How to Install the macOS Ventura Public Beta

Apple is launching the public beta of macOS Ventura today. This is the next big update coming to Mac computers (the final version is expected later in 2022), and it brings several important changes. In this article, we’ll tell you how to get the beta on your computer, if you want. Once the beta is installed, it will likely receive several updates between now and the final release.

(Looking for steps to install the iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 public betas? We’ve got you covered here.)

What’s new on macOS Ventura?

Ventura’s standout feature is the Stage Manager, which is a way to organize your windows by grouping them together and switching between sets of apps. Stage Manager should also do auto-arranging when you activate it.

The update also includes some tweaks to core macOS experiences. For example, System Preferences has been completely revamped and renamed to System Settings, there’s a feature called Passkeys for removing passwords on the web, and Spotlight is getting a host of new features. Other than that, there are the fun features; you’ll be able to use your iPhone as a webcam (if it’s also updated to iOS 16), edit iMessages soon after you send them, and share your iCloud Photo Library with your family.

You can read our full macOS Ventura feature roundup here.

Some of the features coming to Ventura.
Image: Apple

What devices are supported for macOS Ventura?

Apple said Ventura won’t support several Mac models that run Monterey, so it’s a good idea to check if your computer is compatible before downloading the beta. Here is the list of Ventura compatible Macs:

If your Mac is older, it’s worth noting that it won’t necessarily get all the features – for example, live captions are exclusive to Apple Silicon. To check if you have an Apple or Intel chip, you can go to the apple menu at the top left and click About This Mac.

How to Install macOS Ventura Beta

First of all, back up your data through TimeMachine. This will allow you to return to Monterey if things don’t go well with the Ventura beta. If you plan to install this beta on your main machine, keep in mind that you may encounter some issues (bugs, incompatibility issues, less than normal battery life) that might get in your way – no what you want if you’re on any kind of deadline. Also, make sure you have around 20 GB of free space on your storage drive before trying to install.

There is a way to avoid some of this possible drama. If you’re using a machine with macOS High Sierra or later, you can use built-in tools to partition your storage drive so the beta can live in isolation. That way, you can test out the new features, then boot to your stable macOS partition with the rest of your data when you’re done. We will come back to this later.

But first, we’ll assume you’re going to do a simple install. Let’s start.

  • Go to Apple’s beta software portal via Safari.
  • If you haven’t installed a public beta yet, you’ll need to sign up to access it with your Apple ID. Otherwise, click Register your devices in the upper right corner of the web page.
  • Click on macOSthe middle option in the center of the next page.
  • Scroll down until you find a button that says Download the macOS Public Beta Access Utility. Click it to download a .DMG file, then run the .PKG file in the image to register to receive beta updates.
  • When the installer starts, you will be prompted if it does not detect a Time Machine backup. (You made a backup, didn’t you? As I suggested above?)
  • Finally, head to Software update from the System Preferences app (if it doesn’t open automatically) to install the beta. If you’re enrolled in the beta program, you should see the message “This Mac is enrolled in Apple’s beta software program” located under the big Software update icon. Note: Download may not be available immediately. You will receive a notification once this is done.
  • The update file will take some time to download. Once done, press Install and walk through the steps.

How to create a separate partition

  • Open disk utility (a built-in app that you can find by typing its name in the Spotlight search bar). Your hard drive partitions will be listed under Internal along the left side of the window. You may only see one.

If your machine uses APFS, click the plus sign at the top to create a new partition.

If your machine uses APFS, click the plus sign at the top to create a new partition.

  • If you’re using a machine with macOS High Sierra or newer, clicking on your primary partition should reveal it’s an APFS volume. If so, then you can simply click on the plus button above the word Volume in the upper left corner of the Disk Utility window to create a new volume.
  • You can name the volume whatever you want, then press To add. Because APFS-formatted storage is shared between volumes, you don’t have to worry about how much space to reserve in the new volume when you create it.
  • Note: If your machine’s drive is formatted in Mac OS Extended instead of APFS, you can select the Partition button at the top of the Disk Utility window instead. You’ll need to name the partition and then decide how much storage you want to have on that slice of hard drive. Since previous public betas were over 10GB in size, I would suggest at least 30GB to be on the safe side.
  • Now that you have another volume (or partition), you can choose to install the beta version there instead of your main drive.

How you boot into the beta partition depends on the type of Mac you have. If you have an Intel Mac, you can press and hold the Option key during startup to access the startup disk selector. On an Apple Silicon Mac, all you need to do is press and hold the power button while turning on the computer to access the screen.

If you want your computer to start with the beta version by default, you can go to System Preferences > Startup Disk then click on the lock icon in the lower left corner. After entering your password or using TouchID, you can select your beta partition and click To restart.

The types of discs on which you can install the beta may be slightly limited.

How to Install the macOS Ventura Beta on an External Drive

If you don’t have enough room to create a partition large enough to hold an entire second operating system, you might consider installing the beta on an external drive. It’s relatively simple, as long as you’re ready to use the whole drive.

That said, following these instructions will erase everything on your external drive. Make sure that all the data in it is backed up elsewhere. And know that while you can technically install the Ventura beta on an external hard drive, you’ll get much better performance if you’re using a portable SSD.

  • Plug in your external drive
  • Open Disk Utility and select the drive
  • Click it Wipe off button and select APFS from Format scrolling menu
  • Once the drive is erased, open the beta installer and select your external drive as the destination. You can boot using the instructions above, as long as the drive is plugged into your computer.

Advanced users may be able to partition their external drive by following the instructions in the section above, but your ability to do so will depend on your drive configuration.

If the installer tells you that macOS cannot be installed on your external drive, you may be able to follow Apple’s troubleshooting instructions to properly partition the drive.

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