Download iOS 16 Beta on Your iPhone: What to Know Before You Install

    The iOS 16 public beta is here, and now anyone with a compatible iPhone can now download it and try it out on their iPhone. It’s fairly simple to install it, and it’s free, too. If you’re excited to try out any of iOS 16’s new features (like Lockdown Mode or customizable lock screens), your wait is over.

    In June, Apple released the iOS 16 developer beta around its developer conference, but not many people were eligible to download and install the software. Developer betas require an Apple Developer Program membership, which is $100 a year, and they’re also not recommended for everyday use, unless you’re a developer testing out software, because developer betas can be super buggy, and make your phone more difficult to use.

    Apple has now released the public beta for iOS 16, which should be a little more stable. All you need to do is sign up for the Apple Beta Software program, enroll your device and install a config profile to get iOS 16 beta on your device. Here’s how. 

    For more, here’s a look at the redesigned and customizable lock screen on iOS 16, and a couple of the new Apple Maps features.

    Before you start, back up your iPhone

    Getting your hands on prereleased software can be exciting, but there are precautions you should take before updating. All prereleased software like iOS 16 beta may contain bugs and other issues that can make your device more difficult to use, which is why you should back up your device in case you want to revert back to iOS 15.

    By default, your iPhone should back itself up every time it’s connected to power and Wi-Fi during your regular sleep hours. However, if this backup feature is disabled, you can go to Settings > Your Name > iCloud > iCloud Backup and then hit Back Up Now to back up your device.

    Backup page on iPhone

    You can (and should) also back up your iPhone on your Mac.

    Screenshot by Nelson Aguilar/CNET

    Additionally, you can back up your iPhone via Finder on your Mac. Simply connect your device to your computer, open Finder, choose your device and then create a backup. Apple also recommends archiving your backup, so that it’s not overwritten by other backups.

    Sign up for the Apple Beta Software Program

    Once your device is backed up, it’s time to sign up for the Apple Beta Software Program, which allows anyone to try out prereleased software for free, to provide feedback to Apple on quality, usability and issues. Currently, you can test out iOS 16 beta on any compatible Apple device (iPhone 8 and later).

    To enroll in the Apple Beta Software Program:

    1. Go to the Apple Beta Software Program website on your iPhone.

    2. Tap the blue Sign Up button at the bottom of the page.

    3. Use Face ID or Touch ID to log in to the Apple ID that is attached to your iPhone.

    4. Read and accept the Apple Beta Software Program Agreement.

    On the page that appears next, scroll down to Get Started and tap enroll your iOS device, which should be hyperlinked in the paragraph that appears. That will take you to another page, where Apple will lay out everything you need to do to download and install iOS 16 beta on your iPhone.

    Apple Beta Software Program home page

    Signing up for the Apple Beta Software Program is free.

    Screenshot by Nelson Aguilar/CNET

    Install the iOS 16 beta configuration profile

    If you scroll down this page, you’ll see a section called Install Profile. To download and install the iOS 16 beta on your device, you must now install a configuration profile on your iPhone. 

    Essentially, a config profile allows a third party to manage your device; in this case, Apple. You may have concerns whether or not this is a privacy breach, but rest assured that this config profile simply allows Apple to deliver and manage the iOS 16 beta on your device.

    To install the config profile, hit the blue Download profile button and then tap Allow in the pop-up that appears. Next, exit your web browser, launch the Settings app and tap Profile Download at the top of the page. It should then show you a window for the iOS 16 public beta config profile. Tap Install, enter your passcode and then hit Install two more times. Finally, tap Restart to get the over-the-air iOS 16 beta update.

    Downloading and installing config profile on iPhone

    You must first download a config profile from Apple’s website before you can update to iOS 16 beta.

    Screenshot by Nelson Aguilar/CNET

    Download and install iOS 16 beta

    Once your iPhone boots back up, go to Settings > General > Software Update, hit Download and Install and enter your passcode to begin the process of updating to iOS 16 beta.

    iOS 16 public beta download page

    Once the config profile is downloaded and your phone reboots, you can download and install the iOS 16 public beta.

    Screenshot by Nelson Aguilar/CNET

    If for some reason you don’t see the Download and Install option, you may need to either wait a few minutes or clear your memory to make space. If you don’t have enough space, you won’t be able to download iOS 16, so clear your memory by deleting large files and offloading hefty apps.

    You should see a loading bar, along with a rough estimate of how long the download process will take. Once the download is complete, reboot your device and wait for iOS 16 beta to install. When your iPhone boots up, you should see iOS 16 beta downloaded on your device.

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