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How to install the public betas of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14

iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 are now available as a public beta and you can download and install them. The process of installing them all is similar. We’ll discuss what’s new and how to get the betas on your devices.

Unless you’re enrolled in Apple’s developer program, this is your first chance to try out the new software in beta. These betas will be updated periodically, culminating in the final release, which we expect to be released at the end of the summer. It’s usually timed for the new hardware announcements that Apple usually makes at the September annual event, but given that the coronavirus pandemic has turned most things upside down, it’s hard to say whether this year’s cadence is on a similar track.

Before we start, the usual warning word about beta software: These releases may seem stable for general use, but they may contain bugs that cannot be crushed until the final releases are released later in 2020. So unless you don’t mind throwing the dice with app functionality and other issues that can affect your device’s battery life and other critical functions, perhaps the best thing to wait, no matter how hard, is.

We’ve included some of the issues we’ve encountered during our time with each of the public betas. Your experience may vary, but if you decide to install it never hurts to backup the data on your device first.

What you need to know about iOS 14 before installing the beta

iOS 14 is full of changes, both big and small. The most noticeable shifts you might be looking forward to are the new widgets on the redesigned iPhone home screen and the app library feature that automatically organizes apps based on their categories. Picture-in-picture is also coming to iPhones in iOS 14, so you can easily watch a video without getting in the way of important phone stuff.

There’s a lot more to come in iOS 14, including more expressive Memoji, cycling routes in Apple Maps, and revised group messages in Messages. Apple is likely to add more features as the public beta gets closer to full release later in the year.

Problems we have encountered so far

iOS 14 has been polished, although we’ve had a few issues with it so far. The phone app crashed a few times on incoming calls and some other apps generally crash more than in the stable iOS 13 build.

During the private developer preview, apps like LinkedIn, Reddit, and TikTok were caught automatically copying users’ clipboards with every keystroke. Some testers have been made aware of this thanks to a new feature in iOS 14 that notifies users when this happens. Every company has pledged to fix their code to prevent this, although we expect this to be an ongoing issue that we’ll likely see more of until the official launch of iOS 14.

How to install the iOS 14 beta

  • Go to Apple’s beta software portal from your phone’s Safari browser
  • Select ‘Enroll your devices’ at the top of the webpage (you may have to scroll horizontally to find it)
  • Select ‘iOS’, the left-most option on the next page. Doing so will reveal a reminder to ensure that you have sent a backup copy of the contents of your phone to your macOS computer, in case you need to revert to a previous state.
  • Scroll down until you find a button that says ‘Download Profile’ and tap it. This gives a warning that the website is trying to download a configuration profile. Select ‘Allow’. You will get a pop-up window saying you can set up the new profile through the Settings app.
  • Open the Settings app. At the top, a new section called “Profile Downloaded” should be added. Select it and you can access the beta software download.

What you need to know about iPadOS 14 before installing it

Last year’s iPadOS version was the first time iOS got good customization for the big screens with several tablet-specific features. This year’s version, called iPadOS 14, brings more refinements and borrows some of the key features coming to iOS 14.

Today view in iPadOS 14 supports widgets, and several apps are getting Apple’s new Sidebar feature, which aims to make apps easier to navigate. The Apple Pencil gets some major updates in the latest software with a feature called Scribble that displays what you write in any text field with the Apple Pencil. It can also display multi-language handwriting on iPad.

Problems we have encountered so far

At the time of publication, we had not encountered any major problems.

How to download the iPadOS 14 beta

  • Go to Apple’s beta software portal via your iPad’s Safari browser
  • Click on ‘Enroll your devices’ at the top of the webpage (you may have to scroll horizontally to find it)
  • Click on “iPadOS”, the second option from the left on the next page. Doing so will reveal a reminder to back up to your macOS computer first in case you need to restore your operating system to a previous state.
  • Scroll down until you find a button that says ‘Download Profile’ and select it. This may produce a warning saying that the website is trying to download a configuration profile. Select ‘Allow’. You will get a pop-up window saying you can set up the new profile through the Settings app.
  • Open the Settings app and a new section called “Profile Downloaded” should be added at the top. Select it and you should have access to the beta software download.
  • Finally, if nothing prompts you to start the download, open the Settings app, go to General and search for “Software Update” to install the beta software