We show how to install the iOS 13 developer or public beta on your iPhone or iPad so you can try out its new features ahead of general release
iOS, Apple’s iPhone & iPad operating system, gets a major free update every year which is announced in June but not released to the public until September (the latest is iOS 13, whose final release date will be announced at the iPhone 11 launch event). But what if you don’t want to wait to try out the new features? You need to install a beta. (Note: this article is about installing the beta of iOS 13, if you want to install the final version then read: How to get iOS 13 on my iPhone.)
Betas are pre-release testing versions of every new iOS update – the small tweaks and security patches as well as game-changers such as iOS 13. Developer betas are sent out to software developers (obviously), but there’s also a public beta programme.
In this article we explain how to join one of these beta programmes, and how to install and run an iOS beta on your iPhone or iPad.
Risks and precautions
Note that these betas are test versions – unfinished versions of iOS with pretty much all the features that will make it into the official build, but probably a few cosmetic differences… not to mention some glitches and problems that will need to be fixed.
In other words, don’t expect a perfect user experience. In particular, don’t expect existing apps (ones that you may rely on, and which may have worked great with the previous version of iOS) to work perfectly with the new version. You may even find that your device is effectively bricked until the next beta comes out and fixes the problem.
This close to launch, the available beta versions should be pretty polished and feature-complete – but the counter to that is that there’s hardly any time left to wait, so you won’t be gaining much by installing a beta.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to back up your device before you download and install a beta version of iOS, or better still, use a secondary device that isn’t your main iPhone or iPad to try the beta. You won’t lose everything if something goes wrong while the beta is installing, and you’ll be able to go back to the last version should you find that you don’t like the new software after all, or that it’s too buggy.
It’s a risky operation, but getting the iOS beta will give you some serious bragging rights among your Apple-loving friends, and let you decide for yourself whether you like the new features, so maybe it’s a price worth paying…
How to get the developer beta
If you know what you’re getting into and still want to join the developer beta programme to get the most up-to-date beta versions for testing and the like, you need to register as an Apple developer. Joining the iOS Developer Program costs £79/$99 a year.
There are two ways to install the dev beta: over the air, and via iTunes. We break down both methods below.Trending Articles
Install iOS 13 developer beta over-the-air
Here’s how to get the iOS 13 developer beta:
- On your iOS device, head to the Apple Developer Program website and sign in with your Apple ID.
- Go to the Download sections and scroll down to Featured Downloads.
- Tap the blue Download icon next to the iOS 13 beta.
- Select the appropriate profile for your device, and install it.
- Restart your device.
- Go to Settings > General > Software Update and download the iOS 13 beta.
Install iOS 13 developer beta via iTunes
- Install the latest version of iTunes and the Xcode 11 beta on your Mac.
- Go to Apple’s developer site and sign in with your Apple ID.
- Register your Apple device’s UDID (the easiest way to find out your UDID is to plug the device into iTunes, click on the device’s icon in the top right-hand corner, view the Summary tab and click on the Serial Number entry to get it to change to the UDID).
- Now you’ll be able to download the appropriate version of the iOS beta for your hardware – select the exact iPhone, iPod touch or iPad model you’re using from the list.
- Unzip the file that downloads to your Mac (this should produce a .IPSW file).
- Connect your device to iTunes (if it isn’t already) and tap the iOS device icon int he top-left.
- Hold the Option key (on a Mac – it’s Shift on a PC) and click the Restore iPhone button on the device’s Summary tab (next to Check for Update).
- Select the .IPSW file from the previous step, and tap Open.
- The iOS beta will be installed on your iPad or iPhone after a few minutes.
How to get the public beta
The iOS 13 public beta has now launched. If you would like to get your hands on it, you will need to sign up by following these instructions.
- Click Sign Up on the Apple Beta page and register with your Apple ID.
- Log in to the Beta Software Program.
- Click Enrol your iOS device. (If you signed up for a previous version’s beta last year you may need to uninstall the profile for that and then re-enrol for the new one.)
- Go to beta.apple.com/profile on your iOS device.
- Download and install the configuration profile.
- That will make the beta version available in the Settings app, under General, Software Update.
How to get the developer beta if you’re not a developer
The beta version you’ll get on your device if you’re using the public beta discussed below won’t be the most up-to-date version that developers have been testing. If you’re desperate to have the latest build, there is another option available. Before we begin the how to, it’s worth noting that once you update, none of the personal data accumulated on the firmware will be restorable if you later decide to downgrade again.
An easy way to get around this issue is to manually back up your device via iTunes before you upgrade, then exclusively use iCloud for backup once the upgrade is complete. This way, if you need to downgrade, you’ll have a backup available – granted, it won’t be the most up-to-date backup, but it’s a better option than completely losing everything.
Step 1: Download the latest beta. These are usually released via the Apple Developers Portal, but you have to pay £79/$99 a year to access this service (as discussed above). However there are also other sources that will supply users with the betas, with UDID.co being one of the most popular online resources. It’s important to consider carefully whether signing up to the Developer Beta this way is the right thing for you to do.
There are many versions of the beta available, and it’s important to download the corresponding beta for your device – if you download the wrong beta, iTunes will first wipe the old version of iOS from your device before informing you that it’s unable to install the selected iOS beta, which forces the device into DFU mode and requires a complete restore to fix. Some sites provide a service that uses your devices serial number to identify the correct beta to download.