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How to download and install macOS 12 Monterey Developer Preview

You can try the cutting-edge version of macOS right now

WWDC 2021 screenshot
(Image: © Apple)

Apple announced macOS 12 Monterey at its WWDC 2021 keynote, and while it won't be as big an update as its predecessor, macOS 11 Big Sur, there's still plenty of new features coming when the final version launches towards the end of 2021.

So, if you want to try it, here's how to download and install the macOS 12 Monterey Developer Preview right now.

Downloading and installing the early Developer Preview (and later Public Beta) versions of macOS 12 Monterey will allow you to try out this new operating system early, but it won’t include all of the features of the final release – and will possibly come with bugs and errors while the software is being finalized.

If you don’t want your Mac or MacBook crashing at random times while you’re working, we’d strongly recommend waiting until the final stable release of macOS 12 Monterey later this year, or even wait for a few weeks after that to be entirely certain there are no bugs or issues.

At this early stage you will need to enroll in the Apple Developer Program, which requires a payment of $99 (about £69, AU$140). This will allow you to download and install the macOS 12 Monterey Developer Preview as well as iOS 15 beta and other early Apple software.

If you can wait a little longer, the macOS 12 Monterey public beta will become available to all Mac and MacBook owners in July 2021 – and that will be free.

Can your Mac run macOS 12 Monterey?

Before you begin to download the macOS 12 Monterey Developer Preview, you should make sure your Mac can run the software. 

These are the Macs that you can install macOS 12 Monterey on: 

  • iMac late 2015 and later
  • iMac Pro 2017 and later
  • MacBook Air early 2015 and later
  • MacBook Pro early 2015 and later
  • Mac Pro late 2013 and later
  • Mac mini late 2014 and later
  • MacBook early 2016 and later

When will macOS 12 Monterey be available to download?

Apple announced that a developer preview of macOS 12 Monterey is now available. This will only be available to people who have paid to be part of Apple's developer program.

The final macOS 12 Monterey update should be available for download through your Mac's System Preferences menu, or you can download it through the Mac App Store application once it's released towards the end of the year, most likely mirroring past releases of macOS.

WWDC 2021 screenshot

(Image credit: Apple)

Back up your Mac before upgrading to macOS 12 Monterey Developer Preview

Whenever you upgrade your operating system – and especially when you’re trying out an early Developer Preview or beta version – we highly recommend backing up the files on your Mac, so if anything goes wrong you can quickly restore your machine to its previous working order.

Before you download and install the macOS 12 Monterey Developer Preview, make sure your Mac is backed up. For information on how to do this, head over to our ultimate guide to backing up your Mac.

How to enroll in the Apple Developer Program

If you really want to try out the macOS 12 Monterey Developer Preview, and you’re not currently enrolled in Apple’s Developer Program, then go to the Apple Developer Program enrollment webpage, which will show you everything you need to sign up.

You'll need an Apple ID, and provide your basic personal information. Click the 'Start Your Enrollment' to begin and then follow the instructions. Remember, you'll need to pay $99 (about £69, AU$140) to enroll.

macOS 12 Monterey

(Image credit: Apple)

How to download macOS 12 Monterey Developer Preview

Once signed up for the Apple Developer Program, you can download the developer preview of macOS 12 Monterey. Go to the Apple Developer macOS 12 Monterey website. In the top-right corner, you should see a blue 'Download' button.

Click it, then log in with your developer account. On the next page, you should see a button that says 'Install Profile' by macOS 12 Monterey (you may need to scroll down to find this).

Click it, and the file will download. Now, open up the Downloads folder in Finder and select 'macOS 12 Monterey Developer Beta Access Utility'. Next, double-click the macOSDeveloperBetaAccessUtility.pkg file to begin installing.

During this process, System Preferences will open and check for macOS updates. When it finds the update for the developer preview, click 'Update'. If it doesn't find the update, restart your Mac, open the Mac App Store and click 'Updates'.

Once the macOS 12 Monterey Developer Preview has been downloaded in its entirety, a new window will open prompting you to agree to Apple’s terms and conditions.

From there, follow the instructions to install the new operating system.