macOS Big Sur: how to download and install the beta version

This Tuesday, November 10, Apple is expected to unveil new MacBooks running the latest version of MacOS, called Big Sur. These new Macs will likely be powered by Apple's own ARM-based chips for the first time. 

Follow Apple's event live on YouTube from 19 p.m. local time:

MacOS Big Sur was revealed at Apple's annual conference, WWDC, last June. This new operating system presents major updates for the Safari web browser and the Maps and Messages applications. MacOS Big Sur is available now in public beta, and will be released in the final version free to all users in the fall. Note that you will first need to ensure that your Mac is compatible with the new operating system, here is the list of machines eligible for the Big Sur update:

  • MacBook 2015 and newer 
  • MacBook Air 2013 and newer
  • MacBook Pro Late 2013 and newer
  • Mac mini 2014 and newer
  • iMac 2014 and newer
  • iMac Pro 2017 and newer
  • Mac Pro 2013 and newer

To determine the version of your Mac, you will need to click on the  icon in the navigation bar and then select the About this Mac option.

A public beta close to the final version

In general, public betas are still buggy: some apps won't work, there will likely be random reboots and crashes, and your battery life will likely take a hit. But now that we are getting closer to the final public version of the operating system, this fall, the public beta should also be closer to the final product. If you want to give it a try, we still recommend installing it on a spare device if you have one, instead of your primary Mac. The safest option is to wait for macOS Big Sur to be released publicly.

How to Download and Install MacOS Big Sur Public Beta

If you 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

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

4. If you're a new member of Apple's beta program, register your Mac for public beta access. A macOSPublicBetaAccessUtility.pkg file will be offered for download. Install this file.

5. Once the file installation completes validating membership in the beta program, you will be able to download the latest macOS Big Sur public beta. Go to System Preferences, then Software Update. Click Download to get this version.

6. After the macOS public beta download is complete, the installer will start and guide you through the installation process.

7. Once you restart your Mac, you'll be on the Big Sur Open Beta.

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tags: Apple MacBook ARM processors
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