macOS Ventura : installing to test

What are the best ways to test macOS Ventura?
Consolidating ideas from a few threads.

Old Fashioned Methods
These still work, but are more difficult in modern macOS versions:

  • repartiation your hard drive, install macOS onto the new partition
  • external drive: install macOS onto an external USB or thunderbolt drive

Modern Methods

Rent time on a M1 mac in the Cloud
Don’t have a M1 mac? There are a number of companies where you can rent time on M1 mac mini in the cloud. Google Search

Install Ventura on a VM
If you have an Apple Silicon (M1 or M2) mac, virtualization is built into the OS, and you can quickly test using paid (VMWare Fusion, Parallels) or freeware tools, such as VirtualBuddy

VirtualBuddy Instructions
Requires an Apple Silicon (M1, M2…) mac

  1. Navigate to Releases · insidegui/VirtualBuddy · GitHub and click the Assets triangle, and download the latest release dmg file.
  2. Drag & Drop the app to your /Applications folder
  3. When you launch the app, choose Download macOS Installer from a list of options
  4. You can download release or beta versinos of macOS 12.4 and 13.0 or later
  5. Hint: VirtualBuddy doesn’t support clipboard sharing or drag & drop file transfer, but you can connect to the VM using the Screen Sharing app which supports these features

Install Ventura on a new APFS Volume
With APFS it’s very easy to create a separate volume on your internal hard drive, install Ventura to that for testing. Under APFS, the volumes share space, and there is no dangerous repartitioning step necessary.

This works on both Intel or M1 macs

1. Download the Ventura Installer

2. Add new disk volume (you do not need to, nor should you, partition the disk):
Note: Adapted from How to create a macOS Ventura volume partition on your Mac

  • Open Disk Utility
  • Note: If you have View/Show all devices set, go back to View / Show Only Volumes first
  • From the left sidebar of Disk Utility, select your main APFS volume; in other words, your internal drive. It should say Macintosh HD or whatever you named it.
  • Click the Edit menu, and choose Add APFS Volume.
  • name it ‘Ventura’ or similar
  • format: select APFS
  • (optional) click Size Options and you can set minimum and max quotas. (In APFS, disk space is shared with your other volumes)
  • Click Add.
  • Once the volume is created, click Done and quit.

3. Install

  • Double-click the .pkg file you downloaded
  • Careful - make sure you click the Show All Disks button to select the other volume ‘Ventura’ to install onto.

Note: Boot Options

  • on Intel mac, you boot with Option key down to select boot volume
  • on M1 mac, you boot with Power key down (TouchID/Fingerprint reader button) to select boot volume

If you have other hints/suggestions for testing macOS Ventura, please add to this thread…


So you’re first saying it’s becoming harder, then it’s easy. Which one do you choose?

It seems that partition (old way) is not the same as volume (new way), so I think Mike prefers volume.

2. Add new disk volume (you do not need to, nor should you, partition the disk):

The new way is better:

  • You don’t need to repartition your drive.
  • You can create as many Volumes you want on the existing drive.
  • All the Volumes share the available space, without the need to move partitions around.

For me, they are the same, only that one applies to HFS and the other to APFS. They probably could have been merged in a single entry :man_shrugging:

Thanks for this hint. I just had this problem this morning (after being in Ventura and restarting, the option key did nothing; I used system preferences (I mean… settings :nauseated_face:) to restart to Monterey).

When a new OS comes out, I find there’s no perfect solution. A VM would be my preferred choice; however, there are drawbacks (e.g. you can’t register with iCloud, currently; this makes the experience already much different).
Two partitions, with one OS on each, is also acceptable, but either you abandon one, or you restart often.

Good point - VMs have some disadvantages for testing:

In addition, some bare hardware features such as GPU/3D graphice acceleration may not work (they may fall back to a slower software emulation mode, or simply not work at all).

1 Like

What is a partition?

Partitioning your Mac is basically splitting your hard drive into separate, usable systems. It makes it possible to run two separate operating systems on one device, like Windows and macOS, or two versions of macOS (like Catalina and Big Sur).

What is an APFS volume?

An APFS volume creates a similar container to be used the same way as a partition, but it mounts it within your main hard drive. This allows the volume the flexibility to grow or shrink in storage size as needed. You don’t have to worry about running out of temporary space while installing macOS, for example, because it will grab the necessary space from your main drive and then put it back when it’s done. You can manually select size limiters for a volume if you’re worried about one drive overtaking another’s space.

If your Mac uses APFS, Apple recommends creating a volume instead of a partition.

For me, partitioning is like cutting the drive space into pieces.
Volume is like reserving space on the drive (without cutting) to use/install other things. Volume, in this case, is not a physical part of the drive. You can add or delete volumes without the need to partition the drive, all in the same partition.

Yes, technically they are different. But their practical purpose is equivalent.

My preferred method is formatting an external HD with multiple volumes, one for each test OS. Install each OS in those volumes, in a way that once you remove such HD, it does not break your internal OS and file system.

Is that not allowed anymore?

I’m afraid of the impression I had reading that APFS tries “to unite” things behind the scenes and that could potentially mix and break things writing dependencies into external drives that should not be removed after. It must be just a misunderstanding, because it would be stupid.

Yes, Partitioning is dividing the drive down into fixed areas.

Volumes, under APFS are different than they used to be under HFS. Under HFS it was simply a fixed size and that was all. You had to rebuild to get more space on a HFS Volume if you ran out.

On APFS you have have a number of Volumes and they all share the full available space in the drive. Each will report the total free space, available on the drive, as its free space. Any of the Volumes on the drive can use the space. Obviously when the free space is allocated to a Volume the free space for all Volumes on the drive goes down accordingly.

It is a much more useful arrangement.