How to Sign Up for the Apple Beta Program: iPad & iOS 14 Beta & More

So you want to be part of iOS and iPadOS beta testing? How about watchOS, macOS, and tvOS? Well, you’ve come to the right place. WWDC just happened, and iOS 14, Apple's latest operating system for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and iPadOS14, Apple's new operating system for the iPad, were announced, as well as those for the Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Macs. The shipping versions aren't here yet, but the iOS 14 public beta, iPadOS 14 public beta, and tvOS 14 beta are available now. If you're wondering, "Should I install the iOS 14 beta, or the other beta software?", the answer is, maybe. The Apple beta program software isn't ready for prime time yet. You'll get a first look at all the new features but you'll also experience bugs and glitches, and should report them to Apple so programmers can make the needed fixes before the iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and other operating system release dates in the fall. If you'd rather not deal with a rough-around-the-edges operating system, I'd advise waiting for the finished operating systems to be released. Let's go over iPadOS, watchOS 7, tvOS 14, macOS Big Sur, and iOS14 compatibility, and how to download and install Apple's newest operating systems.  

Related: Apple Announces WatchOS 7: Sleep Tracking, Face Sharing & More

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iPadOS 14, iOS 14, WatchOS 7, tvOS 14 & Big Sur Compatibility: Who Can Participate in the Apple Developer Program?   

iPadOS Beta

The following devices are capable of downloading and running iPadOS 14. If you're wondering, "What iPad do I have?" we have an article that goes over all the iPad generations.

  • All iPad Pro models
  • iPad Air 2 and later
  • iPad 5th generation and later
  • iPad mini 4 and later

iOS 14 Beta

If you own one of the following devices, you can download and run iOS 14. We're here to help if you're wondering, "what kind of iPhone do I have?"

  • iPhone SE (first generation)
  • iPhone 6S
  • iPhone 6S Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE (second generation)
  • the new iPhone 12 line (coming this fall)
  • Seventh generation iPod Touch 

WatchOS 7

You'll need an Apple Watch Series 3 or later paired with an iPhone 6s or later running iOS 14 or later to download and use watchOS 7 beta.

tvOS 14

To download and use tvOS 14 beta you'll need:

  • Apple TV fourth generation
  • Apple TV 4K

MacOS Big Sur

If you own one of the following Macs, you can download and run the Big Sur beta:

  • Mac Pro 2013 and later
  • MacBook Pro 2013 and later
  • MacBook Air 2013 and later
  • iMac 2014 and later
  • Mac mini 2014 and later
  • MacBook 2015 and later
  • iMac Pro 2017 and later (all models)

Is It Safe to Install the iPadOS 14, iOS 14, watchOS 5, tvOS 14 & macOS Big Sur Beta Software? What Are the Risks?

Now that Apple has showcased all their new software during WWDC, the anticipation may be much too high to wait until fall. And these days, signing up for Apple’s beta program is easy. But remember that iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 5, tvOS 14, and Big Sur in this stage are Apple’s beta software. So there are some pros and cons to consider before you join the Apple beta software program.  

Pros:

The best part? You don’t have to wait until the iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 5, tvOS 14, and Big Sur are released to the public! That means you’ll see the best new features first. You will also see a Feedback app on your Home screen; this app allows you to report any issues or bugs in the software directly to Apple.

Cons:

Of course, the public beta is how Apple works out as many issues and bugs in the software before they’re officially released, which means you’re the one experiencing those bugs and bringing them to Apple’s attention. 

My Take: 

I would really rather not install beta software, but I do so because I need to write and revise articles like this. Essentially, I'm not an early adopter and like to use my device without apps crashing, which was my main issue with the iOS 13 beta. If you enjoy being the first to try new things, you'll love being a beta tester. If you'd rather wait for the smoothest possible experience, you'll hate it. 

Ready to Install? Read This First

If you’re going to sign up for Apple’s public beta testing, I highly recommend using a secondary device. If you don't have a secondary device, then I implore you to make a new backup of your device before installing the public beta. Should anything happen while beta testing iOS 14, iPadOS 14, or any of the other beta software, you’ll need to restore that backup to your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac.

