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Report reaffirms you’ll need to pay to install early iOS 17 betas

Published Feb 20th, 2023 8:50AM EST
iPhone 14 Display
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Installing the first iOS beta release right after the WWDC keynote ends is something many iPhone fans have done for years. The first developer beta is often buggy and unreliable, yet iPhone users can’t wait to get their hands on it. However, things will change with the iOS 17 beta release because Apple plans to make the first iOS 17 developer beta much harder to install. Going forward, only iPhone users with developer accounts will be able to run iOS beta releases that are not intended for the public.

The more stable iOS beta that targets the general public typically comes about a month later after the developer beta. That’s also about a month later after the WWDC keynote. Apple then continues to release developer and public betas concurrently, with each release offering the same features across channels.

Currently, you can sign up for either release with relative ease. The developer beta officially requires access to a developer account. But you can install the profile from the internet that gives you access to the latest iOS 16 beta release. The public beta route is the easier one. You sign up with Apple, and that’s it.

In either case, the beta releases will then roll out to your iPhone for as long as you want to test them.

iPhones showing various iOS 16 features.
iPhones showing various iOS 16 features. Image source: Apple Inc.

But, as Mark Gurman points out, Apple made a big change with iOS 16.4 which will impact the iOS 17 beta experience directly. This is in line with what we reported earlier.

Apple will now restrict the first iOS beta releases to developers. From the looks of it, you won’t be able to circumvent the new requirements. The first iOS 17 beta will probably be available to developers soon after WWDC. But there won’t be any developer profiles to install from the internet for non-developers to get in early.

By enforcing this policy, Apple ensures that only developers get access to the first iOS and iPadOS releases. However, anyone willing to pay $99 a year to get into Apple’s developer program will be able to install the first iOS 17 beta as early as real developers.

Overall, this isn’t such a big deal. The first iOS 17 public beta release will drop in mid-July, delivering a more stable experience than the first developer release. That’s the iOS 17 beta you’ll want to install on your iPhone.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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