iOS 17 is upon us. The new software introduces features like Live Voicemail, the ability to turn anything into a sticker, and StandBy, which turns your iPhone into a mini smart display. It isn’t ready quite yet, though — Apple always kicks off a new software release with the developer-only beta first, rolling out a public beta later for all other interested testers the following month. This year, however, Apple made the first iOS 17 developer beta available for anyone that wants to try it. But should you?
Why is the iOS 17 developer beta available for everyone?
Honestly? No clue. It could be a bug, but since developer betas for macOS Sonoma and watchOS 10 are similarly available, it seems deliberate.
In the past, to install an Apple developer beta, you needed to be enrolled in the Apple Developer Program. You could find developer beta profiles online, but Apple nixed that by having developers enroll into betas directly on their devices starting with iOS 16.4.
This year, however, as long as you simply sign into Apple’s developer site with your Apple ID, you’ll be able to access the developer beta on your iPhone. The same goes for anyone who has enrolled their device in the public beta program in the past. Go figure.
You might not want to install the iOS 17 beta
First, a word of caution: Beta software is, by definition, unfinished. This is the period where iOS 17 is good enough to leave Apple’s immediate circle, but not ready for the general public to use. In fact, we’re at the first stage of the beta cycle, the developer beta, designed specifically for software developers to get a head start testing the new OS with their apps.
All that to say, there’s no guarantee this iOS 17 beta will run smoothly. There’s actually a solid chance it won’t. For that reason, it’s not recommended you install the beta on your main iPhone. You could experience zero issues, some minor glitches, or some iPhone-breaking bugs. There’s no way to tell before installing it, which makes the smarter move to either install the beta on a secondary device, or, if you don’t have one, to avoid the beta altogether or at least wait until Apple drops the public beta next month.
Things are going great on iOS 17 Beta 1… pic.twitter.com/3Efdx0mUt3
— Brandon Butch (@BrandonButch) June 7, 2023
Of course, there’s no law against installing the beta on your primary iPhone. If you do go ahead with the installation, make sure all your important data is backed up somewhere secure, ideally to your computer via Finder (or iTunes on Windows and older versions of macOS). That way, if you need to downgrade back to iOS 16.5 for any reason, all your data from before installing the beta will be preserved. That said, you might lose data you added since installing the beta. Again, it’s risky business.
How to install the iOS 17 developer beta
To install the iOS 17 beta, you need to have a compatible iPhone. This year, that starts with iPhone XS and newer. Apple cut the iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus from the herd, destined to run on iOS 16 forever.
If you’ve previously enrolled your iPhone in Apple’s beta program, skip down a paragraph. Otherwise, head to developer.apple.com. Tap the menu in the top left, choose “Account,” then enter the Apple ID and password you use for your iPhone to sign in. Head back to the Account menu again, then accept the terms of the Apple Developer Agreement by tapping “I Agree.”
Head to Settings > General > Software Update and make sure your iPhone is fully up to date. If not, update. If so, restart your iPhone. Either way, head back to Settings > General > Software Update, then hit Beta Updates. Here, you should see “iOS 17 Developer Beta” as an option. Tap it, hit “Back,” then allow the page to refresh. When “iOS 17 Developer Beta” is available, hit “Download and Install” to proceed.
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