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How to Clean Install macOS Monterey

Written by John

The 18th major release of macOS is the macOS Monterey, the successor to macOS Big Sur. Apple announced the new operating system at WWDC 2021. The version of macOS 12 Monterey is available for Public Beta.

The new macOS Monterey is better than Big Sur and comes loaded with lots of interesting features. Apple has made the latest operating system available for many older Macs. However, some of the advanced features in macOS Monterey have hardware requirements, and therefore only newer Macs will be able to use them.

While macOS Big Sur introduced a lot of changes to the look and feel, macOS Monterey focused on new technical features, updates to Apple’s apps, and privacy modifications. Some of the really exciting features to look out for in macOS Monterey are Universal Control, Live Text and Visual Look Up, iCloud+, Shortcuts, Updates to Mac Apps, and Privacy improvements.

While there is already a lot of excitement around the technical improvements in the latest operating system, you can get to know more about the new changes and how they can be helpful to you in your work with a clean install of macOS 12 Monterey.

macOS 12 Monterey Compatibility

Before you clean install macOS 12 Monterey, you need to know if your machine is compatible to run the latest operating system. Here is the list of all the compatible Macs that can run the new macOS.

  • ‌MacBook Air‌ - Early 2015 and later
  • MacBook Pro - Early 2015 and later
  • MacBook - Early 2016 and later
  • Mac mini - Late 2014 and later
  • ‌iMac‌ - Late 2015 and later
  • ‌iMac‌ Pro - 2017 and later
  • Mac Pro - Late 2013 and later

Steps to Clean Install macOS Monterey 12

You need to follow a few steps to clean install macOS 12 Monterey. By ensuring that you follow these steps below, you will have a clean installation of the latest macOS.

Step 1: Backup your Mac with Time Machine

It is important to backup your Mac so that you do not lose your applications and files. Your Mac has an in-built backup feature called the Time Machine. You will need to have an External Storage device to create a backup of your Mac. Connect your External storage to the Mac and select it as the backup disk for Time Machine to make backups. You can configure Time Machine to make hourly backups for the past 24 hours, daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups for all previous months to your external storage. Ensure that you have sufficient capacity in the external storage or otherwise the oldest backups are deleted when your disk is full.

Step 2: Downloading macOS 12 Monterey Beta

Go to your Apple beta enrollment Site, login your account and download the "macOS Public Beta Access Utility". Once the file is downloaded, click on “Continue” to proceed with the installation. Agree to the terms and choose the destination for the installation.

Now, go to System Preferences > Software Update. Your Mac will check for new software and show macOS 12 as available. Click on “Upgrade Now” and your update will be downloaded to the /Applications folder.

Step 3: Create a New Volume for macOS Monterey

Follow the instructions below to create a new hard disk for macOS Monterey.

Create a new macOS Monterey Volume

  1. Go to the Applications folder and click on “Utilities” and then select “Disk Utility”
  2.  In Disk Utility, click on the “+” button to create a new Volume. Format it as macOS APFS. Then Click “Add” button.

Step 4: Clean Install macOS 12 Monterey

After you have a Volume for macOS Monterey, follow the instructions below to clean install macOS 12 Monterey.

1. In the Open macOS Monterey in Application folder (Finder/Application), select “Install macOS” from the options.

Install macOS Monterey

2. Choose the destination disk to install macOS 12 Monterey and click on “Install” to install a clean version of macOS Monterey.

Install macOS Monterey on new Volume

While the clean installation process is ongoing, do not interrupt it. Your Mac may reboot automatically during the process and you have to wait some time for the process to finish. Once the installation has finished, your Mac will boot into a fresh version of macOS 12 Monterey.

Step 5: Delete Old macOS Volume

You can delete old macOS volume (Catalina, Big Sur), follow these steps below:

1. Open Disk Utility in macOS Monterey, right click on your old macOS hard drive and select "Unmount".

Unmount your macOS Volume

2.  Select the hard drive and click on the “-” button to delete your old macOS hard disk.

Delete your old macOS

You have to understand that a clean install of macOS 12 Monterey is effectively the same as factory resetting or reformatting your Mac. You can now check out all the interesting features with the latest operating system and test for yourself whether you really like the new additions. There are expected to be some bugs as it is the version of macOS Monterey. You can share your feedback with the community to bring to attention existing issues in the release.

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