How to leave the macOS Big Sur beta program before public release

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How to leave the macOS Big Sur beta
Don't be stuck with buggy beta releases.
Image: Cult of Mac

With the public release of macOS Big Sur right around the corner, it’s a good time to think about leaving the beta program — especially if you’ve been running the new release on your primary machine.

Dropping out ensures you get stable releases and quick fixes as soon as they’re available, and prevents potentially buggy future betas from being installed on your device. We’ll walk you through the process.

Not every macOS update is beta tested before it rolls out to everyone. Some important releases are rolled out quickly to fix what might be serious bugs, and beta testers may miss out on them.

Unless you’re strictly using a Mac for testing, then, it’s a good idea to leave the beta program before Big Sur makes its public debut — and before we see a Gold Master release. We’ll show you how.

How to drop out of the macOS Big Sur beta program

First, ensure you have a recent backup of all the data on your Mac. The chances of anything going wrong here are slim, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Once that’s done, follow these steps:

  1. Open System Preferences on your Mac.
  2. Click Software Update.
  3. Click Details… in the bottom-left of the window.
  4. Click Restore Defaults.

Your Mac is now unenrolled from the beta program. When Big Sur rolls out to all, you will be able to update to the first stable release just like everyone else, and you won’t have to worry about buggy betas.

It’s important to do this before the Big Sur Gold Master appears because the GM is often identical to the first public release. So, if you end up with the GM installed, you could be stuck with it for a while.