Apple’s upcoming software updates should only be installed on development devices right now, but soon, public betas will be available. Here’s how you can sign up to get your hands on iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7 and more, months ahead of their official release dates.
Apple’s public beta releases are typically a little more stable than developer versions — that’s why we have to wait a little longer for them. They’re still not entirely free of bugs, and therefore shouldn’t really be installed on your daily drivers, but if you just can’t wait, they are an option.
Public betas are identical to developer releases in terms of their feature sets, so everything you saw during the WWDC 2020 keynote this week is included. And for the first time this year, Apple is offering a public beta for watchOS 7, alongside iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14 and macOS Big Sur.
How to sign up for the Apple Beta Software Program
Signing up for early access to Apple’s upcoming releases is as simple as joining the Beta Software Program. Visit the official website, click the Sign up button, and log in with your Apple ID. You will also need to click Accept on the Beta Software Program Agreement to continue.
You can then choose which version of Apple’s software you want early access to and enroll your device. You’ll get a notification when a beta update is available, and you’ll be able to download and install it from Software Update on your iPhone, iPad or Mac.
Remember, the public betas for iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, watchOS 7 and macOS Big Sur aren’t out yet. If you enroll your devices today, you actually will be signing up for the latest betas of iOS 13, iPadOS 13, and other older releases. You’ll need to wait until Apple says its new public betas are ready.
We’re not sure how long you’ll need to wait, but it’s typically around two weeks after the first developer beta drops. (Apple says they’re coming in July.)
What you need to know
The purpose of public betas is to put upcoming software updates into the hands of as many people as possible so Apple can identify and fix any bugs ahead of a wider release. So, when you get them, we encourage you to use the Feedback app to submit bug reports when necessary.
Apple notes on its website that access to the Beta Software Program is voluntary and testers will not be compensated for their efforts. It also assures users that installing public betas will not void their warranties, and that it is possible to downgrade if you decide you wish to go back.
Be sure to back up your devices before installing any beta release. This ensures that in the unlikely event something goes wrong, you have a recent copy of your data and nothing is lost.
Finally, it’s worth noting that access to Apple’s public betas is not guaranteed. We don’t know of anyone who has been denied access in the past, but that doesn’t mean Apple won’t cut down on the number of testers in the future. Just bear that in mind before getting too excited.