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How do I install the public beta of MacOS Catalina?



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The public beta version of Catalina is now available.


Screenshot Clifford Colby / CNET

You do not have to wait until autumn to test MacOS Catalina: Apple today released a public beta version of the next major update for MacOS. The public preview on MacOS 10.15 is a chance to test all the cool new features of Catalina before they are available this fall. You can also monitor Catalina's progress and help Apple identify issues before they are officially delivered. If you're joining Apple's public beta program, you can also try a public preview of iOS 13, iPadOS, and TVOS 13.

Here's what to look forward to: In Catalina, Apple will replace the iTunes app with three separate apps: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV. Also useful is the revamp that allows Mac users to run iPad apps that they can download from the Mac App Store and use an iPad as a second screen monitor.

You can download the public preview of Catalina for free. Keep in mind, however, that beta software, including Apple's, is not fully baked: apps may be unstable, the features may not work as expected, and you may experience bugs and software incompatibilities. The public beta version contains a useful tool for reporting bugs that you can find at Apple. If you get nervous about running a beta, you can skip the preview and wait for the finished operating system. If you're still interested, do the following:

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With the public beta you can check all the cool things that show up in Catalina today.


Screenshot Clifford Colby / CNET

What to do before you install the public beta?

Before downloading and installing public beta, make sure you have a good, up-to-date backup of the contents of your Mac drive if something goes south during installation, or after. You can either use the Time Machine utility built into your Mac or download a Mac backup app like Carbon Copy Cloner.

After backing up the contents of your drive, you should really consider installing the public beta version of Catalina on one external storage device or separate partition, not on your primary Mac drive. That way you can run MacOS Catalina if something goes wrong in the beta or if you decide to return to Mojave.

You can run MacOS Catalina if …

While MacOS brings Catalina a lot of improvements, the hardware requirements remain the same as for MacOS Mojave, the current version of the operating system. So if you can do Mojave, you can do Catalina. The following Macs meet the requirements:

To check which Mac you have, choose About This Mac from the Apple menu. The Overview tab shows which Mac you have.

Download and install the MacOS Catalina preview.

If you live with the potential problems and problems of the beta software and have a recent backup, you're ready.

1. First, go to Apple's public beta software page.

2. You need an AppleID to join the beta program. So either search for yours or create one.

3. After logging in, click on the MacOS tab and read the instructions.

4. If you previously installed a Mac public beta, go to step 8. Otherwise, continue.

5. If you're running a public beta version of MacOS for the first time, you'll need to enroll your Mac in the beta program by installing the MacOS public beta utility.

6. After you have registered, the utility will open the software update in the system settings and prompt you to download the public beta.

7. Click Download to get the beta.

8. If you have already registered your Mac, go to System Preferences and select Software Update. The public beta should be displayed as an upgrade.

9. Click Update Now to download the beta.

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The download is large – about 6.5 GB – but when completed, follow the instructions on the screen to complete the installation.

If a new public beta is available, you will receive notification about the software update. [19659006] When you finish testing Catalina, you can restore your system by backing up the contents of your drive that you created before installing it. You can also unsubscribe your Mac from the beta program.

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