Long iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 beta-testing process nears end


iPhone with iOS 17 logo
The months-long wait for iOS 17 is almost over.
Image: Rajesh Pandey/Cult of Mac

The launch of iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 is drawing close, as the many steps of beta testing for these operating systems are almost finished. The same holds true for tvOS 17, and watchOS 10 is nearly as close. Apple likely will release them all in September.

macOS Sonoma, however, isn’t expected to debut until later.

iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 are surely mere weeks away

Apple unveiled iOS 17, iPadOS 17, watchOS 10 and tvOS 17 at WWDC23 back in early June. The operating systems immediately went into beta testing with registered developers. The general public who wanted to try out the pre-release versions could do so starting in July.

After many rounds of betas, the process is almost over.

During this process, each beta is assigned a version number that ends in a letter. These count down to “a” to show progress. Apple seeded iOS 17 beta 7, iPadOS 17 beta 7 and tvOS 17 beta 7 to developers Tuesday — and all of them bear version numbers ending in “a.”

Following Apple’s unusual procedures, the next step is a release candidate for each. Then, a week or so later, the company will make the operating systems available for iPhone, Mac, iPad, etc., users to install.

However, it’s possible there will be additional betas in the next couple of weeks as Apple tracks down any final bugs. The countdown to “a” is a guide, not a straightjacket.

Work on iOS 17 needs to end earlier than might be expected. The release candidate, or some version close to it, needs to be sent to the companies assembling the iPhone 15 series so the software can be preinstalled on these handsets before shipping this fall. (Here’s what to expect from iPhone 15.)

macOS Sonoma is probably coming later

Apple also unveiled macOS 14 Sonoma at WWDC23. But as of Tuesday, the upcoming Mac operating system is only on beta 6 and has therefore received fewer beta updates than Apple’s other operating systems.

iOS 17, iPadOS 17, etc., are expected to be released in about a month, but macOS usually doesn’t go out in until later in the fall. Sonoma might not reach the general public’s Macs until October or even later.

watchOS 10 falls somewhere in the middle. It did get a seventh beta Tuesday, but its version number ends in “b.” That indicates at least one more beta should arrive before the release candidate.

iOS 17 beta 7, iPadOS 17, mcOS 14 beta 6, watchOS 10 beta 7 and tvOS beta 7
iOS 17 beta 7, iPadOS 17, mcOS 14 beta 6, watchOS 10 beta 7 and tvOS beta 7
Screenshot: Apple/Cult of Mac


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