MacOS Big Sur download: Here’s how to try Apple’s new operating system early
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MacOS Big Sur is now available to download in developer beta.


Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET

This story is part of WWDC 2020. All the latest coverage from Apple’s WWDC annual developers conference.

At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference last month, Apple executives unveiled the latest version of MacOS, called Big Sur. The newly designed operating system will include major updates to the Safari web browser, and refreshed Maps and Messages apps. 

MacOS Big Sur is available now as a developer beta, and will be available as a public beta at some point this month. It’ll become generally available as a free software update for all users in the fall. Note that you’ll need to make sure your Mac is compatible with the new OS first. 

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Just a reminder: These instructions are for downloading an early MacOS preview for developers. That means you’ll need to sign up for an Apple developer account, which costs $99 per year. 

And even after you install the developer beta, you can expect it to be buggy — some apps won’t work, there will probably be some random restarts and crashes, and your battery life will likely take a hit. If you still want to try it out, you shouldn’t install the developer beta on your main Mac. Instead, use a spare compatible device if you have one. Otherwise, wait until at least the first public beta is available. Though really, you should wait even longer — the closer to the official release date in the fall, the more stable the OS will be, and less likely to harm your machine.


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How to download and install MacOS Big Sur

If you still want to download the MacOS developer beta, follow these steps:

1. Back up your Mac. Even if you’re downloading the beta on an older device, you don’t want to risk losing everything. 

2. On your Mac, go to https://developer.apple.com.

3. Click the Discover tab at the top left, and then click the MacOS tab at the top of the next page.

4. Click Download at the top right of the screen.

5. Sign in to your Apple developer account. 

6. Toward the bottom of the page, click the Install Profile button for MacOS Big Sur to start the file download. 

7. Open your Downloads window, and click MacOS Big Sur Developer Beta Access Utility. Double-click macOSDeveloperBetaAccessUtility.pkg to run the installer. 

8. When the installer downloads, System Preferences will check for an update to MacOS. Click Update to download and install the beta OS.

Once you restart your computer, you’ll be running on the Big Sur developer beta. 

You can also download the developer beta versions of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 now, too.

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