Those with free Apple developer accounts will finally have access to developer trials of the company’s latest software at the same time as those who pay. indicated by the user iSoftware updates on Twitter and confirmed it Apple developer software comparison pageOS beta builds can now be installed without having to pay the $99/year Apple Developer Program fee. This means that enthusiast users will be able to install various betas starting today, including iOS 17, for free in exchange for having to wait until July for the public beta. That is, as long as they have an Apple Developer account.
After yesterday’s WWDC, Apple released the iOS 17 developer beta, and unlike in previous years, those on the free tier now have access. While it previously appeared as if opening access to free accounts meant that the public could also download them, we now understand that not everyone can access the developer beta. You’ll need an Apple ID or an account in the Developer Program. However, the $99 barrier to entry has been removed.
Earlier this year, Apple made a change to how betas are distributed to developers. Previously, developers had to download and install a configuration profile on a per-device basis. But the system now allows users to install beta versions simply by selecting an option under the software update settings directly on their device. Despite the change, Apple still requires you to pay $99 per year in order to access developer betas. Now, users who don’t want to pay the fee won’t have to wait for the public beta, which has always been available for free but is usually released after the developer beta. This year, Apple says public betas should arrive in July.
We strongly discourage running betas on your main devices as there can be bugs and issues, especially early in the cycle. These betas are for developers, who typically own secondary devices to test their apps against new software. Some betas, like those for watchOS 10, tvOS 17, HomePod 17, and AirPods, prevent you from downgrading to public firmware. For these platforms, once you install the beta, you’ll be stuck with it until the next public release, which is usually available later in the fall. Definitely install these trial versions at your own risk. But those who are not averse to risk and are part of the developer program can download it right now.
Update (10:15 p.m. ET): This article has been updated to clarify that while developer betas are now available to those with free accounts, it was no accident, nor is it open to just anyone. You’ll need an Apple ID or an account associated with the developer program to download the developer beta.
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