Are Your Editing Apps Safe After the Big Sur Upgrade?

I don’t know about you, but many of us, your humble author included, had a pretty horrific upgrade to Big Sur, the latest and apparently, not the greatest OS from Apple. 

After trying to install it about a dozen times and getting errors, I gave up for a while, only to find that thousands upon thousands of people around the world were having issues. It turns out that there were some server and permissions problems at Apple, and eventually, things settled down for most of us. As if the OS install issues weren’t enough, Apple messaging, Apple Pay, and some other services went south, making the Apple mantra of “it just works” feeling a little thin of late.

Nevertheless, once I got it installed, I was anxious to see how my photo apps were working. 


I’m glad to report that Adobe has been on the case since the Big Sur betas started making the rounds. Adobe says the latest Lightroom Classic works fine with Big Sur and I saw no issues with Lightroom Classic, Photoshop 2021, or Bridge. Adobe says there are some small issues with Bridge, but so far I haven’t seen them. Still, be cautious.

Adobe says Lightroom will also work now on the new ARM-based Macs, with the rest of the Adobe apps following next year.


My NIK tools worked fine, as did my Topaz apps, including Sharpen AI and Topaz DeNoise AI. Extensions like the recently reviewed Pro Panel and AstroPanel also were stable.


The Affinity apps like Affinity Photo were updated in late summer and are said to work fine on Big Sur.


DXO PhotoLab 4 is said to be fine with Big Sur and it was stable in my use of it. 


The Skylum apps weren’t quite ready for Big Sur but are mostly catching up. Luminar 4 was failing on export under Big Sur. Same for Aurora, the HDR tool. The company offered a hot fix for Luminar 4 on November 17. I think they should have been ready to go when Big Sur launched. Aurora was updated for Big Sur but still has some issues. After combining multiple images and trying to open the finished image in Luminar, it goes to the Skylum web page instead of their app.

The beta of Luminar AI was finally updated on the 19th. A quick fix for all the current Luminar apps was to turn off the graphic processor option in preferences, letting it work reliably. That’s not needed with the new updates. Hopefully, stable fixes for all the Luminar apps, including Aurora, will be coming quickly.


Another downer. Drobo storage users are finding any of their widely loved backup systems that connect with Thunderbolt 3 won’t work. I discovered this by accident after my upgrade when I could not see the Drobo disc icon on my desktop, and Drobo is aware of it. Happily, if you disconnect the ThunderBolt 3 cable and substitute a UBC-C cable, your Drobo will reappear. I’ve heard some other Thunderbolt 3 devices are having issues too. 

Final Thoughts

Don’t rush into software updates from Apple, Microsoft, or anyone else. Determine if your apps will work first, then hold your breath for fixes for the apps that aren’t ready to go. 

There’s plenty of blame to go around. Apple hasn’t been a paragon of reliability in the last few years, and some app developers aren’t taking these updates seriously enough. 

So, look before you leap, and hopefully, this article will be of some help. If you have experience, good or bad, with other photo apps and Big Sur, share what you’ve found in the comments. 


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