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When Apple released the first iOS 17 beta to developers, for the first time it gave non-developers the opportunity to download beta software updates on their iPhones for free. Keep reading to learn how it's done.

General-iOS-17-Feature-Blue-Green.jpg

In years past when Apple has announced a major new operating system update, the first wave of betas has officially only been available to download if you are a paying subscriber to Apple's Developer Program, which costs $99 a year. Public betas then become available to users enrolled in Apple's Public Beta Software Program after a delay of a few days or weeks after the developer beta has been released. However, since iOS 17, iPhone users no longer have to wait for a publicly released beta to test what's new.

In an unexpected change for 2023, anyone who signs in to Apple's developer account website with their Apple ID gets access to developer beta releases as well, even if they are not a paying member of Apple's Developer Program. This means anyone with an Apple ID can download and install the iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma betas without waiting for the public betas to launch.

Is My iPhone Compatible With iOS 17?

Note that iOS 17 is compatible with the iPhone XS and newer, meaning that support has been dropped for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. For a full list, iOS 17 supports the following iPhone models:
  • iPhone 14
  • iPhone 14 Plus
  • iPhone 14 Pro
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 mini
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation or later)

Should I Install iOS 17 Developer Beta?

Before downloading the update, it's worth noting that Apple does not recommend installing iOS 17 beta updates on your main iPhone, so if you have a secondary device, use that. This is beta software, which means there are often bugs and issues that pop up that can prevent software from working properly or cause other problems.

Make an Archived Backup of Your Device First

Before installing the beta, make sure to back up your iOS device before installing the software using the following method, otherwise you won't be able to revert back to iOS 16 if things go wrong.
  1. Plug your iPhone into your Mac using the supplied cable.
  2. Allow the accessory to connect by clicking Allow in the dialog prompt.
  3. Open a Finder window by clicking the Finder icon in the Dock.
  4. Click your iOS device's name in the sidebar.
    archived-backup2.jpg

    If this is the first time connecting your device to your Mac, click Trust in the Finder window.
    archived-backup1.jpg

    Tap Trust on your device when prompted, then enter your passcode to confirm.
  5. In the General tab, click the circle next to where it says Back up all of the data on your iPad to this Mac.
  6. If you want to encrypt the backup, check the box next to Encrypt local backup, then enter a password to protect your data.
  7. If you don't want to create an encrypted backup, or you've already set up encrypted backups, click Back Up Now.
    archived-backup3.jpg
When the backup is finished, you can find the date and time of the last backup in the General tab, just above the Manage Backups button. Remember that this backup will not be overwritten when you manually or automatically back up your iPhone in the future, so you can restore it at any time by using the Restore Backup... option in the same Finder screen.

How to Download iOS 17 Developer Betas

As of writing, the option to download and install the iOS 17 Developer Beta is also available for users who have previously enrolled on Apple's Beta Software Program, and yet the program is officially only supposed to be for Public Betas. This suggests the option is a bug and Apple will likely remove it. But until that happens, if you're currently enrolled to receive Public Betas, you can skip to step 6.
Open Safari on your iPhone and visit developer.apple.com.
[*]Tap the menu icon in the top-left corner of the page, then tap Account.
[*]Under "Sign in to Apple Developer," enter and submit your Apple ID and password using the arrow buttons, then enter the two-factor authentication code sent to your devices.
install-ios-beta-1.jpg

Tap the top-left menu icon again, then tap Account.
[*]Accept the legal terms of the Apple Developer Agreement by scrolling down the page, checking the box, and tapping I Agree.
install-ios-beta-2.jpg

Make sure your iPhone is running iOS 16.4 or later by going to Settings -> General -> Software Update. If it is, and you have just completed steps 1-5 to register a developer account, restart your iPhone. If it isn't, download and install the latest update to your device, then wait for it to restart.
[*]Now go back to Settings -> General -> Software Update.
[*]Tap Beta Updates. If you don't see the option, try switching off Download iOS Updates (Automatic Updates -> Download iOS Updates), then tap Back and it should appear.
[*]Select iOS 17 Developer Beta in the list, then tap Back.
Wait for the Software Update screen to check Apple's servers. When the iOS 17 Developer... Click here to read rest of article

Article Link: How to Install iOS 17 Beta Software Updates on Your iPhone
 
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winxmac

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2021
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What's with the click here to see more of the content?

Did Apple have a change of heart after making changes on who can access iOS 16 developer beta that now they are allowing the public to access the iOS 17 developer beta for free?
 

lkrupp

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Jul 24, 2004
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If you need instructions to install a beta release then it’s likely you are not competent to do so. There are posts after posts from users who’ve been hosed by a beta, lost data and don’t know what to do.

In my very personal opinion I think it’s a disservice to publish such instructions knowing it will cause untold misery to large numbers of unskilled users, many of which are doing it not to actually test and report issues, but to have bragging rights. But this is just me.
 

nickelro

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Nov 11, 2013
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I am enrolled on beta.apple.com since a few years now and I didn't have to go to developer.apple.com to accept the legal terms - I just tapped Beta Updates and all three Beta versions were there to choose from.
 

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neuropsychguy

macrumors 68020
Sep 29, 2008
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If you need instructions to install a beta release then it’s likely you are not competent to do so.
That's awfully harsh. I like having the instructions. Not because I'm incompetent but because it gives me a guide to follow. I'm not going to install the beta software on my phone but that's not because I couldn't manage it. I do a lot of Terminal work for my research. I look up how to do things all the time, even if I've done them for years. It's not because of incompetence, it's because I want to make sure I do everything correctly.

Surgeons use checklists (which are essentially instructions), not because they are incompetent but because they want to make sure they get everything right.

