How to download macOS Catalina public beta 4 to your Mac

Apple has been offering public betas for macOS for a few 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 the macOS Catalina beta (version 10.15), 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, iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas (opens in new tab). 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.

What's new in the macOS Catalina public beta?

August 1, 2019: Apple releases macOS Catalina public beta 4 to testers

Apple has released macOS Catalina public beta 4 for members of the Beta Software Program. If you already have the macOS public beta installed, head to System Preferences > Software Updates and download away. If you've been waiting for macOS Catalina to get started with macOS testing, now's the time to grab it!

July 18, 2019: Apple releases macOS Catalina public beta 3 to testers

Apple has released macOS Catalina public beta 3 for members of the Beta Software Program. If you already have the macOS public beta installed, head to System Preferences > Software Updates and download away. If you've been waiting for macOS Catalina to get started with macOS testing, now's the time to grab it!

July 3, 2019: Apple releases macOS Catalina public beta 2 to testers

Apple has released macOS Catalina public beta 2 for members of the Beta Software Program. If you already have the macOS public beta installed, head to System Preferences > Software Updates and download away. If you've been waiting for macOS Catalina to get started with macOS testing, now's the time to grab it!

June 24, 2019: Apple releases macOS Catalina public beta 1 to testers

Apple has released macOS Catalina public beta 1 for members of the Beta Software Program. If you already have the macOS public beta installed, head to System Preferences > Software Updates and download away. If you've been waiting for macOS Catalina to get started with macOS testing, now's the time to grab it!

How to make a back up of your Mac

Before joining the public beta, you need to make a backup of your Mac. That way, if something goes wrong, or if you're simply not happy and want to revert to macOS Mojave, 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.

  1. Click on the Time Machine icon in your Mac Menubar.
  2. Click on Backup now.

Let the backup finish before proceeding.

Note: If you're not averse to the Terminal, you can also make a bootable macOS Mojave installer as a way to jumpstart reversion, if needed.

How to register your account for the macOS Catalina public beta

If you've already joined a public beta for macOS in the past, you don't need to register again for macOS Catalina. 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.

  1. Go to beta.apple.com (opens in new tab) in Safari on your Mac.
  2. 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.)
  3. Enter you Apple ID email address and password.
  4. Click Sign in.

Once you're signed up and signed in, it's time to start downloading.

How to enroll your Mac in the macOS Catalina public beta

Downloading the macOS Catalina public beta is done through System Preferences in the Software Updates.

  1. Go to beta.apple.com (opens in new tab), if you're not there already.
  2. Click on the macOS tab, if it's not highlighted already.
  3. Click the Download macOS Public Beta Access Utility button.
  4. Open the file from your Downloads window.
  5. Double-click the package to run the installer.

When the installer is finished downloading, System Preferences will automatically open to the Software Updates section. Click Update to download and install the public beta software. After the software has been downloaded, your Mac will automatically restart.

If the latest public beta does not appear on the Updates list, restart your Mac. Then, open System Preferences and click the Software Updates pane.

The public beta update can take a long time to finish downloading, depending on the size. You can check the status in the Software Updates preference pane of System Preferences.

How to install the macOS Catalina public beta

The macOS public beta installer will automatically open when it's downloaded. If it doesn't, or if you prefer to do it later, you open Install macOS Public Beta at any time via Spotlight or Launchpad, or from the Application folder in the Finder.

  1. Launch Install macOS Public Beta app, if it's not launched already.
  2. Click Continue at the bottom.

How to install macOS Sierra public beta

  1. If prompted to make a backup, and you didn't before, click Continue in the drop-down. If you just made a backup, click Cancel.
  2. Click Continue at the bottom once your backup completes, or if you skipped it.
  3. Click Agree to accept the licensing terms.
  4. Click Agree again to confirm.

How to install macOS Sierra public beta

  1. Click on the drive you want to install onto (if you have multiple options; most people won't.)
  2. Click Install.
  3. Enter you administrator password and click OK.
  4. Click Restart (if your Mac doesn't restart automatically, or you don't want to wait).

How to install macOS Sierra public beta

Once your Mac reboots, it'll be running the macOS public beta. 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 Catalina.

How to update to a new version of the macOS Catalina public beta

Downloading software updates has changed since macOS Mojave, and updating your Mac is no longer done through the Mac App Store.

  1. Open System Preferences from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Click Software Update.

  1. Click Update Now if there is an update available for your Mac.
  2. Click the checkbox next to Automatically keep my Mac up to date if you want your Mac to automatically download and install software updates in the future.

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

10 Comments
  • I am unable to get the update. I followed the steps, but when I open Software Update it says I am up to date with Mojave 10.14.6. The left panel does say that I am enrolled in the beta program. I've restarted several times with no luck. Anyone else having this issue?
  • Try running:
    softwareupdate -ia In the Terminal application, see if that finds it
  • No, same result. Thank you for giving me something to try though.
  • Only think I can think of trying is to remove yourself from the beta program and re-enroll, probably restart your computer as well if you haven't done that in a while
  • I have the same problem. None of the solutions listed here have worked for me, either.
  • Yeah, me too. I’m not sure what is going on. Pretty frustrating. I spent some time chatting with Apple tech support both at the store and online, but they are not supposed to engage on beta stuff, so no luck.
  • Same problem as everyone here. Beta not showing up in download. Strangely enough it was there when Apple first released it but I decided not to download and install until a few more versions had been released. Now no sign of it. Tried all the suggested fix’s but to no avail.
  • Running into the same issue as others, I followed the steps, unfortunately Software Update tells me I'm up to date with Mojave. Also as the others, the left panel says I am in the beta program. Have also restarted, no luck. Any ideas what might be wrong? Thanks. Gregoire
  • I have the same problem. Having been a Mac user since OS X Puma and a beta user for many years I assumed that I could solve any issue. Nope. I installed Catalina PB1 when it first came out in June (with all those lovely problems in Time Machine, iCloud sync and Photos/sleep). All backups from 2 July backwards have been wiped and Catalina won't recognise any new beta upgrade since PB1. I've tried everything to upgrade to PB2, 3 & 4 but have got nowhere. iCloud syncs between my Macs is a mess and I'm really worried Time Machine will corrupt all my home files. Apple's betas have always been first rate. Other than a few dodgy updates in 2008 and that leather-bound diary nonsense in 2012 I've never had a reason to complain. This time is very different. Any thoughts anyone?
  • Same issue as others. enrolled device, says "The requested version of software is not available" or something. FYI enrolled in iOS 13 beta on iPhone XS Max today as well and it worked great.