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MacOS Monterey: An easy way to download Apple's latest Mac update

We'll show you how to get all the new features in MacOS Monterey whether you have a MacBook Pro, a MacBook Air or another Apple computer.

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You can run MacOS Monterey on Apple's colorful new iMacs.
Sarah Tew/CNET

MacOS Monterey arrived last year alongside upgrades to Apple's MacBook line, but if you haven't updated your own Mac computer yet, don't worry. Installing the latest version of Apple's Mac operating system is a fairly simple process that takes just a few steps. While you're sprucing up your devices for the new year, you may want to consider updating your iPhone or iPad to iOS 15.3, the most recent version of Apple's mobile operating system, too. 

Monterey, also known as MacOS 12, adds several of the new features found in iOS 15, like spatial audio in FaceTime and Apple's Focus feature, although we're still waiting for Universal Control. You'll find some of our favorite Monterey features here. And in case you missed Apple's October event, you can read about the new 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro, plus the M1 chips that are pushing Intel out of Apple computers.

Read more: Best MacBooks for 2022

Now playing: Watch this: Hands-on with MacOS Monterey
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How to download and install MacOS Monterey

1. Make sure your Mac is compatible with MacOS Monterey

2Back up your Mac, just to be safe. You don't want to risk losing everything when you upgrade. 

3. On your Mac, go to System Preferences > Software Update and find MacOS Big Monterey. Click Upgrade Now. The download will start immediately, but may take while. 

Once you download and install the update and restart your computer, you'll be running on MacOS Monterey. 

How to download and install future MacOS public betas

Mac OS at WWDC 2021

With MacOS Monterey's Universal Control feature, you'll be able to move seamlessly between different screens.

Apple/Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET

You no longer need to follow these steps to run MacOS Monterey. But if you like having hands-on previews, here's how to get future MacOS public beta versions on your machine. Note: You should never download a beta version on your primary device, as they're often buggy -- we recommend only doing so if you have a separate tester device available. 

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Brett Pearce/CNET

1Back up your Mac, just to be safe.

2. On your Mac, go to beta.apple.com.

3. Sign in with your Apple ID and select MacOS from the list of programs.

4. In the Getting Started section, click Enroll your Mac

5. On the next page, click on the blue button with the beta version you're looking for.

6. Open the downloaded file and follow the prompts.

7. After the utility is installed, check for a software update using the update tool in System Preferences and then follow the prompts to download and install it. 

Once you restart your computer, you'll be running on the latest beta. 

For more, check out the biggest announcements from Apple's October event. We've also got instructions for how to download iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.