Software makers have become more and more open to the idea of public betas: testing new applications and operating systems that anyone who wants to can get involved in. They have their code tested for free and we can try new features in advance.
Getting started with these beta versions is easier than you might think, and they’re available on pretty much all platforms, as we’ll explain below. It won’t cost you anything, and you can quit a beta whenever you want.
Keep in mind, however, that betas are incomplete software – you take this step at your own risk. We do not recommend running beta code on devices that are critically important to you, as bugs, crashes, and incompatibilities can occur.
It’s unlikely (but not impossible) that a beta will completely break your phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop – most beta releases are reasonably stable and on the verge of being terminated. But an app you rely on daily may stop working or some of your data may disappear.
IOS and iPadOS betas
If you want to run beta software on your iPhone, you need to head to the Apple Beta Software Program web page. Follow the Register now link, enter your Apple credentials, and then open the ios tab: you will see the current beta version of iOS that is currently being tested.
Follow the Enroll your iOS device link, then take note of the instructions on the next page for backing up your device. Once done, you need to open the https://beta.apple.com/profile page on your current iPhone, sign in, and download the profile file shown to you.
Restart your phone, then open the Settings app and click General then Software update, where the details of the latest beta update should appear. Choose to download and install the update, and once your phone reboots, it will run the beta rather than the standard version of iOS.
It’s exactly the same if you’re on an iPad, except of course you follow the iPadOS and Register your iPad links where applicable, instead of those related to iOS and iPhones. On iPhones and iPads, you will continue to receive beta software updates until you exit beta software, which is done by going to General and Profiles in Settings, by tapping on the beta profile and choosing Remove.