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How to get macOS Mojave beta versions


Developers and members of the Public Beta program are now able to download macOS Mojave, the next version of macOS.

Apple lets developers get their hands on beta versions of its operating system early so that they can make sure that their software works – and so they can use new tools in the next version of the macOS to enhance their own programs ready for launch when the final version of macOS is ready.

The first beta was released following the WWDC Keynote, and the second developer beta was released on 19 June 2018.

It’s not just developers who get an early look in though. Back at WWDC 2015 Apple announced that it was going to let members of the public test the upcoming new version of it’s Mac operating system as part of a new, free beta program. That means that anyone can get their hands on the new version of MacOS before it is released to the general public later in the year. The Public Beta of Mojave is now available for download having been released by Apple on 26 June 2018.

The beta programs will let you download and run betas of the current version of MacOS (High Sierra) as well as versions of the next version of the Mac operating system (Mojave).

Those who register for the MacOS Beta Seed Program will be able to download beta versions of the software, and begin giving feedback to Apple to help the company perfect the update before it’s released to the public in the autumn.

If you want to be a Public beta tester, you can sign up to join the Apple Beta Software Program here. There’s more information on signing up below.

If you are after the beta because you are an Apple Developer this is where you need to go to enrol in the program – here. We have more information on signing up below.

How to sign up to the macOS Beta Seed Program – developer

Registered Apple Developers are able to download pre-release versions of most of Apple’s software too, but it costs $99 (approx £74) per year to register as a developer.

To register as a developer head over to the Apple Developer Program registration page and click Enroll. Registering as an Apple developer will give you access to support materials, and enable you to register Macs and iOS devices with Apple so you can use them to run your software.

You can sign in with your own Apple ID (recommended if you’re a single developer), or you can create an Apple ID just for the developer account (recommended if you are developing for a company).

You don’t have to pay Apple to register as a developer. You can sign up and gain access to all the developer tools without paying a penny. The basic registration is fine for developing and testing an app, although you will need to sign up with Apple for membership if you want to download the developer previews.

How to sign up to the macOS Beta Seed Program – public

If you are a member of the public you can also run the beta – but each version of the beta comes a little later than the developer version. Apple tries to make sure the worst of the issues are ironed out before it goes on wider release. That’s why there was 20 days between the first developer beta and the first public beta being released. You can expect a delay between each version of the developer beta and the matching public beta arriving.

To sign up you’ll need to go to the macOS Beta Seed Program website. From there, you can find out more about the program by clicking Learn More or FAQ.

You must be aged 18 or older with a valid Apple ID, and you’ll also need to be willing to accept the Confidentiality Agreement, which means you agree not to share information or screenshots of the update.

By clicking ‘Get Started’ on the macOS Beta Seed Program website, you’ll be taken to the ‘Sign In’ page. If you don’t already have an Apple ID, you can create one by clicking ‘create one now’ in the grey box on the left. If you do have one, however, you can go ahead and sign in using the password you normally use for your iTunes and other Apple services.

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Next, you’ll be taken to the macOS Beta Seed and Confidentiality Agreement. You’ll need to read the agreement (you can view it as a PDF if you prefer by clicking the link beneath the scroll link) and then click accept. Unless of course you don’t agree with the terms in which case you’ll want to stop the registration process now.

Once you are registered for the Apple Beta Software Program you will need to enrol your Mac here in order to be able to get the updates from the Mac App Store. You will have to re-enrol your Mac if you had previously been a tester.

You will find a download link and your redemption code on that page. Click on the link and enter your code to download the latest beta.

But hang on, there are a few things you should do first, not least be absolutely sure that you want to run the beta…

How to prepare your Mac for the Mojave Beta

Apple gives clear instructions about how to prepare your Mac for the install on the Enroll your Mac page.

First Apple advises users to make a backup of their data and files before installing any beta versions of macOS, stating:

“Always back up your data and files before installing beta versions of OS X. If you have multiple Macs, we recommend installing the Beta on your secondary computer. Backing up files on a Mac is easy with Time Machine, the built-in backup utility in macOS.” 

You can find out how to use Time Machine to back up your Mac here.

You’ll need to have the latest full version of macOS installed and have 2GB or more of memory with 8GB or more of available space.

