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How to download and install macOS Sierra beta right now

Karen Haslam | July 8, 2016
We show you how to prepare for and download macOS Sierra beta right now. Developer Preview and Public Beta now available

The macOS Sierra Developer Preview has been available to developers since 13 June, if you are signed up to the Apple Developer Program you should be able it download it now. You can now join the OS X and iOS developer programs for a single fee of $99 (£64) a year, rather than joining the two programs for $99 each per year. Developing for the watchOS and tvOS are also included in that fee. To join the Apple Developer Program enrol at

To download the Developer Preview of macOS Sierra, simply follow our how-to:

  1. Visit Apple's developer portal.
  2. Click Sign Up and enter your Apple ID and Password. Click Sign In.
  3. Log on using your Apple ID
  4. Navigate to the downloads page and click 'Download' next to the macOS Sierra listing
  5. The App Store app should open. Enter yourApple ID and Password and click Sign In.
  6. The Redeem Code window should appear with the code already entered. Click Redeem.
  7. macOS Sierra beta will begin downloading.

The Beta version of macOS Sierra also includes an app called Feedback Assistant that enables you to send feedback to Apple.

How to install the macOS beta on an external hard drive

Luckily you don't have to install the beta on your Mac at all - you can install it on an external hard drive. 

You'll want to use a fast drive if you can - Thunderbolt drives are comparable to the internal drives on a Mac, but if you do not have a Mac with Thunderbolt then consider using a USB 3.0 drive.

Adding a second hard drive, formatting it and installing macOS Sierra on it is the safest way to get a good look at the new operating system. It'll leave your current configuration intact and allow you to play around with Sierra.

To install Sierra on a external hard drive follow the following guide:

  • Connect the external hard drive.
  • Launch Disk Utility (choose Go > Utilities to find it).
  • Select the drive in the sidebar (the root drive, not the volume it contains).
  • Click Partition.
  • Ensure that Partition Layout says 1 Partition.
  • Give it a name like "macOS Sierra".
  • Click Options and ensure that Guide Partition Table is selected. Click OK.
  • Click Apply and Partition.

Now download the macOS Sierra installation from the Mac App Store and follow these instructions to install the beta on the hard drive:

  • Open the Install macOS Sierra Preview file in the Applications folder.
  • Click Continue.
  • Click Agree and Agree.
  • Click Show All Disks.
  • Highlight the external hard drive.
  • Click Install.
  • Enter your Admin password
  • To run Sierra, open System Preferences > Startup Disk. Select the drive you wish to start up the Mac and click Restart. You can also hold down Option during startup to pick the drive you wish to use to start up the Mac.


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