Apple in August released the macOS Big Sur beta for its public beta testing group, allowing them to test out the new software for Macs ahead of its release this fall.

macos big sur desktop
The ‌macOS Big Sur‌ Public Beta is available to anyone with a compatible Mac and it does not require a developer account. This guide walks you through the steps on installing the beta software. Note that you will need about 20GB of free space on your hard drive before attempting an installation.


Before you jump in and download the update, it's worth noting that Apple does not recommend installing the macOS Big Sur Public Beta on your main Mac, so if you have a secondary machine, use that. This is beta software, and there are often bugs and issues that pop up that can prevent software from working properly or cause other problems.

Will macOS Big Sur Run on My Mac?

‌macOS Big Sur‌ is compatible with most 2013 and later machines, outlined below:

  • 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

The operating system update does not support the following Macs that were capable of running macOS Catalina:

  • 2012 and Early 2013 MacBook Pro
  • 2012 ‌MacBook Air‌
  • 2012 and 2013 ‌iMac‌
  • 2012 ‌Mac mini‌

Make a Time Machine Backup

Before upgrading to the new beta, make sure to make a backup using Apple's Time Machine feature with an external drive.

If you want to revert back to your previous setup after testing ‌macOS Big Sur‌ or if it doesn't work out, you'll need to re-install macOS Catalina and a backup can be helpful to get things up and running as before.

Enroll in Apple's Beta Software Program

Installing ‌macOS Big Sur‌ requires enrolling your Mac in Apple's free Apple Beta Software Program. Follow these steps to do so.

applebetasoftwareprogram

  1. Visit the Apple Beta Software Program website in a browser on your Mac.
  2. Click on the blue Sign up button or, if you're already a member, click sign in.
  3. Enter your Apple ID and password and then a two-factor authentication code if verification is required.
  4. Agree to the Apple Beta Software Program terms and conditions.
  5. Once signed in and at the Guide for Public Betas page, scroll up to the top and click on "Enroll Your Devices" then click on "macOS." publicbetaenrolldevices

Downloading and Installing the macOS Big Sur Beta

Once you're enrolled in Apple's public beta testing program, you can download ‌macOS Big Sur‌.

  1. Make sure you've made your backup as outlined above, and then scroll down to "Enroll your Mac" option. enrollyourmacdownloadbet
  2. Click on "Download the macOS Public Beta Access Utility."
  3. When asked if you want to allow downloads on "beta.apple.com" click on "Allow." appleallowdownloadsbeta
  4. Unless you've changed where files download, the beta installer (macOSPublicBetaAccessUtility.dmg) will show up in your downloads folder. Locate it and double click on it to open it up. macospublicbetapkg
  5. Double click on the .pkg file inside to run the installer. installbetautility
  6. You may see a warning advising you to back up your Mac with Time Machine. Either stop here and back up, or, if you've already done so, Click OK and then click Continue.
  7. Click Continue again and then click on Agree to accept Apple's software license agreement.
  8. Click on Install. Enter your admin password if prompted. bigsuradminpassword
  9. Once the installer has completed the download, the System Preferences Software Update panel will open automatically and display the ‌macOS Big Sur‌ Beta download as available. Click on Upgrade Now to download the public beta software when prompted. It will take some time to download the file, which is around 12GB. When the download is complete, your Mac should restart. macosbigsurinstallwindow

Install the macOS Big Sur Public Beta

After you restart, you will see the ‌macOS Big Sur‌ installer launch automatically. If it doesn't, find it in the Applications folder using Finder and click on it.

macosbigsurbetainstaller

  1. Click Continue at the bottom of the installer.
  2. Click Continue at the bottom once you've finished backing up, or if you already performed a backup.
  3. Click Agree to accept the terms and conditions and then click Agree again to confirm.
  4. Select the drive that you want to install the public beta on. You can choose your main drive or a partition that you've created. install macos beta
  5. Click Install, enter your administrator password, and click OK.
  6. Click Restart, or wait for your Mac to reboot automatically.


After clicking on restart, the ‌macOS Big Sur‌ installation process will begin. It will take some time, but when the Mac boots up again, it will be running the ‌macOS Big Sur‌ Public Beta. For a list of everything that's new in ‌macOS Big Sur‌, make sure to check out our macOS Big Sur roundup.

Related Roundup: macOS Big Sur
Related Forum: macOS Big Sur (11.0)

Top Rated Comments

Nugget Avatar
10 months ago
Any user who requires a detailed walk-through in order to figure out how to install the Big Sur public beta should not be installing the Big Sur public beta.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
imnotthewalrus Avatar
10 months ago
I like this feature :oops:

Attachment Image
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
itsmilo Avatar
10 months ago
Hope there will be a Good 3rd party solution to get this on my 2012 MacBook Pro Retina. It’s still working great!

Even the battery is still at 91% health according to coconut battery.

See no point in upgrading it yet as it still has all the slots like SD reader, HDMI
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ivan_k Avatar
10 months ago
Somebody please check the column view in Finder. Has Apple finally fixed “Right Size All Columns Individually” option, so that columns automatically resize depending on the width of the folder/file name when browsing through various folders?
Right now all this right click feature does is adjusting the width of only one column ones and than that width remain the same for all other columns even if nested folder has very short file names in it.

Browsing files in column view in Finder has been a disaster for years now. ForkLift mostly does the job but at some things it is not good enough to be a full Finder replacement. It is simply time for Apple to fix this completely broken feature.

