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

Curious about the latest version of MacOS, nicknamed High Sierra, and whether it will run on your Macbook or iMac computer? Here’s everything you need to know about the High Sierra beta, including the best new features, how to download and install it on your device and the minimum requirements to ensure smooth running.

What is the MacOS High Sierra beta?

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

MacOS High Sierra is currently in beta form, which means that it’s usable but not quite the finished product. We’ve already downloaded High Sierra onto our test Macbook and you can check out our first impressions. Or, why not download it and explore the latest update yourself?

How do I download and install the MacOS High Sierra beta update to try it for myself?

If you want to try out High Sierra for yourself right now, that’s perfectly possible. Just head to Apple’s beta page on your Macbook or Mac computer and follow the instructions there to enroll your device. You can then download and install the High Sierra beta. This is completely free to do.

Before installing the beta, we recommend making a Time Machine backup, just in case the update disagrees with your hardware. After all, this isn’t the finished version of the new MacOS, so bugs and other issues may still exist. You can do so by going to System Preferences, followed by Time Machine - or simply search ‘Time Machine’ in your computer’s search bar.

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.

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 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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