Nightly builds (AKA "nightlies") are developmental versions of MuseScore. They are compiled from the very latest source code that developers were working on as recently as yesterday!
Nightly builds allow you to test new features and see what might be coming in a future stable release. Please be aware that nightly builds are considered unstable software. This means:
- There will be bugs! 🪲
- Most bugs are harmless but occasionally something more serious might slip through. That's why we do testing!
- Compatibility is not guaranteed
- If you save a score with a nightly build then you might not be able to open it again with other versions of MuseScore, including other nightly builds.
As always, make sure you keep cloud and/or external backup copies of any files that you would be sorry to lose.
Download nightly builds
⚠️ Important! Nightly builds should only be used for testing purposes. Do not use them with scores that you plan to keep or share with others (use stable releases for that instead).
Installing nightly builds
.7z file you download is a compressed 7-zip archive; use the free program 7-zip to extract it. Once extracted, find the subfolder called
bin and double-click the
MuseScore4 executable that's inside.
Install the nightly build like you install the regular program. You might see a warning dialog the first time you try to run it. If you're unable to run it:
- Go to your
/Applicationsfolder and right-click on the nightly's
- Choose "Open", and this should either run the program or bring up the warning dialog.
- If the dialog doesn't allow you to open the app, press "Cancel" to dismiss the dialog, then right-click on the app and choose "Open" again. This time the dialog should give you the option to open the app.
On future launches you can run the nightly via Launchpad or Spotlight search just like any other app.
Pro tip: It's not strictly necessary to drag the app to your
/Applications folder. To avoid cluttering your
/Applications folder, you can drag it somewhere else and then run it from there instead with the usual double-click or right-click & "Open". You can even run it while it's still inside the DMG, although this has a performance penalty that may be prohibitive on older Macs.
Install the nightly AppImage like you install the regular program.
Can nightly builds be installed alongside stable releases of MuseScore?
Yes, nightly builds can run side-by-side with other versions of MuseScore on the same computer. Changes made to settings in the nightly build will not affect stable versions of MuseScore.
Occasionally you may find that you need to close one version of MuseScore before you can open another version, but this is not usually the case. You shouldn't have to uninstall any previous versions.
What should nightly builds be used for?
Use nightly builds to:
- Get a sneak peek at what future stable releases might look like!
- Test upcoming features to see if they work as you expect.
- Check whether bugs found in stable releases have already been fixed.
- If you can't reproduce a problem in the latest nightly build then there is no need to report it to the developers, and any existing issues about it can be closed.
How are nightlies made?
Nightly builds are compiled via GitHub Actions workflows using the latest source code on the
master branch. The workflows are scheduled to run automatically each morning at around 04:00 UTC, so each day's nightly build contains code from any PRs (pull requests) that were merged the day before. In other words, today's nightly build contains yesterday's code.
If you want to run today's code instead, download the CI (continuous integration) builds attached to open pull requests submitted to MuseScore's source repository on GitHub. But only do this if you know what you are doing! Code in unmerged pull requests is potentially unsafe, so it's generally better to stick to testing nightly builds, which only contain code that has undergone some testing and review by members of our team, or prereleases (alpha and beta builds) that have undergone more serious testing. You can find out about prereleases in the Announcements forum.