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5 Things to Know about the macOS Catalina Beta

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The macOS Catalina update is coming this fall, but don’t have to wait that long to try it out on your Mac. Apple announced two macOS Catalina beta programs in early June. The first is a developer beta and now there is a public macOS Catalina beta.

With the macOS 10.15 beta you can try out the new macOS Catalina features for yourself, test them with your processes at work and see how it handles on your Mac.

This is what you need to know about both of these beta programs. If you join the public Apple Beta program, you can test out macOS, iPadOS and iOS 13.

Here’s the important information that you need to know about the macOS Catalina beta, including when it arrives and what you need to know about the other key details.

macOS Catalina Beta Release Date

Here's when the macOS 10.15 beta arrives.

Here’s when the macOS 10.15 beta arrives.

The macOS Catalina beta release date takes place on two dates. The developer macOS 10.15 beta arrived in early June and the public macOS Catalina beta release date landed today June 24th.

Apple typically releases the update around 10 AM Pacific, 1 PM Eastern. For both of the versions of the beta you can expect to see multiple updates arrive over the next few months.

macOS Catalina Beta Devices

What devices can run macOS 10.15?

What devices can run macOS 10.15?

To test out the update early with the macOS Catalina beta you will need a device that supports the beta. Thankfully Apple offers macOS update support for a long period. Here’s a look at the devices you can use macOS 10.15 on;

  •  MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  •  MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or newer)
  •  MacBook Air (Late 2012 or newer)
  •  Mac mini (Late 2012 or newer)
  •  iMac (Late 2012 or newer)
  •  Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer)
  •  iMac Pro (2017)

The catch is that during the beta and even the final release you won’t get all of the features on older Macs. We also typically don’t see betas include all features at the start, and sometimes Apple removes features during the beta and adds them back in.

How to Join the macOS Catalina Beta

How to join the macOS beta program.

How to join the macOS beta program.

There are two ways to join the macOS Catalina beta. If you are a developer you can pay $99 to join the Apple Developer Program. This includes access to the macOS, watchOS, tvOS and iOS betas. The other option is to join the Apple Beta Program that is open to the general public. This option is free and a little more user-friendly.

Here’s how to install the macOS Catalina beta today with the Developer beta, even without becoming a developer. This is an easy option, and we walk you through how to do it safely.

This is what you need to do before you install this beta on your Mac and a guide to help you decide if you should install the macOS 10.15 beta today or if you should wait.

Use this link to join the Apple Beta Software Program so that you can join the public macOS beta program and go through that route.

You Can Downgrade to macOS Mojave

Here's how to go back to macOS Mojave.

Here’s how to go back to macOS Mojave.

You can try the macOS 10.15 beta on your Mac and if you don’t like it you can downgrade to macOS Mojave fairly easily. When you prepare for the beta with a Time Machine Backup, you are able to restore to that backup so that you can pick up right where you left off before trying the beta.

This guide walks you through the macOS Catalina downgrade process to go back to macOS Mojave. It takes at least an hour, but it only requires a few minutes of actual interaction.

The other option is to install the macOS 10.15 beta on a spare partition so that you can switch back and forth between the macOS Catalina beta and macOS Mojave.

What’s Next for the macOS 10.15 Beta

Over the next several months Apple will release close to a dozen macOS 10.15 beta updates for developers, and nearly as many for public users. The beta updates traditionally arrive on a two-week release schedule up until the release date.

During this period the updates typically include fixes and add in new features for testing. Each beta update arrives as an easy to install update, like any normal macOS update.

6 Reasons Not To Install the macOS Catalina Beta & 7 Reasons You Should

Install macOS Catalina Beta for New Features

Install macOS Catalina Beta for New Features

One of the biggest reasons to install the macOS Catalina beta is to test out all of the new macOS features that Apple is adding into this update. 

There are a lot of upgrades that we dive into deeper with some of the specific reasons below, but as an overview, there are a range of new features coming to the Mac. 

Some of these are in this beta and others will come in the next few betas. Some of our favorite new macOS Catalina features include;

  • Using the iPad as an External Display
  • Siri Shortcuts
  • Window Snapping

Apple also adds in cross-platform support for iPad apps, which will allow developers to offer their iPad apps on the Mac. This feature won't fully materialize until this fall, but we could see some limited opportunities for testing from developers looking for feedback. 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jett

    06/03/2019 at 12:08 pm

    Did you mean Mid 2012 MacBook Air; there is no “Late 2012” model.

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