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MacOS High Sierra: How to download the public beta and can my Mac run it?

Apple has just released the MacOS High Sierra public beta, giving Mac computer and Macbook users the chance to download and install the latest update ahead of the official release. Here's all you need to know about upgrading to the High Sierra beta version, including our full review and all of the changes included.

Apple first launched its latest version of MacOS, dubbed High Sierra, at the massive WWDC 2017 conference back in June. This update adds a fair few worthy new features to your Macbook or iMac computer, including a better filing system, updated first party apps and plenty more besides.

However, the final version of High Sierra won't drop for a little while yet. Which is where the public beta comes in.

What is the MacOS High Sierra beta?

MacOS High Sierra is currently available to try out as a public beta, which means that it’s usable but not quite the finished product. In other words, you might spot some bugs or other issues, including compatibility problems with some of your Mac apps. The reason that Apple releases these beta versions is to identify and fix such problems, before the full rollout later in the year.

We’ve already downloaded High Sierra onto our test Macbook and you can check out our in-depth first impressions. Or, why not download it and explore the latest update yourself?

How do I download and install the MacOS High Sierra public beta?

If you're rather excited about the new update, you might want to check out all of these shiny new features on your iMac or Macbook right now. Apple has thankfully made that possible with the MacOS High Sierra public beta release.

Before you get stuck into any beta offering, we'd strongly suggest backing up your Mac computer using Apple's Time Machine feature. After all, beta software will almost certainly still contain bugs and may prove incompatible with your apps, possibly resulting in serious crashes and other issues. If that happens, you'll probably want to back out this update.

If you have any valuable files on your Mac computer, we’d recommend backing these up separately too, just to be sure they’re safe. You can do so using cloud solutions such as iCloud or Google Drive.

With that done, head to Apple's Beta Software website on your Mac computer and sign yourself up using your Apple ID. When you're good to go, you'll find yourself on the download screen. Choose 'MacOS' in the list at the top and follow the instructions to get your device enrolled.

Next, head to the App Store and download the MacOS High Sierra public beta. This is quite a sizeable file, so might take some time to arrive. When it's ready, you'll be led through the installation process from start to finish. Nice and easy.

We hope you enjoy MacOS High Sierra!

Will High Sierra MacOS run on my Mac computer?

Apple is confident that any Macbook or iMac running the existing Sierra version of MacOS will comfortably handle the new High Sierra update.

In other words, if you’re already running Sierra, you should be able to update this to High Sierra without any risk of slowdown or other problems.

To check which version of MacOS you’re currently running, click the Apple icon in the top left corner of the desktop and head to ‘about this Mac’. This will reveal at the very top which version is installed.

Are you running a version of MacOS prior to Sierra? In that case, you’ll need to check that your computer is Sierra compatible before updating all the way up to High Sierra. Apple’s minimum requirements include 2GB of RAM and 9GB of available storage, so the following systems should be able to update to High Sierra without issue:

  • MacBook (Late 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Mid 2010 or newer)
  • iMac (Late 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)

Note however that not all MacOS features are guaranteed to work with these minimum requirement systems. For instance, gaming with Metal requires more beefy systems, for a smooth frame rate.

When will the final version of High Sierra MacOS be released to the public?

Apple is hoping to release the first complete version of High Sierra to the public in ‘fall 2017’. In other words, you can expect it to be available to download around September or October time.

How can I update my Mac computer?

When a MacOS update is ready, a pop-up should appear automatically on your computer to notify you.

First, save your work and make a backup of your system using Time Machine, just in case everything goes pear shaped during the update. You can do so by clicking the Apple logo in the top left corner and then going to System Preferences, followed by Time Machine.

With that done, follow the pop-up’s instructions to download and install the MacOS update. This will involve a reboot (or two), so close down your apps first.

Want to manually check for any waiting updates? Click that Apple logo and select ‘About this Mac’. You should notice a ‘Software Update’ option. Select that and your Mac will check for any waiting updates.

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