People need to understand there are risks with beta software but if someone installs it and it breaks something, it's an opportunity for that person to learn.
 

timmyh

Contributing Editor
Mar 18, 2016
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Edinburgh, UK
I am enrolled on beta.apple.com since a few years now and I didn't have to go to developer.apple.com to accept the legal terms - I just tapped Beta Updates and all three Beta versions are there to choose from.

Indeed that seems to be the case for many. As mentioned in the article, if you've previously been enrolled in the beta program, you can skip the initial few steps.
 
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Marshall73

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Apr 20, 2015
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I have all of my devices on the new betas now (Mac, iPhone, iPad, TV, watch). Guessing they are so stable because the changes are fairly minor this year.
 

blodyholy

macrumors regular
Dec 5, 2012
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I'm still in the group who thinks this was an error on Apples part, going back to 16.5 (no mention from Apple about this then). Given Apples sizeable userbase of arguably non-tech people who may for whatever reason (curiosity, accidentally, etc) install this, it just doesn't make sense. Why have a Dev and Public release?
 

mattopotamus

macrumors G5
Jun 12, 2012
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I'm still in the group who thinks this was an error on Apples part, going back to 16.5 (no mention from Apple about this then). Given Apples sizeable userbase of arguably non-tech people who may for whatever reason (curiosity, accidentally, etc), this just doesn't make sense. Why have a Dev and Public release?

Possibly, it might have been hard to kick off people who already had the beta profile installed with the way they were delivering new updates and not requiring you to download a new profile or each subsequent iOS.
 

tomnavratil

macrumors 6502a
Oct 2, 2013
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That's awfully harsh. I like having the instructions. Not because I'm incompetent but because it gives me a guide to follow. I'm not going to install the beta software on my phone but that's not because I couldn't manage it. I do a lot of Terminal work for my research. I look up how to do things all the time, even if I've done them for years. It's not because of incompetence, it's because I want to make sure I do everything correctly.

Surgeons use checklists (which are essentially instructions), not because they are incompetent but because they want to make sure they get everything right.

People need to understand there are risks with beta software but if someone installs it and it breaks something, it's an opportunity for that person to learn.

Well I agree with the OP that it's not to be honest. The main reason being, there is already a Public Beta for exactly the point you are making in your argument. These are Developer Betas and should be treated as such.

I bet you that most people installing the Developer Betas have no idea what they should actually do with them and will treat them as cool new feature betas rather than gather feedback and properly report it.

Also, many people will get their phones broken due to compatibility issues, missing updates from apps and so on and will have no idea what to do, which could result in them restoring the phone completely from macOS or iCloud and then - probably - blaming Apple for that.

There are 2 separate tracks for a reason and general public should really stick to the public beta to be completely honest.
 

tomnavratil

macrumors 6502a
Oct 2, 2013
876
1,588
I'm still in the group who thinks this was an error on Apples part, going back to 16.5 (no mention from Apple about this then). Given Apples sizeable userbase of arguably non-tech people who may for whatever reason (curiosity, accidentally, etc) install this, it just doesn't make sense. Why have a Dev and Public release?

Exactly, I hope they revert this as there's no reason for general public to use this track over the Public track.
 
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JosephAW

macrumors 603
May 14, 2012
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Would try it out on my iPhone 8 Plus 256 but it's been demoted by Apple. :rolleyes:
 

bLackjackj

macrumors 6502a
Nov 14, 2016
792
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In my very personal opinion I think it’s a disservice to publish such instructions knowing it will cause untold misery to large numbers of unskilled users, many of which are doing it not to actually test and report issues, but to have bragging rights.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with installing this beta. I have and it's absolutely fantastic. Feels a lot snappier! If your skilled enough to use an iPhone, your skilled enough to install this update 🤦‍♂️
 

UltimateSyn

macrumors 601
Mar 3, 2008
4,804
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Massachusetts
If you need instructions to install a beta release then it’s likely you are not competent to do so. There are posts after posts from users who’ve been hosed by a beta, lost data and don’t know what to do.

In my very personal opinion I think it’s a disservice to publish such instructions knowing it will cause untold misery to large numbers of unskilled users, many of which are doing it not to actually test and report issues, but to have bragging rights. But this is just me.
The method has changed - knowing the new method is not information that any of us were communicated telepathically. It’s good to have instructions.
 

ghostface147

macrumors 601
May 28, 2008
4,158
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It's a bit too early to jump on the wagon. Maybe late August is when I'll jump on. Right now it's all about getting feedback and making changes and bug fixing. By late August, it'll just be bug fixes.
 
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blodyholy

macrumors regular
Dec 5, 2012
170
203
Iowa
I'll add that I'm running 17 on a 13 Pro. No real issues w/the OS and stock apps.

The only noticable 3rd party issue is with RealVNC/RVNC Viewer. There is some slight stuttering and odd resizing switching from portrait to landscape.
 

mattopotamus

macrumors G5
Jun 12, 2012
14,666
5,879
Well I agree with the OP that it's not to be honest. The main reason being, there is already a Public Beta for exactly the point you are making in your argument. These are Developer Betas and should be treated as such.

I bet you that most people installing the Developer Betas have no idea what they should actually do with them and will treat them as cool new feature betas rather than gather feedback and properly report it.

Also, many people will get their phones broken due to compatibility issues, missing updates from apps and so on and will have no idea what to do, which could result in them restoring the phone completely from macOS or iCloud and then - probably - blaming Apple for that.

There are 2 separate tracks for a reason and general public should really stick to the public beta to be completely honest.

I partially agree with that, but this isn't your typical "beta" from any tech company. These have been stable releases for 5+ years. I think the idea of the beta is actually more intimidating and risky sounding than it actually is. I've had brand new phones with more glitches than the 17 beta.
 
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