How to install iOS 13 beta right now

Apple on Monday revealed iOS 13, the next version of the operating system software that runs on your iPhone ($1,000 at Amazon) and iPod Touch. Notice we didn’t say iPad? That’s because the iPad now has its own OS, called iPadOS. Updates to both platforms include a dedicated dark mode, new Messages features, an updated Photos app and a revamped Maps experience. Apple also announced MacOS 10.15, WatchOS 6, and TVOS 13. Once again, you can help Apple test the unreleased software through its beta program.

The first release of iOS 13 is only available for developers with a paid developer account, but Apple has said that the public beta will launch in July. Once the public beta is available, anyone who wants to help test can do so.

Installing the beta is an easy process, taking very little of your time. However, you’ll need to make sure you have a backup and are aware that things will not always work.

But first, a warning

Over the years, the first beta release for an upcoming iOS release has gotten more stable. However, the software has not yet been released except as a beta version for a reason — it’s not finished. Apps are going to break, battery life is going to be horrible and frequent random restarts aren’t unheard of.

You don’t have to take our word for it, Apple’s own developer portal has the following warning: 

Important Note for Thrill Seekers: If you’re interested in living on the edge and trying out the great new features in iOS 13, we strongly advise waiting for the many bug fixes and refinements coming to the public beta later this month.

If you want to test iOS 13, go into it knowing that you’re testing beta software and do yourself — and Apple — a favor by providing feedback through the Feedback app.

You’ll need to restore your device if you leave the beta program. 

Oscar Gutiérrez/CNET

You can’t (easily) go back

In addition to a willingness to deal with bugs and random issues, you need to know that you can’t easily go back to the current official version of iOS. It’s possible, but you can’t restore from a backup made with your device on iOS 13.

So, with that in mind, it’s a good idea to create a backup of your device as it is right before switching to the beta. The best way to do that is to use iTunes (RIP) and create an encrypted backup.

Which devices are supported?

According to Apple, the following devices can take part in the iOS 13 or iPadOS beta:

Devices that will support iOS 13, iPadOS 13

iPhone XS 12.9-inch iPad Pro
iPhone XS Max 11-inch iPad Pro
iPhone XR 10.5-inch iPad Pro
iPhone X 9.7-inch iPad Pro
iPhone 8 iPad (6th generation)
iPhone 8 Plus iPad (5th generation)
iPhone 7 iPad Mini (5th generation)
iPhone 7 Plus iPad Mini 4
iPhone 6S iPad Air (3rd generation)
iPhone 6S Plus iPad Air 2
iPhone SE
iPod Touch (7th generation)

Read: Every iPhone that works with iOS 13

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Ready? Here’s how to install iOS 13

Right now, you’ll need a paid Apple developer account in order to access the profiles and proper files required to install iOS 13. A paid developer account costs $99 per year and also gives you access to publishing an app for sale in the App Store.

Paid developers can visit this page of the Apple Developer site to download the beta software. There isn’t an OTA file available for the first beta, so you’ll have to manually install it. Apple is requiring that you have either the MacOS 10.15 Catalina beta installed, or have installed the Xcode 11 beta before you can use iTunes to install iOS 13. Both of those are also available through the Apple developer portal for paid developers. 

What about the public beta?

When it launches, the public beta program will be available here. You’ll need to enroll your device and install the update over the air (OTA). We’ll update this post with more thorough instructions once the beta program opens up.

Follow all of this week’s Apple news.

Originally published June 3. 
Update, June 5: Adds compatibility chart.


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