Apple’s developer betas are now free to download and install

 

Today, Apple updated its developer program to allow anyone access to the beta operating systems. Pointed out by user iSoftware Updates on Twitter and confirmed by Apple’s developer program comparison page, OS beta releases can be installed without needing to pay the annual $99 fee for the Apple Developer Program. This means that eager users will be able to install the various betas starting today, including iOS 17, for free versus having to wait until July for the public beta.

Earlier today, Apple “accidentally” released the iOS 17 beta to the public, allowing those who weren’t part of the developer program access. This may have been an intentional move by Apple to prepare for the bigger change, allowing anyone access to the beta program.

 

​​Earlier this year, Apple made a change to how it distributes betas to developers. Previously, developers had to download and install a configuration profile on a per-device basis. But the system now allows users to install betas by simply checking an option within the software update settings directly on their devices. Despite the change, Apple still required you to pay $99 per year in order to gain access to the developer betas. Now, users that don’t want to pay the fee won’t have to wait for the public beta, which was always available for free but typically is released later than developer betas. This year, Apple says the public betas should arrive in July.

We highly discourage running betas on your main devices as there can be bugs and issues, especially early on in the cycle. These betas are intended for developers, who typically have secondary devices to test their applications against the new software. Certain betas, such as watchOS 10, tvOS 17, HomePod 17, and AirPods betas prevent you from rolling back to public, stable software. For those platforms, as soon as you install the beta, you’ll be stuck on it until the next public release comes out, which is typically available later in the fall. Definitely install these betas at your own risk. But those who aren’t risk-averse can download these now.

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