In the Recovery window, find “Restore From Time Machine Backup.”

How to restore your Mac from the macOS Monterey beta to Big Sur


If you downloaded and installed the macOS Monterey public beta, there’s a chance that you may want to return to Big Sur, which is currently the stable macOS version. There are a couple of different ways to restore your Mac’s original software; which one you should follow depends on how you installed the beta.

The path to restoring is easiest if you made a Time Machine backup before updating the operating system, or if you installed the beta on a separate partition via Disk Utility. If you installed the beta on your main partition without a backup, you can still restore your system to the older OS, but you’ll need to start fresh.

Whichever path you chose, we’ll walk you through how to find your way back to a more reliable OS. Pick the method that suits you best.

Note: some of these steps may differ, depending on whether your Mac has an Intel processor or Apple silicon, like the M1 processor. If you’re not sure which you have, click on the Apple logo in your system’s upper left corner, and choose “About This Mac.” In the Overview, you’ll be able to see which processor you have.

Wait for the next stable update

If you aren’t in a rush to go back your previous OS, you can simply unenroll your Mac from the beta program and wait for the next stable update, which will revert you to that OS:

  • Go to “System Preferences” > “Software Update.”
  • Select “Details…” in the bottom-left corner of the window, underneath the message “This Mac is enrolled in the Apple Beta Software Program.”
  • Select “Restore Defaults” to unenroll your Mac from the beta.

Restore to a previous Time Machine backup

If you made a Time Machine backup just before you installed the beta, then reverting to your previous stable OS is relatively simple.

  • Make sure you back up any files that you created while working with the beta (unless, of course, you don’t care whether you lose them).
  • Connect the external hard drive that you used for Time Machine backups to your system.
  • If you have an Intel-based Mac, restart your Mac and hold both the Command and R keys through the startup chime until the Apple logo shows. You should then see the macOS Recovery window.
  • If your Mac is equipped with Apple silicon, power down your Mac, then press and hold the power button until you see the “Startup Options” window. Click the gear icon, then click “Continue.”
  • Within the macOS Recovery window, select the drive, then find “Restore From Time Machine Backup.”

In the Recovery window, find “Restore From Time Machine Backup.”
Image: Apple

  • Select the backup that you want to revert to. Note that the window will show the macOS version. Look for the last one that shows version 11 instead of 12.
  • Once the reversion process is finished, things should be as you left them before installing the beta.

Erase a separate partition that contains the Monterey beta

If you installed the Monterey beta to a separate partition (as opposed to overwriting your main partition), you can simply eliminate that one to reclaim some SSD space.

  • If you have an Intel-based Mac, restart your Mac and hold both the Command and R keys through the startup chime until the Apple logo shows. You should then see the macOS Recovery window.
  • If your Mac is equipped with Apple silicon, power down your Mac, then press and hold the power button until you see the “Startup Options” window. Click the gear icon, then click “Continue.”
  • Once you see the macOS Recovery window, find the partition that you created and named. Then click “Disk Utility.”
  • After the Disk Utility window opens, click the partition that you want to delete.
  • You can ensure that it’s the correct partition (the one using macOS 12) by looking for the macOS version, which is listed under the partition’s name near the middle of the window. Do not delete the partition for macOS 11, or else you’ll need to follow the steps in the next section to fully restore your machine.
  • When you’re ready to erase the partition, click “Erase” near the top-right section of the Disk Utility app, then click “Erase.” Do not click “Erase Volume Group” because that may delete your main partition.
  • Erasing the partition won’t completely eliminate it. To do that, click the partition once again, and near the “Erase” button along the top-right corner, find “Volume” and click the minus symbol to fully remove it from your SSD.
  • After that, you can click the Apple logo at the top-left of the screen and restart.

Restore to a fresh install of macOS Big Sur

If you don’t have a Time Machine backup, or you’d prefer to restore your Mac for a clean start, here’s how to proceed:

  • If you have an Intel-based Mac, restart your Mac, holding both the Command and R keys through the startup chime until the Apple logo shows. You should then see the macOS Recovery window.
  • If your Mac is equipped with Apple silicon, power down your Mac, then press and hold the power button until you see the “Startup Options” window. Click the gear icon, then click “Continue.”
  • Once you see the macOS Recovery window, click on your intended install drive, then click “Reinstall macOS.”
  • This process will restore your Mac to factory settings, so you’ll need to reinstall all of your apps.



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