How to download and the Mojave beta – developer

Here’s how to download and install a beta version of macOS on your Mac.

Before you do anything else, back up your Mac! You would also be wise to read the advice we have below about the risks of using the beta.

If you haven’t yet registered as a developer you need to return to the section above to follow that guide.

  1. Go to developer.apple.com
  2. Click on Develop
  3. Click on Downloads
  4. Log in to your Developer account
  5. Click the Download button beside macOS 10.14
  6. You will find the macOS Mojave Developer Beta Access Utility – macOSDeveloperBetaAccessUtility.dmg – in your Downloads folder, double click it and the installer will run. You need this before you can access the developer betas on the Mac App Store.
  7. The Mac App Store should automatically open in the Updates tab. If it doesn’t, open the Mac App Store and go to Updates
  8. Click on Download and the beta version of Mojave will download and install.
  9. Finally your Mac will restart.
  10. The software has downloaded but you still need to install it. Click Continue.
  11. Agree to the Terms and Conditions.
  12. Click Install.
  13. The wizard will help you install the beta software.
  14. Once it’s finished installing, click on Continue.
  15. Sign in with your Apple ID and password.

How to download and install the Mojave beta – public

Apple made the public beta version of Mojave available on 26 June 2018. The installation process is described below.

NOTE: Since this is beta software it might cause problems with your Mac such as freezes and crashes, plus your apps may stop working. If you want to install it we recommend that you don’t do so on your primary Mac. If your business would suffer if you were unable to use your Mac due to issues caused by the beta don’t install a beta! 

Follow these steps to install the public beta of Mojave:

  1. Before you install the beta make sure you back up your Mac – if you decide to stop using the beta you will need to revert to this backup version.
  2. Go to this Apple webpage to sign up for the beta.
  3. Click on Sign up and sign in using your Apple ID and password
  4. Read and agree to the Apple Beta Software Program Agreement
  5. Choose the macOS tab (if you want to sign up for iOS 12, watchOS and tvOS here you can do that too)
  6. Click on enrol you Mac.
  7. Click on the Download the macOS Public Beta Access Utility button
  8. Open the download in your Downloaded items folder, it’s called macOSPublicBetaAccessUtility.dmg.
  9. Double click on the dmg file and go through the steps to install it, including signing in to the Feeback Assistant.
  10. Once you have downloaded the Beta Access Utility you will be able to download the beta from the Mac App Store.
  11. Click on Download and the public beta version will download and install.
  12. Finally your Mac will restart.
  13. The software has downloaded but you still need to install it. Click Continue.
  14. Agree to the Terms and Conditions.
  15. Click Install.
  16. The wizard will help you install the beta software.
  17. Once it’s finished installing, click on Continue.
  18. Sign in with your Apple ID and password.
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The public beta of High Sierra weighed in at 4.9GB so expect Mojave to take up a similar amount of space.

Once you have the Beta Access Utility installed you will receive a notification when the next update to the beta is available. You can then click update to install those pre-release versions of the software.

Mojave beta versions

Apple released the first beta of Mojave to developers following the WWDC keynote. The second developer beta was released on 19 June. The first Public Beta was released on 26 June.

High Sierra beta versions

macOS 10.13 High Sierra is available to everyone now, but the beta program is still running so if you’d like to try out new High Sierra features before everyone else gets to, you can join the public beta and get a first look at that OS too.

The latest beta version (at the time of writing) is macOS 10.13.6. It was released on 18 June.

You’ll be able to follow the instructions below to obtain High Sierra beta versions.

If you want to download and install High Sierra (read this article). You can also read about the latest version of macOS High Sierra, including the betas here and our review here.

The risks of Apple’s macOS Beta Seed Program

It’s worth noting that participating in Apple’s macOS Beta Seed Program is not a light undertaking, so you should consider whether it’s really right for you before downloading and installing the pre-release software. After all, being pre-release software, it’s bound to have bugs and issues that could cause things to go spectacularly wrong with your Mac, which isn’t helped by the fact that Apple is not obligated to provide any support for pre-release software.

If you only have one Mac, and you’re intending to run the pre-release software on that machine, you might want to reconsider. Apple suggests that you should run the pre-release software on a dedicated Mac, not a Mac that you use for business or production purposes.

