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9 Things to Do Before Installing macOS Monterey

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Installing Apple’s new macOS Monterey update might be tempting, but there are some steps you should take before moving your Mac from macOS Big Sur, macOS Catalina, or older software to the company’s latest operating system.

After a lengthy stint in beta, macOS Monterey is finally available to download. macOS Monterey is compatible with most models that run macOS Big Sur, but it does drop support for some older devices.

macOS Monterey brings a lengthy list of changes to Mac users. The list includes upgrades to Safari, Messages, Maps, Privacy, and a whole lot more.

If you’re moving up from the latest version of macOS Big Sur you’ll get the shortest change log and the smallest download. If you’re moving to macOS Monterey from older software, your upgrade could be far more substantial.

macOS Monterey is an important update and many of you should install it in the near future. That being said, it’s difficult to predict how the new software will impact your Mac’s performance.

While some of you could see a boost, others will run into frustrating bugs and performance issues. And that’s precisely why it’s important to do some prep work before you start the installation. A little work ahead of time could help you avoid serious problems.

With that in mind, we want to help you prepare for the transition from your current version of macOS to macOS Monterey. We always recommend spending 30 minutes, or more, preparing yourself and your device for the move.

Learn About macOS Monterey

Make sure you get familiar with macOS Monterey’s changes before you install it. This way, you aren’t caught off-guard by the changes on board.

If you decided not to install the macOS Monterey beta or you haven’t been following along, now would be a good time to dig into the changes on board the new operating system.

The software is chock full of changes and some of these changes might impact the applications and services you use the most on your computer.

We’ve released a guide that will walk you through some of the more notable changes on board. You should also check out Apple’s guide to macOS Monterey over on its website.

Decide If You’re Upgrading or Doing a Clean Install

There are two ways to install macOS Monterey on your Mac. You can update and keep everything in place, or you can do a clean install if you want to start from scratch.

The update option is the easiest route and it’s the one most Mac users should take. This keeps all your files, apps and photos in place and takes the least amount of time.

Of course, it can also bring along problems and it also keeps the clutter. If you don’t regularly remove unneeded files from your Mac, a clean install can wipe your drive clean and free up space. It will only install the apps and files you need.

You can do a clean installation using this guide. Before you do, make sure you back up all your important files.

Backup Your Mac

Make sure you backup your Mac before you install the macOS Monterey update.

Before you click install, make sure your important files are backed up to the cloud. We also recommend having a local Time Machine Backup handy.

If you run into problems with the macOS Monterey installation, you can restore from a backup and be up and running on macOS Big Sur pretty quickly.

From there, you can try installing macOS Monterey again or try and troubleshoot the issue.

Make Sure You Know Your Passwords

Make sure you have all of your passwords handy before you install macOS Monterey on your Mac.

When you restart your Mac after installing macOS Monterey, you will need to log in to your computer and you may need to log into your Apple account as well as your apps and services.

We recommend using a password manager like LastPass, 1Password or even Apple’s built-in manager to store this information for you.

If you don’t want to use these, make sure you test logging into your Apple account and your email.

Dig Into macOS Monterey Feedback

If you’re feeling leery about the move to macOS Monterey, you should dig through feedback from early adopters.

Again, there’s a chance you encounter bugs and/or performance issues on your Mac after moving to Apple’s new operating system.

Big updates like macOS Monterey often hits older Mac models the hardest so if you own an older Mac model, and you’re concerned about the jump up from your current macOS software, you’ll want to track down feedback from those who have taken the plunge.

This feedback will alert you to potential bugs and problems. You also might learn about potential benefits of Apple’s new operating system.

You’ll want to poke around on Apple’s discussion forums, YouTube, and social media sites like Twitter for feedback from macOS Monterey users.

Some of you might want to wait for long-term feedback to emerge before committing. And others might even want to wait for Apple to roll out the next batch of bug fixes for macOS Monterey problems.

Prepare for macOS Monterey Problems

macOS Monterey went through an extensive beta testing period, but problems have unsurprisingly slipped through the cracks into the final version.

As we push away from the release we’re already hearing about a number of different issues ranging from installation problems to issues with first and third-party apps.

If you don’t have an encyclopedia of fixes for macOS issues stored inside your head, you’ll want to track down and bookmark fixes for potential problems.

To help you get started, have a look at our list of fixes for the most common macOS Monterey problems. We’ve also released a guide that will help you fix macOS Monterey battery life issues.

Check App Reviews, Compatibility and Install Updates

If you rely on your apps to get you through the day, you might want to read app reviews before you install macOS Monterey on your computer(s).

App developers are rolling out macOS Monterey support updates. These updates will be crucial to your experience on the new operating system.

Before you install macOS Monterey, you’ll want to head to the App Store and read reviews from users. If reviews are mostly positive, go ahead and install the latest update(s).

If the feedback is negative, you might want to wait for a new version of macOS Monterey or for the developer to update the app before moving your device to the latest software.

Talk to IT Before Installing

If you use your Mac for work you might want to check with your IT team (if you have one) and make sure you’re got the green light to install macOS Monterey.

Enterprise problems plague every single version of macOS and they can be particularly nasty after Apple releases a new operating system.

If you depend on your device to get work done, it’s important to get in touch with IT to see if the update is safe to use. If you’ve got an IT department, they should be able to provide you with feedback about the core apps and services you use.

If you don’t have an IT department or a tech on site, you might want to ask around the office or talk to friends who use the same services and see how they’re doing on the operating system.

Learn About the Downgrade Process

You should familiarize yourself with the downgrade process before you download macOS Monterey.

If you run into problems, apps that don’t work, battery life issues, or just don’t like the new update, you can downgrade to macOS Big Sur or an older version of macOS. It’s a lot easier than downgrading iOS and there’s no limit to how far back you can go.

The easiest way to do this is to restore a Time Machine Backup that you made right before installing the macOS Monterey update. If you made a backup, this will help get your Mac running on an older version of macOS very quickly.

Here’s more on how to downgrade macOS software to an older version.

4 Reasons Not to Install macOS Monterey & 11 Reasons You Should

Install macOS Monterey for Better Security

Install macOS Monterey for Better Security

If security is important to you, think about installing the macOS Monterey update right away.

macOS Big Sur brings 30+ new security patches to your Mac. If you're interested in the exact nature of these improvements, you can read about them over on Apple's website.

In addition to those patches, the macOS Monterey update comes with additional security and privacy upgrades.

If you're an Apple Card user, you'll now get a security code that changes regularly to use when you make online transactions. 

Apple's also included a built-in authenticator that's similar to Google Authenticator. This will let you generate verification codes for enhanced sign-in security under your Passwords.

New Mail Privacy Protection helps prevent senders from tracking your Mail activity and there's a new recording indicator in Control Center for apps that are accessing your mic.

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