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Here’s How Long the macOS Monterey Update Takes

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Apple’s macOS Monterey update is a large upgrade and it could take quite a bit of time to install on your Mac.

macOS Monterey is finally out of beta and the software is available to download right now if you own a compatible Mac model. macOS Monterey is compatible with most models that run macOS Big Sur, but it does drop support for some older devices.

As expected, the new software brings a long list of changes to the Mac including upgrades to Safari, Messages, Maps, Privacy, and a whole lot more.

If you’re moving your Mac from macOS Big Sur to macOS Monterey, you get the shortest list of changes and the “smallest” download size. The macOS Monterey update is large download for users currently running the latest version of macOS Big Sur.

If you’re upgrading from an older version of macOS, your macOS Monterey download could be a lot larger. The installation could also take a lot longer.

While some of you might want to skip the macOS Monterey download for the time being, most people should install the software right now or at some point in the near future.

If you decide to install macOS Monterey on your Mac, you’ll want to set aside some time to get the upgrade properly installed on your computer.

Moving your device from one version of macOS to another can cause problems so you’ll want to monitor the download and installation.

We can’t tell you exactly how long the macOS Monterey installation process will take because it will vary. That said, we can help you approximate how much time you should set aside should you choose to install the firmware on your device.

If you’ve prepared for the move, and you’re on a fast Wi-Fi connection, it should take less than an hour to complete.

TaskTime
Backup to Time Machine (Optional)5 Minutes - 1 Day
macOS Monterey Download15 Minutes to Hour+
macOS Monterey Installation15 Minutes to 25 Minutes
Total macOS Monterey Update Time35 Minutes to Several Hours

Pre-Installation

Make sure you’re prepared before you start the macOS Monterey download.

If you don’t know how to properly prepare for a macOS upgrade, take a look at our pre-installation guide. It’ll walk you through the most important steps to take before you initiate the process.

You might be able to get through these steps in 30 minutes, but it all depends on your skill level and the current state of your Mac.

If you haven’t backed up your data in awhile or you if you aren’t familiar with macOS Monterey, the pre-installation process could take you a lot longer.

You don’t need to follow every single step in the guide, but at the very least you’ll want to make sure your Mac’s data is backed up properly.

macOS Monterey Download

Once you’ve prepared, it’s time to start the download process.

Again, the exact size of your macOS Monterey download will depend on your model and the version of macOS it’s currently running.

If you’re on newer software like macOS Big Sur, you’ll see the smallest download size. If you’re running an older version of macOS, your download could, again, be much larger.

If you’re on a fast Wi-Fi network, and you’re moving up from macOS Big Sur, the download could finish up in as little as 15 minutes.

If your connection is slower, you’re downloading at peak hours, or if you’re jumping up from much older software, you might be looking at a much longer download process.

macOS Monterey Installation

Once your device is done pulling macOS Monterey from Apple’s servers, the installation process will begin.

If you’re moving up from macOS Big Sur, your installation could take 15-20 minutes to complete. It took right around 15 minutes to install the software on a 2017 MacBook Pro.

Your Mac might reboot itself a couple of times during the installation process, but this is perfectly normal. Your device should boot up normally once the installation process completes.

Post-Installation

After the installation finishes up, you might need to spend time logging into iCloud, signing into your device’s various apps and services, and/or setting up Apple Pay.

You also might want to spend some time checking your important data (photos, music, etc) to make sure it carried over properly to the new operating system.

After you do that, make sure you test your core applications and services to ensure they’re working normally. If you notice an issue with one or more of your apps, try downloading the latest version. Developers are rolling out macOS Monterey support updates.

You’ll also want to poke around your Mac for bugs and performance issues. If you notice something take a look at our list of fixes for common macOS Monterey problems.

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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