How To Install macOS Big Sur Public Beta

Apple has been releasing major updates for its macOS platform on an annual basis, and while various improvements have been made to previous releases, it’s safe to say that the upcoming macOS Big Sur update is probably one of the biggest releases to date namely because it bumps macOS up to version 11.

Previously Apple’s releases have revolved around version 10 of their operating system, so the upgrade to 11 does signal a pretty huge change. There is no set date on when macOS Big Sur will be released to the public, but the good news is that thanks to the public beta, those who are curious about the update can check it out first.


How To Download And Install macOS Big Sur Public Beta

Before proceeding, you should also make sure that your Mac is completely backed up (check out our guide on how to backup your Mac) either to the cloud or to an external drive using Time Machine. This is because there could be problems that might result in you being forced to completely wipe your Mac, so it’s probably a good idea to make sure your important files are backed up before proceeding to make sure that you don’t lose anything.

  1. Go to Apple’s beta program website
  2. Sign up using your Apple ID
  3. Select Enroll Your Devices
  4. Click macOS
  5. Scroll down and look for “Download the macOS Public Beta Access Utility
  6. Choose Allow
  7. Launch the beta ultilty.dmg
  8. Double click the .pkg installer and follow the instructions
  9. Go to System Preferences > Software Update and download the macOS Big Sur public beta

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How To Leave The macOS Big Sur Public Beta

So now that you’ve seen all you need to see of Big Sur for now and you want out of the public beta, it’s pretty easy.

  1. Go to System Preferences > Software Update
  2. To the left side of the window under the cog icon, click “Details
  3. Click “Restore Defaults

This will basically stop your Mac from receiving future beta updates, but you’re not quite done yet because while you will not receive future updates, the macOS Big Sur update is still installed on your Mac. To downgrade back to the previous version of macOS, here’s how.

  1. Go to System Preferences > Software Update
  2. Your Mac should now automatically search for the latest publicly available update of the previous version of macOS (which is currently macOS Catalina)
  3. Once it finds the update, click “Update Now
  4. Restart your Mac when prompted and wait for the update to complete installing itself. This might take a while so make sure that you aren’t in any rush and if you have a MacBook laptop, you’ll want to keep it plugged into a power outlet.

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Risks And Precautions

As with all beta programs, the software you see and use might not necessarily be the final version that will be released to the public. This is because beta programs are typically used to get feedback from developers or the public, and based on this feedback, Apple might decide to make changes to certain features ahead of the public release, or in some cases they might just scrap them entirely if they feel it isn’t ready yet.

This means that you probably should not use the public beta as your daily driver as there could be compatibility issues with apps and maybe to a certain extent, hardware. It is useful if you’re a developer looking to test out new features and to incorporate some of those changes to your apps.

It is also useful for non-developers to just take a peek around and see what Apple has to offer, but at the end of the day, the potential issues that might crop up now and then might make it a bad daily driver.

Macs Compatible With macOS Big Sur

With every new major update, compatibility with older computers tend to get dropped. These are the Mac computers that are currently eligible for the upcoming update. If you don’t see yours in the list, then it looks like you’re out of luck.

  • 2015 and later MacBook
  • 2013 and later MacBook Air
  • Late 2013 and later MacBook Pro
  • 2014 and later iMac
  • 2017 and later iMac Pro
  • 2014 and later Mac mini
  • 2013 and later Mac Pro

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