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MacOS Monterey: Apple's new software upgrade drops next week. Here's how to download it

Everything you need to know about downloading Apple's MacOS 12 when it launches on Oct. 25.

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You can run MacOS Monterey on Apple's colorful new iMacs.

Sarah Tew/CNET

MacOS Monterey, Apple's new operating system for Macs, will be here on Monday, Oct. 25. The release date for Apple's new software (also known as MacOS 12) was announced on Monday, after Apple's October event. (And, in case you missed it, here's everything Apple unveiled at its iPhone event in September.)

The Monterey OS comes alongside upgrades to Apple's MacBook line, including multiple new M1 chips and a new generation of AirPods. Monterey adds several of the new features found in iOS 15, like spatial audio in FaceTime and Apple's Focus feature.

Here's how to download MacOS Monterey once it rolls out to the public. We've also got instructions for how to download the public beta version in the meantime below, if you just can't wait.

Now playing: Watch this: How to install MacOS Monterey public beta
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How do I download and install MacOS Monterey once it's generally available?

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 do I download and install the MacOS Monterey public beta?

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

If you just can't wait for the final release, here's how to get the MacOS Monterey public beta up and running on your machine. Note that 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 labeled Download the MacOS Public Beta Access Utility.

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 MacOS Monterey public beta. 

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

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