If you are a developer and want to know what to expect in macOS Sierra, here is how to install the developer beta

Update October 19, 2016: Apple has just released macOS Sierra 10.12.1 beta 5 for developers. If you already have the macOS Sierra beta installed, head to Mac App Store > Updates and download away. If you've been waiting for beta 5 to get in on macOS 10.12.1, keep reading and we'll walk you through the setup!

macOS Sierra is coming this fall with plenty of awesome new features that developers can take advantage of in their apps; as such, Apple is releasing early beta software so that developers can make their apps work seamlessly when the full operating system launches to the public.

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS 10, watchOS 3, tvOS 10, and macOS Sierra as closed developer previews or public betas for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. (Sadly, no public betas for the Apple Watch or tvOS.) While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

How to make an archived backup of your Mac with Time Machine

Before you begin, make sure you back up your Mac. The download and installation process is fairly easy, but any time you make significant changes to your computer, you risk problems. When it comes to securing your data, it is definitely better to be safe than sorry. Even if you just backed everything up the night before, make sure your Mac is completely up-to-date.

  1. Connect an external hard disk or Time Capsule with a USB, FireWire, or Thunderbolt cable.
  2. Click on the Apple icon () in the upper left corner of your screen.
  3. Select System Preferences... from the dropdown menu.
  4. Select Time Machine in the System Preferences window.

    Opening Systems Preferences on Mac

  5. Turn the Time Machine slider On.
  6. Click Select Backup Disk and choose the disk you'd like to use.

    Turning on Time Machine on Mac

Time Machine will format the hard drive for backups and start within two minutes.

How to download the macOS Sierra developer beta

Downloading the latest beta on your Mac is as simple as visiting Apple's developer portal.

  1. Visit developer.apple.com on your Mac.
  2. Click on the Develop tab.
  3. Click on the Downloads tab.

    Apple's developer page

  4. Log in with your developer account.
  5. Scroll down and click on the Download button for macOS 10.12 beta 2. This will open up the App Store.
  6. Sign in with your developer account username and password.
  7. Click Redeem to download the beta.

    Redeeming a code in the Mac App Store

    If there is no redeem code in the text field, copy and paste the code from the Downloads page next to macOS Sierra.

    If you receive the message "This code has already been redeemed," go to the Purchased section of the Mac App Store and download the macOS Sierra developer preview from there.

How to install the macOS Sierra developer beta

After macOS Sierra is finished downloading, you will be prompted to install the software automatically.

  1. Click on Continue.
  2. Agree to Apple's Terms and Conditions.
  3. Click on Install.
  4. Follow the instructions to install macOS Sierra.

Your Mac will reboot to install macOS Sierra. You'll see a black screen with the Apple Logo and a progress bar. Grab a cup of coffee while you wait for the software to finish installing.

How to get started with the macOS Sierra developer beta

Once your Mac reboots, you'll be set up with macOS Sierra. You'll have to follow a couple of steps to get started.

  1. Click on Continue.
  2. Sign in with your Apple ID and password. iCloud will sync your desktop and other files.
  3. Click on Get Started.

You'll be directed to your Home screen where you can start digging around to find all of the fun new features.