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How to install macOS Big Sur beta on your Mac

Ready to test out the new changes and features including a big UI refresh in macOS Big Sur? Follow along for how to install the macOS Big Sur developer beta on your Mac.

Apple unveiled the next major version of its Mac software, macOS Big Sur at WWDC20 as well as making its developer beta available. It comes with a big visual overhaul inspired by iOS, has a new Control Center lots of Safari improvements, as well as modern widgets and notifications.

For now, you’ll need access to an Apple Developer account to install the new software but a public beta for iOS 14, iPadOS 14, macOS Big Sur, watchOS 7 (first time), and tvOS 14 are coming in July.

Keep in mind it’s generally a bad idea to run a developer beta on your primary Mac since there are performance issues and other bugs to be worked out. If you don’t have an Apple Developer account yet, you can sign up here.

Mac: How to install the macOS Big Sur developer beta

  1. Creating a fresh backup of your Mac is important just in case you have issues and want to downgrade and need to restore
  2. On your Mac, head to Apple’s Developer website
  3. Sign in if you’re not already by clicking Account (top right corner)
  4. On the left-hand sidebar, click Downloads
  5. The macOS Big Sur beta is at the top, click Install Profile
  6. Choose Allow to download the profile
  7. Head to your Downloads folder
  8. Double-click the macOSDeveloperBetaAccessUtility.pkg
  9. Follow the prompts to install the beta profile on your Mac
  10. The Software Update section of System Preferences should pop up
  11. The macOS Big Sur update should be available, click Upgrade Now

Note: Even though Apple is using macOS 11 as the marketing name, the first Big Sur beta in labeled as macOS 10.16.

Here’s how the process looks:

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Now click “Allow” and open the beta.dmg and then the .pkg file.

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Now follow the prompts to download macOS Big Sur on your Mac.

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The macOS Big Sur beta is almost 10GB in size so it may take a while to download. When that’s done, you’ll see a dialog box to complete the installation.

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While your mileage may vary, some have experienced a rebooting issue when installing Big Sur.

What features and changes are you most looking forward to with the new software? Share your thoughts down in the comments!

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