Every June, Apple announces and demonstrates the next version of iOS for your iPhone, but the update itself doesn’t launch until the fall (usually around September). This year at WWDC, Apple announced iOS 16, which is packed with exciting new features like a customizable lock screen.
But what if you don’t want to wait that long to try out the new features? You need to install the beta!
In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps required to get the iOS 16 beta. We explain how to participate in Apple’s beta programs and how to install and run an iOS beta on your iPhone.
If you’d like to install the full public version of iOS 16 on your iPhone (not the beta), we’ll explain how to get iOS 16 on your iPhone in a separate article. But as mentioned before, you have to wait until the fall.
Updated 06-22-22: iOS 16 Developer Beta 2 is now available to registered developers. Historically, the first public beta comes about a week after the second developer beta, although that seems unlikely this year. Apple has only said that the public beta will arrive in July — Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has reported that it will likely arrive the week of July 11.
What’s new in the latest beta?
The first developer beta of iOS 16 gave us a pretty complete picture of the new features, with only a few minor things missing, but it was pretty buggy (as the first developer version often is). We’ll update this article with more details on the content of the second developer beta as we learn more about what’s changed.
How to install the iOS 16 developer beta
Each stage of the iOS 16 development cycle is rolled out first to developers and then to public beta testers. If you are a developer and want to test your apps with the most up-to-date version of the operating system, this is the version to use.
First, check if your device is compatible. Quickly read which iPhones can get iOS 16? (It’s actually the iPhone 8 and later.)
You must be registered as an Apple developer. Joining the Apple Developer Program costs $99 per year.
All done? Okay! Here’s how to install iOS 16 developer beta in eight easy steps:
In Safari on your iPhone, go to developer.apple.com and sign in with your Apple ID.
Go to the Downloads section (you’ll find it in the menu on the left), scroll down to iOS 16 beta and tap Install profilethen To accept†
Open the Settings app. You should see Profile downloaded at the top of the main screen – tap this. If you can’t see it, go to General † VPN and Device Management and tap there on the iOS 16 beta profile.
Tap to install in the top right corner to install iOS 16 beta profile.
Read the developer consent form and (assuming you agree to the terms) give your consent.
Restart your iPhone.
Go to Settings † General † software update, where you should see the iOS 16 beta available. Tap Download and install†
Wait for your iPhone to finish downloading the update, then tap to install if requested.
And if everything worked as it should, your iPhone is now running iOS 16 beta.
How to install iOS 16 public beta
This is the version of iOS 16 that most of us will be using before launch, as the developer beta, as the name suggests, is for developers only. But the public betas always lag behind the developer’s and start significantly later: the first public beta has not yet been released and won’t be released until July 2022.
When the iOS 16 public beta comes out, you can install it using the following instructions.
Click Sign In on the Apple Beta page and register with your Apple ID.
Log in to the Beta Software Program.
Click Enroll your iOS device. (If you signed up for the beta of an earlier version last year, you may need to delete the profile for that and then re-enroll in the new one.)
Go to beta.apple.com/profile on your iOS device.
Download and install the configuration profile.
You may need to go to Settings to enable the profile. Go to General † VPN and Device Management and tap there on the iOS 16 beta profile.
That makes the beta version available in the Settings app, under General † software update†
Can I get the developer beta if I’m not a developer?
If you are not a developer, but still want to install the developer beta, you can. Be warned that this is against Apple’s terms and conditions and needless to say it will completely exclude warranty support if something goes wrong.
You need to find and download a copy of the iOS 16 beta profile from a non-Apple site. Google is your friend here.
Once you have downloaded the profile, install the beta using the same method as mentioned above. You can jump to step 3.
What is a beta?
Betas are pre-release test versions. Every iOS update goes through the beta phase before it’s officially launched, from minor tweaks like 15.5.1 to the full version game-changers like iOS 16.
There are developer betas (for registered software developers only) and public betas (for anyone interested). Both types go through multiple versions – probably half a dozen – before a major launch.
Risks and Precautions
First of all, note that betas are test versions of upcoming software. They are unfinished by definition and while they should include most or all of the features in the final product, there will be cosmetic differences and inevitably some glitches and issues that need to be resolved. The glitches and issues are why Apple bothers testing iOS beta in the first place.
In other words, don’t expect a perfect user experience. Above all, don’t expect existing apps (including those you can rely on) to work perfectly with the new version. In extreme cases, you may even find that your device has been bricked by the beta and cannot be used until the next beta comes and hopefully fixes the problem. It’s not uncommon for early beta software to also have issues such as excessive battery drain.
At the time of writing we are extreme early in the beta cycle. Apple has only released the very first developer beta of iOS 16 and no public betas at all. (These will be released in July 2022, the company says.) The software is very likely to be unreliable, and you may want to wait a while before diving into it.
The closer we get to the final launch of iOS 16, the more polished and complete we can expect the available betas to become. Conversely, of course, there’s less time left to wait for the official launch, so you won’t gain as much by installing a beta.
Assuming you decide to proceed, we cannot stress enough the importance of backing up your iPhone before installing an iOS beta, or better yet, using a secondary device instead of your main iPhone. You won’t lose everything if something goes wrong while the beta is installing, and you can roll back to the latest version if you find that you don’t like the new software anyway, or that it has too many bugs.