Also, remember that installing software can take a good few minutes – if you don’t have time to wait for 20 minutes every few weeks while your Mac installs the latest version (especially if that’s only going to break everything for you) you might find the frustration outweighs the novelty value of having the latest updates.

There’s also the important matter of privacy. By agreeing to test the macOS beta software, you’re essentially giving Apple permission to collect diagnostic, technical and usage data from you, unless you go through the process of opting out.

For example, the first beta version of Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite came with several known issues, including problems in Safari while trying to access Netflix content, iPhoto, Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing problems, iCloud Drive issues and AirDrop issues, so beware.

Early beta versions of macOS High Sierra attempted to use AFPS (Apple’s new file system) on Fusion Drives. This feature was later removed, but those people who had already installed the beta had to perform a complicated uninstall process and revert their Fusion Drives back to the previous file system. Given that Apple has now confirmed that AFPS will be available for Fusion Drives and Hard Drives as part of the Mojave update (finally – more than a year after it was first announced) you might want to think twice about having early versions of it on your Mac if you do have a Fusion Drive or a hard drive in the machine.

The best way to avoid the risks is to partition your Mac and install the MacOS beta on a separate partition and dual-boot into it.

Alternatively, you could run the beta from a separate drive, we show you how here.

If you install the beta and then think you made a mistake, here’s how to remove revert to an older version of MacOS.

What does being an Apple beta tester involve?

The purpose of the beta program is to provide Apple with feedback about the upcoming OS. If you experience bugs or other issues, report them to Apple using the Feedback Assistant app. And don’t just say something crashed, explain exactly what you were doing when the crash happened and try and reproduce the crash to see if you can identify what steps lead to it.

Don’t just tell Apple that you don’t like the ‘flat’ look of the user interface. Your purpose as a beta tester is to provide feedback on bugs, not try and assume Jony Ive’s role.

That said, it won’t always be bugs you need to provide feedback on. Perhaps you can’t work out how to do something and a user interface tweak is required.

You can also provide feedback if third-party apps aren’t working as they should – there is actually a 3rd-party Application Compatibility category in which to submit feedback.

Expect there to be bugs and issues in the beta – the versions of macOS available through the Beta Software Program are not finished products, by installing it you are agreeing to become a tester and helping Apple to iron out these issues.

How to send feedback to Apple

Should you come across an error or a bug you should use the Feedback Assistant app to provide feedback to Apple. Launch the app and follow the appropriate steps, selecting the area about which you’re providing feedback and then any specific sub-area. Then describe your issue in a single sentence, before providing a more detailed description, including any specific steps that reproduce the issue. You’ll also be able to attach other files.

You’ll also have to give permission for the Feedback Assistant app to collect diagnostic information from your Mac.

It won’t always be obvious whether something is a bug or just not as easy to use as you might have hoped. Either way, if your feedback is that something appears to work in an illogical way, Apple will want to know that.

If you are having trouble with a third party app you can let Apple know by reporting it through the 3rd-party Application Compatibility category in the Feedback Assistant. However, we’d suggest that you also provide feedback to the app’s developer who will no doubt be grateful.

Public vs developer preview – what’s the difference?

The public beta is not the same as the beta being released through the developer program. it is likely that developers will receive more frequent updates including new features not in the public beta. 

Will I be able to update from macOS beta to the final version?

Beta users will be able to install the final build of the OS on release day without needing to reformat or reinstall.

Can I talk about the beta publicly?

According to Apple and the license agreement all beta testers must agree to, the beta is “Apple confidential information.” By accepting those terms, you agree not to discuss your use of the software with anyone who isn’t also in the Beta Software Program. That means you can’t “blog, post screenshots, tweet, or publicly post information about the public beta software.”

However, you can discuss any information that Apple has publicly disclosed; the company says that information is no longer considered confidential.

How to downgrade from macOS beta

You can always revert to an earlier version of macOS, though depending on how you back up, it’s not necessarily a painless process.

Start by making sure the data on your drive is backed up, then erase the drive and install the latest public version of macOS. When you first startup your Mac you can use the Migration Assistant to import your data from the backup. Here’s a more detailed tutorial on reinstalling.

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