macOS Sierra, the next generation of Mac software, is now available as a public beta.
Update October 19, 2016: Apple has just released macOS Sierra 10.12.1 public beta 5 for members of the Beta Software Program. If you already have the macOS Sierra public beta installed, head to Mac App Store > Updates and download away. If you've been waiting for beta 5 to get in on the macOS 10.12.1 public beta, keep reading and we'll walk you through the set up!
Apple has been offering public betas for OS X for a couple of years now as a way for those interested in testing out the upcoming software on their Macs, and providing feedback. If that's you, you'll need to sign up, enroll your Mac, download macOS Sierra, and install it. It's not an overly complicated process, but we're here to walk you through it and, if you need it, a place to get extra help.
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.
Note: This guide is being updated in real time. If you are seeing old content, refresh the page or come back later.
- How to make a back up your Mac
- How to register your account for the OS X El Capitan public beta
- How to enroll your Mac in the OS X El Capitan public beta
- How to install the OS X El Capitan public beta
- How to get started with OS X El Capitan public beta
Before joining the public beta, you need to make a backup of your Mac. That way, if something goes wrong, of if you're simply not happy and want to revert to OS X El Capitan, you can go right back to where you started.
Even if you back up every night, you'll want to make double, triple sure you're covered. So make a manual backup now. Here's how to do it with Time Machine. Even if you use something different or additional, like SuperDuper!, make sure you manually start a backup now.
- Click on the Time Machine icon in your Mac Menubar.
- Click on Backup now.
Let the backup finish before proceeding.
Note: If you're not adverse to the Terminal, you can also make a bootable El Capitan installer as way to jumpstart reversion, if needed.
If you've already joined a public beta for OS X in the past, you don't need to register again for macOS Sierra. Simply sign in with the same Apple ID. If you've never joined a public beta before, you'll need to start by signing up with your Apple ID.
- Go to beta.apple.com in Safari on your Mac.
- Click on Sign up to get started. (If you've already signed up for a previous public beta, Click on Sign in and skip to "How to enroll your Mac", below.)
- Enter you Apple ID email address and password.
- Click Sign in.
Once you're signed up and signed in, it's time to start downloading.
Downloading the macOS Sierra public beta is done through the Mac App Store but requires a special code (like a promo or gift code). The code is provided for you on the website, but is also automatically entered for you when you click to begin the process.
- Go to beta.apple.com, if you're not there already.
- Click on the macOS tab, if it's not highlighted already.
- Copy and paste your redeem code somewhere safe, just in case!
- Click on Download the macOS Sierra Public Beta.
- The Mac App Store will open, log in if required.
Your macOS Sierra download should begin automatically. If it doesn't:
- Launch the Mac App Store.
- Click on the Featured tab if you're not there already.
- Click on Redeem in the right sidebar.
- Enter your macOS Sierra code.
The macOS Sierra public beta weighs in at 4.86GB, so the download can take a while depending on the speed of your connection. To track the progress of your download:
- Open Launchpad from the Dock (or by using Spotlight, or with a four-finger pinch gesture.)
- Look for greyed-out Sierra circle.
You can pause and un-pause the download, if you need to, by clicking the icon.
The macOS Sierra installer will automatically open when it's downloaded. If it doesn't, or if you prefer to do it later, you open Install macOS Sierra Public Beta at any time via Spotlight or Launchpad, or from the Application folder in the Finder.
- Launch Install macOS Sierra Public Beta app, if it's not launched already.
- Click Continue at the bottom.
- If prompted to make a backup, and you didn't before, click Continue in the dropdown. If you just made a backup, click Cancel.
- Click Continue at the bottom once your backup completes, or if you skipped it.
- Click Agree to accept the licensing terms.
- Click Agree again to confirm.
- Click on the drive you want to install onto (if you have multiple options; most people won't.)
- Click Install.
- Enter you administrator password and click OK.
- Click Restart (if your Mac doesn't restart automatically, or you don't want to wait).
Once your Mac reboots, it'll be running macOS Sierra. There's a brief bit of setup you'll need to go through, however, as the system will have changed enough that it'll need your login to complete the update.
Once that's done, you'll be ready to rock macOS Sierra.
And, if you ultimately decide macOS isn't for you, you can still revert back to OS X El Capitan.
- FAQ: Apple's beta software
- Should you run beta software?
- iOS 10 public beta: The ultimate guide
- macOS Sierra public beta: The ultimate guide
- iOS 10 developer beta: The ultimate guide
- macOS developer beta: The ultimate guide
- iOS 10: Everything you need to know
- macOS Sierra: Everything you need to know