I have been reporting this throughout the whole beta test period of Mojave and I think once or twice during Catalina. The only hope for this to be addressed is to make some of the big youtubers / tech sites mentioning it and hopefully the right person from Apple sees this.

This issue has been since day one when I started using Macs in 2013 and basically covers:
OS X 10.9 - Mavericks

OS X 10.10 - Yosemite

OS X 10.11 - El Capitan

macOS 10.12 - Sierra

macOS 10.13 - High Sierra

macOS 10.14 - Mojave

macOS 10.15 - Catalina

Sometimes I wonder if anyone at Apple actually does the job on their Macs, you know - like working with tons of files. ?‍♂️
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
skitidetdu Avatar
10 months ago
Now is the time to start thinking about installing Catalina.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jarrod Halbert Avatar
10 months ago
Is anyone else's download SUPER slow.. like 12-24 hours to finish...
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

prosser macbook air colors stacked

Images Reveal Colorful New MacBook Air Design

Tuesday May 11, 2021 5:06 am PDT by
Apple's next MacBook Air will feature a completely new design and come in a range of colors like the 24-inch iMac, according to leaker Jon Prosser, who has now released supposedly accurate renders of the new machines based on leaked images. In a new video uploaded to YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser elaborated on his previous prediction that Apple's next-generation MacBook Air models ...
iPhone 13 Camera Backs

iPhone 13 Models Will Be Slightly Thicker and Will Have Larger Camera Bumps

Monday May 10, 2021 10:41 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 models will be slightly thicker than the iPhone 12 models and will also feature larger, thicker camera bumps with lenses that protrude less, according to iPhone 13 schematics seen by MacRumors. The new iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models are expected to feature a thickness of 7.57mm, up from 7.4mm in the iPhone 12 models. That's an increase of 0.17mm, which won't be hugely ...
3d printed airtag case siri remote

3D-Printed Case Lets You Attach an AirTag to Your Apple TV Remote

Monday May 10, 2021 8:11 am PDT by
Apple recently released a redesigned Siri Remote with a physical clickpad, but if you have an original Siri Remote laying around that you still plan on using, you may be interested in getting an AirTag case for the remote. Etsy user PrintSpiredDesigns has capitalized on the opportunity with a new 3D printed, made-to-order AirTag case for the original Siri Remote. The remote slides into the...
airtag hacked

AirTag Successfully Hacked to Show Custom URL in Lost Mode

Monday May 10, 2021 1:52 am PDT by
The inevitable race to hack Apple's AirTag item tracker has reportedly been won by a German security researcher, who managed to break into the device's microcontroller and successfully modify its firmware. Yesss!!! After hours of trying (and bricking 2 AirTags) I managed to break into the microcontroller of the AirTag! 🥳🥳🥳/cc @colinoflynn @LennertWo pic.twitter.com/zGALc2S2Ph— stacksmashing ...
zoom app icon

Apple Gave Zoom Access to Special API to Use iPad Camera During Split View Multitasking

Sunday May 9, 2021 2:00 am PDT by
Zoom, a hallmark platform used by millions during the global health crisis, has been given access to a special iPadOS API that allows the app to use the iPad camera while the app is in use in Split View multitasking mode. This case of special treatment was first brought to attention by app developer Jeremy Provost, who, in a blog post, explains that Zoom uses a special API that allows the...
tracking disabled ios 14 5

Analytics Suggest 96% of Users Leave App Tracking Disabled in iOS 14.5

Friday May 7, 2021 1:51 am PDT by
An early look at an ongoing analysis of Apple's App Tracking Transparency suggests that the vast majority of iPhone users are leaving app tracking disabled since the feature went live on April 26 with the release of iOS 14.5. According to the latest data from analytics firm Flurry, just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have actively chosen to opt into app tracking after updating their device...
Top Stories 59 Feature

Top Stories: Epic Games vs. Apple, Hidden AirTag Mode, Apple Music Hi-Fi, Colorful MacBook Air?

Saturday May 8, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
While we wait for the newly introduced iMac, iPad Pro, and Apple TV models to launch later this month, this week saw the kickoff of the big Epic Games v. Apple trial, with lots of juicy tidbits coming out as the two sides make their arguments. This week also saw some rumors about a Hi-Fi tier for Apple Music, more biometric sensing capabilities for Apple Watch, and timing for the...
Apple 5G Modem Feature

Kuo: Apple-Designed 5G Modem May Debut in iPhones as Early as 2023

Sunday May 9, 2021 10:02 pm PDT by
Apple plans to adopt its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the 2023 iPhones, meaning it'll no longer need to rely on Qualcomm to supply the 5G cellular modem for the iPhone, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in an investors note obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple plans to include its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the launch of the 2023...
maxresdefault

Video: Make Your iPhone Last Longer With These Battery Preserving Tips

Monday May 10, 2021 1:23 pm PDT by
Maximizing battery life is something that many iPhone users deal with on a regular basis as we all want our iPhones to last as long as possible. Sometimes there are bugs in iOS that make the battery drain faster, and sometimes we just need to eke out as much as possible on a long day out and about. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In our latest YouTube video, MacRumo...
m1 ipad pro chip

M1 iPad Pro Over 50% Faster Than Previous Generation in Early Benchmarks

Tuesday May 11, 2021 11:56 am PDT by
Last month, Apple introduced a new iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, and early benchmark results indicate that the M1 iPad Pro is over 50% faster than the previous-generation iPad Pro. Based on five legitimate Geekbench 5 results (here's the fifth) for the fifth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the M1 chip, the device has average single-core and multi-core scores of...