Does anyone know how to enable/disable OS X beta participation from the Terminal?

Typically one could opt-out of the Beta program by choosing the following option found in the App Store preferences pane. However once you opt out, the option to opt-in disappears and one has to use a utility found online to opt in again. This is tedious for me. Since most settings in OS X are managed using defaults, I wonder if anyone has a set of commands to enable/disable this option in the preference pane?

If not then perhaps a process where I can discover the relevant defaults read/write statements to enable this feature?

Ultimately, I would like to simply be able to opt-in during certain periods and opt-out during other times.

If there is a simpler approach than using the Terminal, I am open to learning about that as well.


Nota Bene - Please let me know in the comments if anything is unclear or if more information is necessary to improve this question.

System: I am running Yosemite and El Capitan on different machines.

  • Be aware that if the beta enrollment is under NDA - many people will decline to answer here and you might need to discuss this on Apple's forums. Have you looked at whatever package, script or profile is used to enroll? Poking there might yield some clues as to what key in the defaults database might be related.
    – bmike
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 18:59

3 Answers 3


As mentioned by SeanCLT, you/your system needs to be enrolled in one of the programs and you need to have the right utilities installed The statement about the utilities is an assumption, I have not tried it without. After that you can use the softwareupdate command to enable and disable the beta/pre-release source.

You can disable it via:

softwareupdate --clear-catalog

Enabling is a bit more tricky, because you need to choose your channel/source. The options are:

OS X Public Beta

sudo softwareupdate --set-catalog https://swscan.apple.com/content/catalogs/others/index-10.12beta-10.12-10.11-10.10-10.9-mountainlion-lion-snowleopard-leopard.merged-1.sucatalog.gz

OS X Developer Beta catalog

sudo softwareupdate --set-catalog https://swscan.apple.com/content/catalogs/others/index-10.12seed-10.12-10.11-10.10-10.9-mountainlion-lion-snowleopard-leopard.merged-1.sucatalog.gz

OS X Gold Master catalog

sudo softwareupdate --set-catalog https://swscan.apple.com/content/catalogs/others/index-10.12-10.11-10.10-10.9-mountainlion-lion-snowleopard-leopard.merged-1.sucatalog.gz


Using seedutil

This command requires sudo and has three main options:

  1. Check enrolment status
  2. Enrol
  3. Un-enrol

Check enrolment status

sudo /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Seeding.framework/Versions/A/Resources/seedutil current


sudo /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Seeding.framework/Versions/A/Resources/seedutil enroll SEED_PROGRAM

Where seed program can be PublicSeed (most common Beta program) or DeveloperSeed


The next command will effectively disable Beta updates for MacOS

sudo /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Seeding.framework/Versions/A/Resources/seedutil unenroll

See source


Steps to Enroll into Beta

  1. Go to https://beta.apple.com/sp/betaprogram/guide
  2. Sign in with your Apple ID
  3. Click Enroll Your Devices on top right menu bar
  4. Step 2 has a blue button "Download the OS X EL Capitan Public Beta Access Utility"

I was also enrolled into beta on my VM i recently unenrolled it after 10.11.4 release

you might find this question useful How to move from beta to stable releases of OS X

  • 2
    sorry to pick nits, but what part of this is "from the terminal" which seems to be the main point the OP wants to learn.
    – bmike
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 19:31
  • 2
    I read it as If there is a simpler approach than using the Terminal I thought he meant other than terminal
    – SeanClt
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 20:55

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