How to get the latest iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 public betas | Cult of Mac

How to get the latest iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 public betas

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How to get the iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 public betas
Here's how to install the iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 public betas on your iPhone or iPad.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

The third round of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 public betas became available Tuesday so anyone who wants to start tinkering with all the new features can try these less-buggy versions.

iPhone users get a dramatically improved Lock Screen, many new features in the Messages and Mail apps, the battery percentage in the status bar and more. For iPads with the M1 processor, the biggest change is support for floating app windows and external displays. Plus all iPads get other enhancements.

Want to try the changes out for yourself? We’ll show you how.

Think hard before installing iOS 16 public beta 3 or iPadOS 16 public beta 3

The first step in installing any of these betas is thinking carefully about whether you want to. These are still early enough in the beta process that bugs are unavoidable.

iOS 16 public beta 3 and iPadOS 16 public beta 3 are more stable that their predecessors but are far from perfect. There are crashes. Third-party applications might or might not work properly. Installed betas on your daily drivers is a risk.

The full release of the iOS upgrade is expected in September, while the iPadOS version is likely coming in October. If you just can’t wait, however, the public betas are an option.

And you’ll help Apple. It is asking people to “take part in shaping Apple software by test-driving pre-release versions and letting us know what you think.”

Backup before you start, not after

Be sure to back up your devices before installing any beta release. Having a backup of your data made while running iOS 15.6 or iPadOS 15.6 will give you the option to downgrade back to non-beta versions. If you get tired of your iPad crashing every few hours or if an iPhone app you depend on just won’t work, you’ll be happy to jump backward.

Don’t let your device overwrite the backup. A data backup made with iOS 16 can not be used to restore a handset running iOS 15.6. The same goes for iPadOS.

You might want to read through our guide to restoring your device to an earlier iOS version before you go any farther. If you don’t feel comfortable with this process, maybe trying the betas isn’t for you.

How to install betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16

The preliminaries are out of the way – let’s dive in. Start by going to the webpage for the Apple Beta Software Program. 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.

How to enroll your devices into the Apple Beta Software Program
Finding the link to Enroll Your Devices is as difficult as joining the Apple Beta Software Program gets.
Screenshot: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

You can then choose which version of Apple’s software you want early access to and Enroll Your Devices.  On the same page, find the beta profile required for your device, then tap the Download profile button. Allow it to be downloaded and installed, then follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app on your device.
  2. Tap Profile Downloaded at the top of the screen.
  3. Tap Install.
  4. Restart your iPhone or iPad when prompted.

After your device has booted up again, you can head into Settings, tap General, and then tap Software Update to download and install the newest iOS or iPadOS betas.

Note: Even if you already followed this guide to update to iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 back in 2021, don’t be surprised if you have to go through this process again for iOS 16 and iPadOS 16.

Give back to the community

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 the betas, we encourage you to use the Feedback app to submit bug reports. Don’t depend on other people to do this.

As more people report problems in iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, Apple will have more information to work from. And that will result in the final versions being less buggy.

Killian Bell contributed to this article.