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

Top Rated Comments

Nugget Avatar
16 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
16 months ago
I like this feature :oops:

Attachment Image
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
itsmilo Avatar
16 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)
ivan86 Avatar
16 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
16 months ago
Now is the time to start thinking about installing Catalina.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jarrod Halbert Avatar
16 months ago
Is anyone else's download SUPER slow.. like 12-24 hours to finish...
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
airtag in hand

Apple Enhancing AirTags Anti-Stalking Measures With Android App and Shorter Sound Intervals

Thursday June 3, 2021 11:10 am PDT by
Apple is enhancing AirTags security to prevent stalking using the Bluetooth devices, Apple told CNET today. Apple is already sending out over-the-air updates to AirTags that will shorten the amount of time before an unknown AirTag alerts you if it is in your possession. At the current time, AirTags play a sound after three days of being away from their owner. After the update, AirTags will...
maxresdefault

Here's How Apple's New iPhone to iPhone Data Migration Feature Works in iOS 12.4

Tuesday July 23, 2019 1:20 pm PDT by
Apple this week released iOS 12.4, the newest version of iOS 12 available for iPhones and iPads. One of the new features in iOS 12.4 is an updated data migration option that uses device to device transfers rather than relying on iCloud. Apple didn't provide much information on the new data migration feature, so we thought we'd check it out in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the ...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
tmobilelogo

T-Mobile Data Breach Included Personal Information of Almost 50 Million Customers

Wednesday August 18, 2021 5:41 am PDT by
T-Mobile has issued a statement with further details about a cyberattack that the company confirmed earlier this week, confirming that the data breach included the personal information of almost 50 million current, former, and prospective customers. Late last week, T-Mobile confirmed that a forum post that purported to offer data from more than 100 million people was the result of a company...
airtag precision finding

AirTag Includes U1 Chip for 'Precision Finding' Feature

Tuesday April 20, 2021 12:11 pm PDT by
Apple's long-awaited AirTag was finally unveiled today, and as expected, the small circle-shaped accessories can be attached to items like wallets, keys, and more to allow them to be tracked in the Find My app. As was rumored ahead of release, each AirTag is equipped with a U1 chip, and on devices that also have U1 chips, there's a Precision Finding feature. U1 Ultra Wideband chips are...
m1 macbook air

Kuo: Mini-LED MacBook Air Coming in Mid-2022

Thursday July 22, 2021 7:48 pm PDT by
Apple will release a new version of the MacBook Air around the middle of 2022, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in note to investors seen by MacRumors. The upcoming MacBook Air will feature a 13.3-inch mini-LED display, which would make it the second Mac to gain mini-LED technology after the 2021 MacBook Pro, which is rumored to include a mini-LED display and is expected to launch later ...
Apple Films Tom Hanks Finch First Look

Apple Original Film 'Finch' Starring Tom Hanks to Premiere November 5

Thursday August 12, 2021 8:52 am PDT by
Apple today announced that the original film "Finch," starring Tom Hanks in its titular role, will premiere on Apple TV+ on Friday, November 5 and shared a first-look image from the film. The first look at "Finch," shared by Apple. The film, which is anticipated to be an awards season contender, revolves around a man, a robot (played by "Get Out" actor Caleb Landry Jones), and a dog that form ...
2016 macbook pro flexgate b

Apple Faces Another Class-Action MacBook Pro ‘Flexgate’ Lawsuit

Thursday August 20, 2020 6:43 am PDT by
Another class-action complaint has been lodged against Apple, which claims that the company was aware of a MacBook Pro design flaw that caused some devices to have backlight display issues (via Apple Insider). The so-called "flexgate" problem was present in some MacBook Pro models manufactured between 2016 and 2017. The problem appears as dark patches along the bottom of the MacBook Pro's...
macbook air m1 first benchmark

Apple Silicon M1 Chip in MacBook Air Outperforms High-End 16-Inch MacBook Pro

Wednesday November 11, 2020 4:43 pm PST by
Apple introduced the first MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini with M1 Apple Silicon chips yesterday, and as of today, the first benchmark of the new chip appears to be showing up on the Geekbench site. The M1 chip, which belongs to a MacBook Air with 8GB RAM, features a single-core score of 1687 and a multi-core score of 7433. According to the benchmark, the M1 has a 3.2GHz base...