What does “Big Sur” in macOS Big Sur mean?

macOS Big Surのインストーラーのアイコン
Updated : Nov 23, 2021

I will explain the meaning of “Big Sur” in macOS 11 Big Sur.

Simply put, it’s called “Big Sur,” a famous place in California, USA.

Then, I will also introduce what kind of place it is.



What does Big Sur mean?

“Sur” in “Big Sur” means “south” in Spanish.

Translated literally, it is “big south.”

Englsh Spanish pronunciation
east este [este]
west oeste [oeste]
south sur [sur]
north norte [norte]

The Spanish reading is “Suru”, but the English-style reading is “Sir”.


There is also a town called “Monterey” in California, which is an old port town that prospered after the Spaniards built a port in the 18th century.

To the south of this area is a mountain range and steep coastline, but it has come to be called “Big Sur” in the sense of “the big area in the south” of Monterey.

By the way, “Monterey” has been adopted as the next version name of macOS 12.


Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey



What kind of place is Big Sur?

First, let’s take a look at the map.

Roughly located, it’s a coastal area between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Big Surの位置を示す地図


On the enlarged map, Big Sur is included in “Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park”.

Also, on the east side of Big Sur, the highest peak of about 0.93milea is approaching the “Santa Lucia Range”, and “California State Road 1” continues so as to stick to the cliff on the west side.

Big Surの位置を示す地図


Next, let’s take a look at the photos on the photo sharing site “unsplash“.

Big Sur is a famous tourist destination in the United States, so many photos have been uploaded.

As you can see in the picture below, the cliffs (the cliffs of the movie Cliffhanger) continue, so it was an area that people couldn’t approach for a long time.

That is one of the “New Deal policies” that appear in history textbooks, and since the completion of “California State Road 1 (the road on the cliff in the photo)” in the 1930s, it has been known as a summer resort and tourist destination. It came to be able to.

Big Surの断崖絶壁


Below is a photo of the most famous “Bixy Creek Bridge” in the Big Sur area.

The bridge is in a great place, but it was completed in 1932 and is 280ft high.
(Because the Golden Gate Bridge is 220ft, it is higher than that)

Big SurのPixby Creek Bridge


By the way, if you zoom in on one of the default wallpapers (desktop pictures) in Big Sur as shown below, you can see this bridge.

macOS Big Surデフォルト壁紙(デスクトップ・ピクチャ)

macOS Big Surデフォルト壁紙(デスクトップ・ピクチャ)の拡大図


Furthermore, the macOS Big Sur installer icon also uses this bridge.

macOS Big Surのインストーラーのアイコン


By the way, the next link is a blog post by a Japanese person who visited Big Sur.

It is recommended because there are many pictures and it is easy to get an image.

カリフォルニア・ビッグ サー (Big Sur) ドライブ! | Kicking!世界の旅へ
カリフォルニア・ビッグ サー (Big Sur) を含む、アメリカ・カリフォルニア州モントレー(Monterey)から、同じくカリフォルニア州のピズモビーチ(Pismo Beach)までのドライブルー...



Why did macOS get the name Big Sur?

In successive versions of macOS, California place names and feline cats have been named.

Version Nickname Description
12 Monetrey California’s historic port city
11 Big Sur California coast
10.15 Catalina California island
10.14 Mojave California desert
10.13 High Sierra California Mountains
10.12 Sierra California Mountains
10.11 El Capitan California Mountains
10.10 Yosemite California Mountains
10.9 Mavericks California coast
10.8 Mountain Lion Cat family
10.7 Lion Cat family
10.6 Snow Leopard Cat family
10.5 Leopard Cat family
10.4 Tiger Cat family
10.3 Panther Cat family
10.2 Jaguar Cat family
10.1 Puma Cat family
10.0 Cheetah Cat family
10 Public Beta Siam Cat family

Looking at the table, 10.9 Mavericks is followed by the name of the place in California, so it seems that it became Big Sur according to this rule.

Well then, I don’t know why it’s the name of a place in California or the name of a feline.

I’ve never heard of Steve Jobs as a cat lover, so it doesn’t mean anything, right?



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