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Apple won’t let you install iOS developer betas anymore unless you pay $99

Published Feb 17th, 2023 8:20AM EST
Apple Developer beta profile iOS 16.4
Image: José Adorno for BGR

With iOS bringing more features every year but also becoming more reliable, many Apple users started downloading an iOS beta profile to their main devices. Especially after WWDC keynotes, many non-developers download the first beta of upcoming operating systems to show they have the latest features.

Since developer beta profiles are meant for developers to test, Apple decided to make a change. The company will make it easier for developers to try the latest iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS features by adding a simple toggle at the Software Update tab.

But the Cupertino firm will also lock this experience to registered Apple IDs on the Apple Developer Program. That means if you don’t pay $99/year for a developer license, you won’t be able to download the developer beta profiles.

With iOS 16.4 beta 1, Apple explains how the new beta testing experience for developers will work:

Beginning with iOS & iPadOS 16.4 beta, members of the Apple Developer Program will see a new option to enable developer betas directly from Software Update in Settings. This new option will be automatically enabled on devices already enrolled in the program that update to the latest beta release. Your iPhone or iPad must be signed in with the same Apple ID you used to enroll in the Apple Developer Program in order to see this option in Settings. In future iOS and iPadOS releases, this new setting will be the way to enable developer betas and configuration profiles will no longer grant access.

Is it the end of iOS beta testing for all users?

Actually, no. Apple is just limiting the developer’s beta to developers. Sometimes, a beta version has a critical error or can even break someone else’s device. Usually, developers have a spare iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac, and Apple TV to try the upcoming features without interfering with their main devices.

Unaware regular users, on the other hand, can lose access to important features and apps depending on the bug affecting a beta version. For example, when Apple introduces a major iOS version, sometimes the beta update breaks the phone app, you lose bank app access, or your favorite mobile game just crashes due to incompatibility with some API.

Separating the developer’s beta from the public beta helps Apple avoid headaches regarding its users. That said, if you still want to try the latest betas, Apple offers the Public Beta Program, which even includes HomePod updates now.

José Adorno
José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin American broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.