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MacOS Big Sur download: Here’s how to install the beta and try it yourself

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MacOS Big Sur is now available to download in developer beta.


Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET

At a virtual event on Tuesday, Apple is expected to unveil new Mac computers running the latest version of MacOS, called Big Sur. The new devices will also likely be powered for the first time by the company’s own Apple silicon chips. (Find out how to watch the Apple event live here.) 

MacOS Big Sur was first revealed at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The newly designed operating system includes major updates to the Safari web browser, and refreshed Maps and Messages apps (we’ve rounded up some of the best new MacOS Big Sur features and how to use them here). MacOS Big Sur is available now as a public beta, and will become generally available as a free software update for all users in the fall. Note that you’ll need to make sure your Mac is compatible with the new OS first. 

Typically, public betas are still buggy — some apps won’t work, there will probably be some random restarts and crashes, and your battery life will likely take a hit. But now that we’re likely very close to the final public release of the OS, the public beta should be closer to the final product, too. If you want to try it out, we still recommend installing it on a spare device if you have one, instead of your main Mac. The safest option is to wait until MacOS Big Sur is released publicly, so you can be confident it won’t harm your machine. 


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How to download and install MacOS Big Sur public beta

If you still want to download the MacOS public beta, follow these steps:

1. Back up your Mac. Even if you’re downloading the beta on an older device, you don’t want to risk losing everything. 

2. On your Mac, go to beta.apple.com.

3. Sign into your Apple ID and select MacOS from the list of programs.

4. Click on Enroll your Mac in the Getting Started section.

5. On the next page, click on the blue button labeled Download the MacOS Public Beta Access Utility.

6. Open the downloaded file and follow the prompts.

7. After the utility is installed, check for a software update using the update tool in System Preferences and then follow the prompts to download and install it. 

Once you restart your computer, you’ll be running on the Big Sur public beta. 

You can also download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 now, too, if you haven’t already.

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