Apple last week released the first public beta version of this year’s macOS update, “Monterey.”
Unlike 2020, this time Apple met its self-imposed deadline, releasing the beta on July 1. Last year, Apple stated that it would issue a public beta for “Big Sur” in July, but it didn’t come until August.
To get the preview, Mac users need to sign up for Apple beta program – Apple ID required – then install the update (using About This Mac> Software Update in the Apple menu).
As usual, Apple advised customers not to install the beta version of Monterey on production Macs. “We highly recommend installing the beta software on a secondary system or device, or a secondary partition on your Mac,” the company said in a Frequently asked questions about the program. Apple also urged users to back up their Macs before installing the preview.
To exit beta and return to the previously running operating system, customers must unenroll a Mac from the beta program and then restore the production-level operating system using backup. Alternatively, users can roll the Mac from the beta program, which freezes the system in the current preview. Then once Apple releases the final code for Monterey, they can retrieve it from the Mac App Store and install it over the beta.
Monterey’s first public beta was released right in the middle of Apple’s historical timeline. During the summer previews for the last six macOS / OS X updates, five of them, from El Capitan 2015 to Catalina 2019, were released between June 24 and July 9. Last year’s Big Sur was the outlier, with a debut on August 6.
The span between the first public beta and the final release ranged from 75 days (Sierra) to 105 days (El Capitan), averaging just over 89 days. Big Sur took 98 days from first preview to stable code.
If Apple delivers Monterey 89 days after its first public beta, the final will launch on September 28, a month and a half earlier than Big Sur on November 12. (Computer world misjudged the release of Big Sur for 10 days; using the five-year average, he predicted that Big Sur would appear on November 2).
Apple hasn’t specified a release date for Monterey, saying only that the update “will arrive this fall.” A September release would be very much in keeping with the typical Apple pattern (four out of the last six years, Apple’s update reached users in September) and would be emblematic of a return to normalcy, in a way, as the COVID-19 pandemic ends in the us
See “A Quick First Look at macOS Monterey” for more information on the next version, including the highlights of the shiny new.