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How to download the first macOS Big Sur public beta today

Apple has finally outed the first public beta for macOS Big Sur, the latest major operating system update for Mac desktops and MacBook laptop computers.

More than a month after Apple launched the public betas for iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the revamped desktop OS is now available for curious Mac owners to take for a spin.

If you want to get involved, you’ll first need to register your Apple ID on Apple’s public beta website. From here, you’ll install a profile on your Mac before downloading and installing the first beta and others moving forward.

As with all Apple betas, they are works-in-progress with many features not present or complete and others subject to crashes and poor performance. We’d recommend using a secondary Mac and, if you do insist on installing the beta on your primary machine, then at least perform a full back-up first.

Related: Best Mac 2020

Apple itself says “some applications and services may not work as expected and their data may not be backwards compatible. Be sure to back up your Mac using Time Machine before installing the software.”

macOS Big Sur provides what Apple calls the biggest design upgrade since the original Mac OS X update. The iOS-inspired update brings new widgets, a revamped Control Centre for access to quick settings, while Notification Centre has been revamped to group alerts and ensure greater levels of interaction with notifications.

Apple has also improved stock apps like Messages with group photos, pinned conversations, in-line replies, mentions, GIFs and a Memoji editor. The likes of Mail, Maps, Calendar and Podcasts are also beneficiaries of the operating system update coming this autumn.

The company is making Safari faster and more secure, boosting the privacy for the App Store and laying the groundwork for the switch to Apple Silicon, which will see Apple fit Macs with home-grown processors.

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