As soon as the macOS Catalina beta goes public, it is open to anyone willing to take a risk on dealing with the unfinished product. Before you get started, you should make sure your Mac is ready for the download and installation process.

If you're wondering what macOS Catalina is all about, check out our FAQ:

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac (sadly, no public beta for the Apple Watch). 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.

What to know before you start: Is my Mac eligible for macOS Catalina?

The macOS Catalina beta will run on the following devices:

  • MacBook (2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (2012 or newer)
  • Mac mini (2012 or newer)
  • iMac (2012 or newer)
  • iMac Pro (2017 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (2013 or newer)

Step 1: Clean up your Mac

Make sure your Mac isn't overstuffed with unnecessary extra files. Thanks to Optimized storage in macOS, you can quickly clean up your Mac with just a few steps.

Step 2: back up your Mac

Seriously. Back it up. Even if you have scheduled backups every night, just push a manual backup before you get started. It's the right thing to do. The easiest way to back up your Mac is with Time Machine, but there are plenty of other ways you can back it up that work just as well.

Step 3: Decide how you are going to download the macOS Catalina public beta

You can download and install the macOS Catalina public beta directly onto your computer if you have a spare lying around that you don't use as your daily driver. If you don't have a spare, but still want to test the new operating system, you can partition your hard drive and boot it on the partitioned drive.

You can also download the public beta onto a thumb drive so that you can install it on multiple computers without having to re-download each time.

Step 4: Download the macOS Catalina public beta

Your Mac is ready to go. Now all you have to do is download and install the macOS Catalina public beta once Apple launches it.

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