How to Install the macOS 10.15 Catalina Public Beta

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You live the risky life, so I'm not surprised to learn you want to try the macOS 10.15 Catalina beta. Just released into the public beta stage (ahead of its expected July release), all you need to try macOS Catalina now — aside from a willingness to suffer a potentially bumpy, buggy experience — is an Apple account.

Catalina Beta Cover

Now that you no longer need to plunk down $100 to enlist in the Apple Developer Program to get the beta, it's time to get a heads start on the roadtrip to macOS Catalina. The big features you'll want to test in this new version are Sidecar (which turns your iPad into a Pencil-friendly extension of your Mac),  Music on macOS (which replaces iTunes) and the new Photos app.

You may need macOS 10.15 in order to get Apple's other betas. On June 3, the fine print for iOS and iPadOS only said "Install via iTunes," but as of June 4, that text now reads "Installation requires macOS 10.15 beta or Xcode 11 beta. Install via iTunes." That may leave you scratching your head, because Apple killed iTunes off in iOS 10.15. Fortunately, the tools you need for installing iOS and iPadOS developer betas are found in Finder in macOS 10.15. Just click on the device in the left menu in Finder, after plugging in your iPhone or iPad.

During the installation, get ready for warnings about the 32-bit apps installed on your laptop that won't work in macOS 10.15. After you install Catalina, you'll see messages about Screen Time and other new features. On July 3, Apple released macOS 15 Public Beta 2, which will hopefully provide better performance, but nobody's saying it's ready for your production machine yet. 

How to install the macOS 10.15 Catalina Public Beta

0. Back up your Mac. Yes, before you even think about putting a beta version of macOS on it, you need to protect your data. Make a Time Machine backup if you think you'll want to restore the current macOS version you're currently on. 

1. Go to beta.apple.com (which is currently down, and should be up soon) and click Sign In in the top.

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2. Sign in with your Apple account.

3. Follow the instructions under the macOS section.

You'll now download a beta profile for your system that you'll want to install, to enable beta downloads. After that, and some restarts, you'll be on Catalina.

How to Install the macOS 10.15 Catalina Developer Beta

Author Bio
Henry T. Casey
Henry T. Casey,
Henry is a senior writer at Laptop Mag, covering security, Apple and operating systems. Prior to joining Laptop Mag — where he's the self-described Rare Oreo Expert — he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. You can find him at your local pro wrestling events, and wondering why Apple decided to ditch its MagSafe power adapters.
Henry T. Casey, on