A few years back, Apple decided to open up its beta program to the public. This is different than a developer beta, in that it's usually much more stable, though most of the features are pretty much the same across both the developer and public betas. You can register your Mac for the pubic beta and install it on your device. I highly recommend you don't install it on your daily driver, or at least partition your Mac so you can install it on a secondary section of your hard drive. That way, if something goes wrong, you're not stuck with a non-working Mac. Here's what you need to know about how to prepare your Mac for the big update, how to install the public beta, and how to downgrade if you change your mind.
- How to prepare your Mac for the macOS Catalina public beta
- How to install the macOS Catalina public beta
- macOS Catalina First Look
- macOS Catalina: Everything you need to know!
- How to send macOS Catalina public beta feedback
- How to downgrade from macOS Catalina to macOS Mojave
- How to update from a macOS beta to the official release
How to prepare your Mac for the macOS Catalina public beta
Before you download and install the macOS Catalina public beta, you should make sure your Mac is ready for the big push. Are you going to partition your Mac? Will you use a bootable installer drive? You're questions are answered here.
How to install the macOS High Catalina public beta
For a few years now, Apple has opened up its beta program to the pubic. If you're willing to give it a try and test out the public beta to help Apple troubleshoot any issues found in the wild, you can sign up for the public beta and send your feedback on what needs to be addressed before the operating system goes pubic.
macOS Catalina First Look
macOS Catalina may be the biggest update for the Mac operating system since OSX. With Catalyst paving the way for developers to bring their iPad apps to Mac, awesome new accessibility features like Voice Control, deeper security features, Sidecar for built-in second screen support for iOS and iPadOS, and a whole lot more, there's a lot to look forward to when the final build launches this fall. Though Catalina is still in its beta stage, iMore's resident Apple analyst and the host of Vector, Rene Ritchie, has our hands-on first look.
macOS Catalina: Everything you need to know!
macOS Catalina officially launches this fall, but we've already been playing with the new features and have some detailed information about what's new and what's changing in the Mac operating system when the public build of Catalina launches.
How to send macOS Catalina public beta feedback
If you're agreeing to participate in the macOS Catalina pubic beta preview, you're agreeing to let Apple know when something is wrong, and not just complain about it on your sosh meeds. With the Feedback Assistant installed right on your Mac, you can tell Apple when something is wrong so they can fix it before Catalina goes live for the public.
How to downgrade from macOS Catalina to macOS Mojave
Public betas are intended for testing purposes. That means they may not necessarily be stable enough for you. If you decide that beta testing is too risky for you and you want to downgrade back to macOS Mojave and wait for the public build to officially launch, you can do so as long as you've prepared for it ahead of time.
How to update from a macOS beta to the official release
Once the time comes for Catalina to release to the public, you can update from your Mac's settings under System Preferences > Software Updates.
You also don't have to continue the public beta program. Instead, you can opt out of future updates fairly easily.
Some things you may need for the public beta of macOS
Samsung T5 SSD (From $85 at Amazon)
Samsung's T5 SSD has super fast transfer rates with write speeds up to 540MB/s, which is great for backing up your Mac before installing a beta.
Belkin Thunderbolt 3 cable ($30 at Amazon)
For up to four times transfer speed, make sure you're using a Thunderbolt 3 cable. Belkin's brand supports up to 100W power delivery and measures 1.6-feet long for a little extra length.
SanDisk Dual Drive (From $25 at Apple)
If you want to make a bootable installer of a new macOS or just want to preserve an older macOS in case you want to downgrade, SanDisk's Dual drive is perfect. It has a reversible USB-C and USB-A connector, too!
Other questions about the macOS Catalina public beta?
Put your questions in the comments section below or head over to the macOS Catalina forums to chat with one of our fantastic moderators.
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