Anyone can put the macOS Monterey beta on their Mac — it’s no longer reserved for developers. Apple added the pre-release version to its public beta program on Thursday.
Installing it is free, and not too difficult. Here’s how begin playing with macOS Monterey yourself.
Before you start: Be cautious
macOS 12 Monterey brings Shortcuts, Live Text, Focus mode, Universal Control and lots more. But it’s not as big a change as Big Sur was last year. Think hard about whether the changes are important enough for you to put a buggy public beta on your Mac. The full release is months away, there are known problems with the current version.
Especially if you’re using an Intel-based Mac, as some macOS Monterey features are only for M-series Macs.
Back up your Mac
Before you take the next step, back up your Mac. It’s entirely possible some flaw in the beta will corrupt your files. But that won‘t be a crisis if you have a backup.
Use Time Machine, the backup utility that’s built into macOS. You’ll need an external storage device, but the app makes the process easy.
Get access to the macOS Monterey public beta
To download the upcoming macOS version on your Mac today, you’ll need to join the Apple Beta Software Program on Apple’s website. It’s free, unlike the version for developers.
Once you’ve signed in, you’ll be taken to the Guide for Public Betas. Choose macOS from the list of Apple operating systems shown in the middle of the page. Then, at the top of the page, click on Enroll Your Devices.
On the resulting page, scroll down and click on Download the macOS Public Beta Access Utility. Then follow the app’s onscreen instructions to enroll your Mac in the beta program.
After you’re enrolled, head to your Mac’s System Preferences > Software Update to download and install the macOS Monterey public beta. Be patient, sometimes it takes a bit for your Mac to be notified you joined the Apple Beta Software Program and give you access. And then the download is big — it could take a while.
When it’s available, the installer will walk you through the process.
And that’s it. You’re one of the few who’re brave enough (or foolhardy enough) to put beta software on your Mac.
Apple will periodically release new betas. You’ll get notifications from Software Update when these are available.