Tip: Get the iOS, macOS, and tvOS Betas (Updated)

Posted on June 5, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, iOS, Mac and macOS with 11 Comments

Tip: Get the iOS, macOS, and tvOS Betas Today

Update: Apologies, the public versions of iOS 12, macOS Mojave, and tvOS12 will be available “soon,” Apple says. They are available immediately to those in the official Apple Developer Program. Sorry for the confusion. —Paul

Apple announced new versions of iOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS during its WWDC 2018 keynote yesterday. And even those not in Apple’s developer program can gain access to the first beta version of each, save watchOS.

Sorry, Apple Watch fans.

It wasn’t always this way: In years past, Apple restricted access to its platform beta to those developers and others who shelled out $99 a year to be in the Apple Developer Program. (Actually, it used to be even more expensive than that, as the iOS and macOS/OS X developer programs were separate back in the day.) I’ve paid this fee for many years in order to get early access to Apple’s beta OSes.

But now anyone can use beta versions of (most of) Apple’s platforms, for free. Apple has, for at least the past two years, provided open public beta programs as well. And for iOS 12, macOS Mojave, and tvOS12, they are launching at the same time as the private Apple Developer Program betas. (If you want to test watchOS 5 beta today, you will need to join the program.)

Is there a downside to doing so?

Honestly, it’s a better system than what Microsoft offers with the Windows Insider program. You can bow out at any time, and choose to revert to the previous (shipping) version of the software by backing up first. Or, simply stay on the beta version you’re currently using until the next public release ships.

While you should be cautious about any beta software—there are no guarantees here—I’ve always had good luck with Apple’s betas, and over many years. And there’s no impact on your warranty, Apple says.

To sign-up, open a web browser on the device you intend to test on, navigate to beta.apple.com, and sign-up/in with an Apple ID. There’s documentation for how to archive each system you have—iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and/or Mac—and then download and install each update.

I’ve already done this via the Apple Developer Program on my iPad Pro, iPad mini, and MacBook Air. (My subscription expires in July and this will be the first year I won’t renew it.) But any reader of this site who is interested in Apple’s announcements is likely technical enough to do so via the public beta site as well.


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