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Tip: Get the iOS, macOS, and tvOS Betas Today

Posted June 5, 2018 | Apple | iOS | Mac and macOS | watchOS | Windows


Apple announced new versions of iOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS during its WWDC 2018 keynote yesterday. And even those not in Apple’s developer program can gain access to the first beta version of each, save watchOS.

Sorry, Apple Watch fans.

It wasn’t always this way: In years past, Apple restricted access to its platform beta to those developers and others who shelled out $99 a year to be in the Apple Developer Program. (Actually, it used to be even more expensive than that, as the iOS and macOS/OS X developer programs were separate back in the day.) I’ve paid this fee for many years in order to get early access to Apple’s beta OSes.

But now anyone can use beta versions of (most of) Apple’s platforms, for free. Apple has, for at least the past two years, provided open public beta programs as well. And for iOS 12, macOS Mojave, and tvOS12, they are launching at the same time as the private Apple Developer Program betas. (If you want to test watchOS 5 beta today, you will need to join the program.)

Is there a downside to doing so?

Honestly, it’s a better system than what Microsoft offers with the Windows Insider program. You can bow out at any time, and choose to revert to the previous (shipping) version of the software by backing up first. Or, simply stay on the beta version you’re currently using until the next public release ships.

While you should be cautious about any beta software—there are no guarantees here—I’ve always had good luck with Apple’s betas, and over many years. And there’s no impact on your warranty, Apple says.

To sign-up, open a web browser on the device you intend to test on, navigate to beta.apple.com, and sign-up/in with an Apple ID. There’s documentation for how to archive each system you have—iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and/or Mac—and then download and install each update.

I’ve already done this via the Apple Developer Program on my iPad Pro, iPad mini, and MacBook Air. (My subscription expires in July and this will be the first year I won’t renew it.) But any reader of this site who is interested in Apple’s announcements is likely technical enough to do so via the public beta site as well.

 

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