controls from System Preferences > Dock & Menu Bar. For example, you’ll find options for adding Accessibility Shortcuts and Fast User Switching options.

Customizing the macOS Control Center in Settings.

You can also add any control from the Control Center directly to the menu bar. All you have to do is drag it from the Control Center to the menu bar.

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