How to Sign Up for Public Beta Testing (iOS 14 & iPadOS 14) 

The Apple Beta Program signup process is fairly straightforward:

To update your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac to Apple's latest operating system, make sure to back up your device to iCloud or back up to your computer. If you haven't updated your Mac to Big Sur yet, you can back up to iTunes. After you've made your backup: 

  1. Plug your device into power and make sure you're connected to Wi-Fi or a stable, wired internet connection.
  2. Visit the Apple Beta Program page and tap sign up, or sign in if you've previously participated with an earlier beta version of iOS. 
  3. You’ll be prompted to sign in with your Apple ID and password.

    apple beta programsign in with apple id
     
  4. You'll be taken to a Guide for Public Betas. If you haven't downloaded a public beta before, scroll down, tap enroll your iOS device, and follow the prompts.
  5. Follow the link provided or tap Download profile to download the configuration profile, then click Allow

    enroll in beta programdownload beta profile
     
  6. Open the Settings app and tap Profile Downloaded.
  7. Tap Install and enter your device passcode.
  8. Tap Install again, and once more, then tap Done.

    install beta softwaretap done
     
  9. Open the Settings app and tap General, then Software Update
  10. Tap Download and Install.

    iphone software updatedownload and install software update
     
  11. Now you'll see a notification like the one in the image below, with a blue line indicating download progress. 
  12. Once the new operating system is finished downloading, tap Install Now.
  13. A window comes up that informs you you'll need to restart your device; tap Restart.
  14. Your iPhone or iPad will go to a black screen with the Apple logo and a progress bar; the device will reset once the update completes. 

    software downloading
     
  15. You'll notice a new app called Feedback; this is where you can report bugs and glitches to Apple. Accept the terms, sign in with your Apple ID, and you're good to go!

    apple beta feedback appios 13 beta feedback

Welcome to iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Public Beta!​

How to Unenroll Your iPhone or iPad From the Apple Beta Software Program

If you want to downgrade from iOS 14 beta or iPadOS 14 beta, it's possible to uninstall the beta software and leave the beta program. To do this:

Delete the Beta Profile

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Profile.
  4. Tap the Configuration Profile for iOS 14 & iPadOS 14 Beta.
  5. Tap Remove Profile, then restart your device. 

Now, when the next non-beta version of iPadOS 14 or iOS14 becomes available, you can install it, and the beta will be removed from your device. If you don't want to wait for the public version of iOS 14 to be released, you can restore your device. This is where the backup you made before downloading and installing the beta software comes in.

How to Restore Your iPhone or iPad & Revert to iOS 13 & iPadOS 13

If you want your phone or tablet back to how it was before you downloaded and installed iOS 14 beta and iPadOS 14 beta, you'll need to restore your device from the backup you made prior to your beta fling. To do this:

  1. Make sure your Mac has the latest version of iTunes or MacOS.
  2. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac.
  3. Put your device in Recovery Mode
  4. For an iPad with Face ID: quickly press and release the Volume Up, then Volume Down button, then press and hold the Top button until your tablet enters Recovery Mode. 
  5. For an iPhone 8 and later: quickly press and release the Volume Up, then Volume Down button, then press and hold the Side button until your phone enters Recovery Mode. 
  6. For an iPhone 7, 7 Plus, or seventh-generation iPod Touch: press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Volume Down buttons at the same time until the Recovery Mode screen appears. 
  7. For iPhones 6s and earlier, sixth-generation iPod Touch and earlier, and iPads with Home buttons: simultaneously press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and Home button; continue holding until the Recovery Mode screen appears. 
  8. Click Restore when the option appears on your Mac screen.
  9. Wait for the Restore process to finish, and enter your Apple ID and password when required. 
  10. Set up your phone or tablet with the archived backup you made before you downloaded and installed the beta software. 

watchOS 7 Beta: Coming Soon

watchos 7 beta

tvOS 14 Public Beta

The public beta for tvOS 14 is now available, to install:

  1. Register for the Apple Beta Software Program using the steps above; you only need to do this once for all your devices that are signed in under the same Apple ID. 
  2. Open the Settings app on your Apple TV.
  3. Tap Accounts and sign in to iCloud, iTunes, Game Center, or the App Store with the same Apple ID you used to register for the beta program.
  4. Open the Settings app again, then tap System, then Software Update; turn on Get Public Beta Updates.
  5. After your Apple TV updates, you'll be able to launch Feedback Assistant from your Home screen to submit feedback.

MacOS Big Sur Beta: Coming Soon

macos big sur beta

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Author Details

Conner Carey's picture

Author Details

Conner Carey

Conner Carey's writing can be found at conpoet.com. She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.