Here’s how to download Apple’s new MacOS Catalina update

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

If you’re eager to try out some of the new features that Apple has planned for its next major MacOS update, known as Catalina, you can now download it from Apple’s developer program. The public beta will launch in July and will likely be more stable and worth waiting for, but if you like your operating system cutting edge and are a little persnickety, then you can dive in before then.

If you want to learn more about MacOS Catalina first, you can read all about new features like Sidecar and Project Catalyst, here.

Step 1: Join the developer program

If you’re not already, you need to be a member of Apple’s Developer Program. That not only gives you access to the latest beta operating system releases for iOS, MacOS, WatchOS, and TVOS, but developer tools, advanced capabilities in certain apps, great access to Apple technical support, and the option of distributing your own apps.

The only downside is that you do need to pay for the privilege. It’s $100 on an annual basis. If that’s something you’re willing to pay, you can learn more on the enrollment page.

Step 2: Backup your Mac

If you have anything important on your Mac, we’d recommend backing it up to an external drive or cloud storage service. Updating to a new and somewhat unstable version of MacOS carries with it some risk of running into problems during the installation process. If you’ve backed everything up beforehand, then reverting to the old install is quick and easy.

If you need help backing up your Mac, follow these step by step instructions.

Step 3: Download and install MacOS Catalina

If you’ve made sure you’ve backed everything up and you’re fully enrolled in the developer program, it’s time to actually download and install MacOS 10.15 Catalina. Head through to the developer website and select the blue Download button. Sign in with your Apple ID and then scroll through the list of potential downloads until you find MacOS 10.15 Catalina Beta 1.

Select the Download link next to it to begin the download.

Once it’s downloaded, open the MacOSDeveloperBetaAccessUtility.pkg and follow the onscreen instructions. The update utility will then grab Catalina from Apple servers. Once fully downloaded, it will prompt you to start the update. If you want to perform it on your main drive (only recommended if you’ve fully backed it up first) then follow the on-screen instructions and when prompted, select Install to begin.

If you’d rather install the new update to a different partition, when given the option, select Show all disks, and then choose the partition you want to install it on before continuing.

Note: If you’re installing this on a MacBook, we’d recommend plugging in the power cord if you haven’t already. You don’t want a dead battery to interrupt your install.

Once the install is finished, you’ll have a new MacOS Catalina installation that you can use to your heart’s content.

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