How to install the public build of macOS over the beta seed

Macos Big Sur Preview Control Center Hero
Macos Big Sur Preview Control Center Hero (Image credit: Rene Ritchie)

It's official: macOS Big Sur will arrive on Thursday, November 12. If you're a beta user and want to install the public build of macOS over the beta seed you've been running, you can easily update with just a few steps. Most of the time, the public build is exactly the same as the beta seed and you'll update automatically. Sometimes, however, Apple pushes out a point-one update to a beta before the public build is available. What do you do if that happens? We've got your guide to how to install the public build of macOS over the beta seed.

Note: Always make sure you have a backup of your data before attempting any upgrades, for safety's sake.

How to opt-out of the beta program

If you've been using the public beta of macOS, you should be able to move to the public release when it launches, just like a regular software update. You'll still receive beta updates for future releases, however. If you want to remain on the public release schedule, or are using the developer beta and want to move to the public release, the first thing you'll need to is opt-out of receiving macOS beta updates.

Note that, if you're on the developer beta, you'll likely want to opt-out of beta updates before downloading and installing the Golden Master, or GM, version that Apple will release right before the public launch of the operating system. It is, usually, the exact same build of macOS that Apple launches to the public, so when your Mac goes to check for an update, it won't find one available if you've already installed the GM.

How to opt out of the macOS beta program

How to install the public build of macOS over a beta version

Once you've opted out of the beta program, it's a simple matter of downloading and installing the new version of macOS.

  1. Open System Preferences from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Click Software Update. Your Mac will now check for a software update.

To update after reinstalling an earlier macOS, open System Preferences, then click on Software Updates. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click Upgrade Now.

To update after reinstalling an earlier macOS, click Update Now. (Image credit: iMore)

If you see the message, "Your Mac is up to date," don't worry. That just means that the beta version and the public build are the same. As long as you've opted out of the beta program, you will continue to stay on the public build update path.

What if the beta version is past the public build?

Sometimes, Apple pushes out a beta update that is a version (or more) past the public build. If you want to jump off of the beta train, just opt out and the next time Apple updates that version's public build, you'll be on the correct path. If you want to downgrade from a higer version of a beta down to the public build, you'll need to downgrade your Mac first. This is why backing up your Mac is so important. Before you do anything, make sure you have a back up. You may need to get an external hard drive for Mac if you are just starting your backup routine.

How to downgrade from a beta on macOS

Any questions?

Do you have any questions about installing the public version of macOS over the beta seed? Put them in the comments and we'll help you out.

Updated November 2020: Updated for macOS Big Sur.

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.