If you're a developer or a tester on the public beta, here's what you need to know to get access to software betas.
Apple engineers are working around the clock to build new versions of macOS, iOS, tvOS, watchOS, Xcode, and more for users and developers alike. Whether you're building an app for one of Apple's upcoming operating systems or just excited for all the new features in messaging, you're probably going to want to get ahold of the company's beta software.
What iPhones, iPads, and Macs will run the new betas?
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 6s
- iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 5s
- iPhone 5c
- iPhone 5
iPad & iPod touch
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch
- iPad Pro 9.7-inch
- iPad Air 2
- iPad Air
- iPad 4th generation
- iPad mini 4
- iPad mini 3
- iPad mini 2
- iPod touch 6th generation
- iMac (Late 2009 & later)
- MacBook Air (2010 or newer)
- MacBook (Late 2009 or newer)
- Mac mini (2010 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (2010 or newer)
- Mac Pro (2010 or newer)
I'm not a developer — should I still run a developer beta or public beta on my [insert device here]?
Well, we wrote a whole article on that subject if you're curious, but the short version is thus:
Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS 10, watchOS 3, tvOS 10, and macOS Sierra as closed developer previews or public betas for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. (Sadly, no public betas for the Apple Watch or tvOS.) While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.
How to sign up for a developer account or public beta membership
If you're interested in becoming an Apple developer, you can visit developer.apple.com and read about Apple's Developer program. To get access to app distribution and developer betas, you'll need to enroll in the company's $99/year developer membership.
Developers tend to get beta software first, but that software can be unstable and bug-prone. If you really want a sneak peek at Apple's new software, but don't want to take the risk of bricking your device on a developer seed, the company also offers a public beta program for its users.
You can sign up for the public beta by visiting beta.apple.com and clicking the Sign Up link, or — if you're already a public beta member — logging in with your Apple ID and password.
Designate devices — and back them up
While you can install beta software and develop on your primary Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, you risk rendering your devices inoperative. Before you do anything else, you're going to want to pick what devices you're using and make backups of each one.
Sadly, you can't currently back up your Apple TV, though I hope Apple releases a fix for this sometime in the future.
How to install beta versions of macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS
Here are our guides for installing the developer beta for Apple's operating systems.
- How to install the macOS Sierra developer beta
- How to install the iOS 10 developer beta
- How to install the watchOS 3 developer beta
- How to install the tvOS 10 developer beta
For public beta participants
Unfortunately, Apple does not currently offer watchOS and tvOS public betas at this time. (For good reason: There's no easy way to downgrade your device after updating them, which means if something goes wrong, you'd have to send it back to Apple.)
How to report bugs and send feedback
This process varies depending on whether you're a developer or a public beta participant.
For public beta participants
- How to report bugs and feedback for the iOS 10 public beta
- How to report bugs and feedback for the macOS Sierra public beta
How to downgrade from the beta
Need to return your development devices to a previous version of Apple's software? Here are our guides for downgrading your iPhone and Mac.
You can't currently downgrade your Apple Watch or Apple TV, so make sure you absolutely want those software betas before you install them.
Let us know in the comments.
- FAQ: Apple's beta software
- Should you run beta software?
- iOS 10 public beta: The ultimate guide
- macOS Sierra public beta: The ultimate guide
- iOS 10 developer beta: The ultimate guide
- macOS developer beta: The ultimate guide
- iOS 10: Everything you need to know
- macOS Sierra: Everything you need to know