iOS 13, iPadOS, macOS Catalina, and tvOS 13 are available in public beta, and you can download and install them now. The process for installing each is a bit different, but we’ll walk through what’s new and how to get the new software on your device.
Unless you’re enrolled in Apple’s developer program, this is your first opportunity to try out the new software in beta. These betas will update periodically, culminating in the final release, which we expect at the end of summer. It’ll likely be timed around the new hardware announcements made at Apple’s annual September event.
First, the usual word of warning about beta software: these releases may seem stable, but they could contain bugs that won’t be squashed until the final releases roll out later in 2019. So unless you don’t mind rolling the dice with app compatibility and other issues that could impact battery life and other critical functions, perhaps it’s best to wait, difficult as that may be.
We’ve included some issues that we’ve encountered during our time with each of the public betas. Your experience may differ, but if you do decide to install, make sure to back up your data first.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT MACOS CATALINA BEFORE INSTALLING THE BETA
Of the several new features coming to macOS Catalina, Catalyst has received the most buzz. Codenamed “Marzipan,” Catalyst allows iPad developers to port their apps over to macOS. Twitter was one of the first companies to announce that it’s utilizing the feature to bring its app back to the Mac.
If you own an iPad that runs the iPadOS software (see below), Catalina’s new Sidecar feature (pictured in the lead image above) will let you wirelessly connect the iPad to your Mac as a secondary display, complete with touch support. Apps that are confirmed to work in Sidecar mode currently include Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Illustrator, and iWork, though you can just use the iPad as an extension of your desktop if you wish.
Another important feature is Voice Control, an accessibility feature that allows people to navigate through macOS Catalina with voice dictation, eliminating the need for physical switches and triggers that mimic mouse and keyboard actions.
ISSUES WE’VE ENCOUNTERED SO FAR
Repeatedly connecting an iPad via Sidecar can bring up issues that require a reboot. Some users are reporting stability issue with Final Cut Pro X.
HOW TO INSTALL THE MACOS CATALINA BETA
- Head to Apple’s beta software portal
- Click “Enroll Your Devices” at the top right corner of the webpage
- Click “macOS,” the left-most option on the next page. This will reveal a reminder to make sure you have a Time Machine backup before proceeding.
- Scroll down until you find a button that says “Download the macOS Public Beta Access Utility.” If you haven’t yet enrolled your Mac in the Beta Program, then click on it to download a .DMG file, which will enroll your computer. Otherwise, you can skip this step.
- Lastly, head to “Software Update” from the System Preferences app to install the beta. It might not be available to you immediately. You’ll receive a notification once it is.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT IOS 13 BEFORE INSTALLING THE BETA
iOS 13 aims to bring performance improvements to all iPhones, especially to older ones that were slowed down by past software updates. A few of Apple’s claims include a 30 percent speed increase for Face ID unlocks and apps that launch twice as fast as they did in iOS 12.