Apple releases public betas for new iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Watch software. How to sign up

After months of developer testing, users can now download the first public beta versions of iOS 17, iPadOS 17, watchOS 10, macOS Sonoma, and more. Here's how and what to know.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor
iPhone 14 Pro in a red background
June Wan/ZDNET

Apple today opened up public beta access to its latest software versions, including iOS 17, iPadOS 17, macOS Sonoma, tvOS 17, watchOS 10. 

By enrolling in the Apple Beta Software Program, users can get a first taste of upcoming features and test-drive pre-released software that will eventually make its way to the brand's various products in the fall.

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The sign-up process is relatively straightforward. You first register for the Apple Beta Software Program with your Apple ID. After agreeing to the terms and conditions, you can enroll eligible devices, which include recent iPhone models, iPads, Apple Watches, Macs, and more. Shortly after, the public beta versions should appear in your device's Software Update settings tab.

But, before downloading any pre-released software onto your device(s), there are a few cautionary pointers that you should know of:

  • Public betas serve as testing grounds for incomplete software, so there's always a risk of bugs, performance issues, and weaker battery life. That's why it's not advised to download beta versions onto primary devices.
  • It's always best to back up your data either to the cloud or locally. This way, you can revert back to more stable software if needed.
  • Double-check any smart home accessories and services to make sure they're functioning, both before and after you download the beta versions.

The good news is that most software problems are often fleshed out during the developer beta phase, which ZDNET's team of subject experts has been testing over the past month. Stay tuned for our hands-on coverage coming soon.

In the meantime, if you're eager to experience the newest features coming to Apple devices, and even play a role in the refinement process over the coming months, you can start enrolling in the Beta Software Program today

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