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iOS 10 public beta is live: Here's everything you need to know

Susie Ochs,Caitlin McGarry | July 8, 2016
Back up, strap in, and go nuts! iOS 10 is ready for public beta.

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So far today is shaping up to be software Christmas. First Apple dropped the public beta of macOS Sierra, which was exciting enough. But don’t let your iPhone and iPad feel neglected, because Apple is also launching the public beta of iOS 10.

Now, a beta is a beta. Don’t get swept up in the excitement and forget that this software isn’t final and could have bugs, so you might want to think twice about putting it on your everyday iPhone. That said, developers are on their second beta of iOS 10 and we haven’t heard about any major problems, so if you’re feeling brave, here’s how to get the beta and what you can expect when you do.

What is the iOS 10 beta?

Apple has a Beta Software Program that started with OS X 10.10 Yosemite and is now providing betas of macOS Sierra. iOS 10 is the second version of iOS that is available as a public beta—before last year’s launch of the iOS public beta program, you had to join the developer program for $99 (per year) to get prerelease versions of iOS. The public beta lets you avoid that expense, and will make it easier to install the beta too.

Keep in mind, as we already said, that this is prerelease software—it’s close to being ready for release, but it still needs testing. You might see bugs, your iPhone or iPad could crash more often, and some of your apps and services might not work.

What should I do before installing it?

Back up! Back up your device—I recommend a tethered backup to iTunes with the “Encrypt this backup” box checked, so you won’t have to log in to all your apps and services again if you should need to restore from this backup. An encrypted backup saves all your Health data too. Again, Apple recommends you install the iOS 10 beta on a secondary device.

I’m ready to live dangerously! How do I sign up?

You just head to the Beta Software Program page and express interest by signing in with your Apple ID and password. You also have to agree to the terms and enroll your iOS device.

How do I enroll my device?

Once you log in to the Beta Software Program page, you’ll see a link to Enroll your iOS device. Apple will remind you to make a backup (seriously, you really, really have to back up—back up to iTunes, and Apple recommends you “archive” the backup to make sure it’s saved), and then you’re instructed to go to on the iOS device that you want to put the beta on, in order to download and install a configuration profile. That will make the beta available as an over-the-air software update in the Settings app.


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