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How to install the macOS Big Sur Public Beta

Apple released the beta version of macOS Big Sur for its public beta test group in August, with which they can test the new software for Macs before it is released in the fall.

The macOS Big Sur public beta is available to anyone with a compatible Mac and does not require a developer account. This guide will walk you through the steps to install the beta software. Note that you will need approximately 20 GB of free space on your hard drive before attempting an installation.

Before you download the update, you should be aware of this Apple doesn’t recommend installing the macOS Big Sur Public Beta on your main MacSo if you have a secondary machine, use that. This is beta software and there are common bugs and issues that can prevent the software from working properly or cause other problems.

Is my Mac running macOS Big Sur?

macOS Big Sur is compatible with most machines as of 2013 (see below):

The OS update does not support the following Macs that could run macOS Catalina:

  • 2012 and early 2013 “MacBook Pro”
  • 2012 “MacBook Air”
  • 2012 and 2013 ‌iMac‌
  • 2012 “Mac Mini”

Create a Time Machine backup

Before upgrading to the new beta, make sure that you are backing up an external drive using Apple’s Time Machine feature.

After testing macOS Big Sur, if you want to revert to your previous setup or it doesn’t work, you’ll need to reinstall macOS Catalina. A backup can be helpful in getting things going as before.

Sign up for Apple’s beta software program

To install macOS Big Sur, you must enroll your Mac in Apple’s free Apple beta software program. To do this, just follow these steps.

  1. Visit the Apple beta software program website in a browser on your Mac.
  2. Click the blue Log In Click the button or, if you are already a member, click Sign In.
  3. Enter your Apple ID and password, then enter a two-factor authentication code if verification is required.
  4. Agree to the Apple Beta Software Program Terms and Conditions.
  5. After signing in and on the Public Betas Guide page, scroll up and click Register Devices, then click macOS.

Download and install the macOS Big Sur Beta

Once you’ve signed up for Apple’s public beta testing program, you can download macOS Big Sur.

  1. Make sure you’ve created your backup as described above, then scroll down to “Register your Mac” Possibility.
  2. Click on “Download the MacOS Public Beta Access Utility. “
  3. When asked if you want to allow downloads from beta.apple.com, click Allow.
  4. Unless you changed where files are downloaded, the beta installer (macOSPublicBetaAccessUtility.dmg) will appear in your Downloads folder. Find it and double click on it to open it.
  5. Double-click the .pkg file inside to run the installer.
  6. You might see a warning asking you to use Time Machine to back up your Mac. Either stop here and save, or click if you have already done so OK and then click Continue.
  7. click Continue again and then click Agree accept Apple’s software license agreement.
  8. Click on To install. Enter your administrator password when prompted.
  9. Once the installer finishes downloading, the System Preferences Software Update window will automatically open and the macOS Big Sur Beta download will show as available. Click on Upgrade now to download the public beta software when prompted. It takes approximately 12 GB to download the file. When the download is complete, your Mac should restart.

Install the macOS Big Sur Public Beta

After the restart, the installer for macOS Big Sur will start automatically. If it doesn’t, use Finder to find it in the Applications folder and click it.

  1. click Continue at the bottom of the installer.
  2. click Continue below when you have finished backing up or if you have already done a backup.
  3. click Agree To accept the terms and conditions, click Agree again to confirm.
  4. Select the drive where you want to install the public beta. You can choose your main drive or a partition you have created.
  5. click To installEnter your administrator password and click OK.
  6. click Restartor wait for your Mac to restart automatically.

After clicking Restart, the macOS Big Sur installation process will begin. It will take some time, but when the Mac starts up again, the macOS Big Sur public beta will run. For a list of what’s new in macOS Big Sur, see our macOS Big Sur roundup.

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