How to Install MacOS Catalina Public Beta
MacOS Catalina public beta is now available for the adventurous to download and install. With MacOS Catalina public beta you’ll be able to try out all the interesting new features of macOS 10.15, including Sidecar which allows you to use an iPad as a secondary display, Screen Time for Mac, Activation Lock for Mac, enhancements to Photos, Notes, and Reminders, and much more.
This tutorial will show you how to install MacOS Catalina public beta onto a compatible Mac.
Important: Installing MacOS Catalina 10.15 public beta is not for everyone. Beta system software tends to be buggy, less reliable, prone to crashes, and may experience other problems and issues that could make a computer unusable or provide a less than satisfactory experience. Some apps may not work at all with MacOS Catalina Beta. Therefore while anyone can install MacOS Catalina public beta, it’s generally only appropriate for advanced users, and it’s best to install MacOS Catalina public beta on a separate Mac that is not your primary workstation.
You will need to make sure you have a Mac that is compatible with MacOS Catalina. Generally speaking any Mac that was built after 2012 will support running MacOS Catalina, but if you’re curious you can see a list of MacOS Catalina supported Macs here.
How to Install MacOS Catalina Public Beta
- Back up the Mac with Time Machine, it is critical to backup your computer and data to avoid data loss *
- Go to the Apple beta signup site here and log in with an Apple ID and then go to “Enroll your devices”
- Under the “macOS” section, scroll down and choose “Download the macOS Public Beta Access Utility”
- After the “macOS Public Beta Access Utility” has downloaded, mount the disk image and run the package installer
- Choose to install the macOS public beta profile by proceeding through the installer
- When finished, go to System Preferences > Software Update and find “MacOS Catalina Beta” available to download and choose “Upgrade Now” to begin downloading the macOS Catalina public beta installer (you may need to refresh this preference panel for the update to show up)
- When the download completes, the “Install MacOS Catalina Beta” screen will appear – you can now either quit the installer if you’d like to create a MacOS Catalina public beta USB install drive, or run through the installer to immediately begin installing MacOS Catalina on the current Mac
- If you choose to run through the installer, go through the steps to select the target disk to install MacOS Catalina onto and let the installation complete, it may take a little while. When finished, the Mac will reboot into MacOS Catalina public beta
Remember to be a good beta tester and submit frequent detailed bug reports using the “Feedback Assistant” application! This can not only help to improve MacOS Catalina, but it may even help to shape features and aspects of the OS itself. Therefore you should always report every bug you encounter, but you can also recommend improvements, or even suggest changes, accessibility recommendations, and just let your voice be heard.
Note that if you want to make a bootable MacOS Catalina public beta USB install drive you will need to do that before installing MacOS Catalina. That is because installing MacOS Catalina public beta will automatically delete the installer when it has completed installing, and that installer is necessary to build the USB boot drive.
Dual booting MacOS Catalina public beta with another release like macOS Mojave is possible but is generally not recommended, it is better to install it onto a separate Mac entirely. However, you can choose to install MacOS Catalina Beta onto a separate APFS container volume, which will sit alongside macOS Mojave and share the same drive space. There are many mixed reports of these dual-boot situations causing issues with the Recovery partition however, so do so at your own risk and only after you have created a full backup of the Mac.
If you install MacOS Catalina Beta and decide it’s not suitable for regular use, you can downgrade from MacOS Catalina Beta and revert to a prior stable Mac OS version as long as you created a Time Machine backup before installing Catalina 10.15 beta. The downgrade process involves formatting the drive and then restoring from the prior Time Machine backup.
Apple has said that the final version of MacOS Catalina will be released to the public in the fall of 2019.
* Backing up not only insures data preservation, but it also allows you to downgrade if needed.