Can’t Wait for iOS 11? Here’s How to Sign Up for Apple’s Beta Program

So you want to become an iOS beta tester? Well you’ve come to the right place. Apple just made its iOS 11 public beta program available to all. You can also sign up to beta test MacOS High Sierra and tvOS. Last year, I was an iOS 10 beta tester and learned a lot about the pros and cons of signing up, which I’ll cover below. If you don’t want to wait until fall to for the iOS 11 download, Apple's public iOS beta program is the best way to get ahead of the curve. Of course, as with any beta program, it’s going to have flaws and bugs. But, when you sign up to participate in the Apple's beta program, you get to be one of the people that helps Apple find those bugs before the general public has to deal with them. Overall, I love being an iOS beta tester. Here’s how you can get iOS 11 early.

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Now that Apple has showcased the new iOS 11 update 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. Anyone can download iOS 11 before it’s officially released to the public. But remember that iOS 11 in this stage is Apple’s beta software. So there are some pros and cons to consider before you download the iOS 11 beta.  

Is My Device Compatible with iOS 11?

According to Apple, “iOS 11 beta supports iPhone 5s or later, iPod touch (6th generation), iPad mini 2, and iPad Air or later.”

Pros:

The best part? You don’t have to wait until the new iOS 11 update is released to the public! And that means you’ll see the best new features first.

You will also see a Feedback Assistant app on your Home screen or Mac Dock. This allows you 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.

In previous years, the only way to unenroll from the beta program was to restore your iPhone to the backup made before you began public beta testing, which meant losing pictures, data, and generally the last four months of information on your iPhone or iPad, which was huge drawback when I beta tested iOS 9. But! When I beta tested iOS 10 last year, I found a way to delete the beta profile easily. And even Apple's support page now reflects our method below as the offical way to unenroll from the beta program. So I’ll show you how to easily unenroll from the iOS 11 beta program below for when the time comes.

Read This First

If you’re going to sign up for Apple’s public beta testing, I highly recommend using a secondary device. Now, if you’re like me and when warned to use a secondary device scoff, then I implore you to make a new backup of your device before installing the public beta. Should anything happen while beta testing iOS 11, you’ll need to restore that backup to your iPhone.

How to Sign Up for Public Beta Testing (iOS 11 & MacOS High Sierra)

The beta program signup process is fairly straightforward:

  • Visit the Apple Beta Program page and sign up.
  • You’ll be prompted to sign in with your Apple ID and password.

  • If you have Two-Factor Authentication set up, you'll need to enter a code to verify your identity. 
  • Apple will present you with its Software Program Agreement; click Accept.

You’ll receive an email with further details when the iOS 11 and MacOS High Sierra public betas are available. Once the public betas are available, follow the directions below.

To install the public beta for iOS 11:

  • Create an encrypted iTunes backup (recommended over iCloud backup in this case) of your iPhone or iPad.
  • Archive your iTunes backup by going to iTunes, selecting Preferences, and choosing Devices. Then right-click or control-click the backup you made and select Archive.
  • On your iOS device, visit beta.apple.com/profile to download the beta profile. Your device will then prompt you to install it. Just follow the onscreen directions and you’ll be good to go.

To check which software you’re running and to install further updates, open Settings and tap General on your device. Choose About to view your current software version or Software Update to download and install new updates.

To install the public beta for MacOS:

  • Create a Time Machine backup of your Mac computer.
  • To install the public beta on Mac, you’ll need to download the public access utility. Since you’ve already signed up to receive emails about public beta, Apple should send you a download link, which you need to click on from your Mac.
  • If you do not receive said email, visit the beta program page, sign in with your Apple ID, and click Enroll Your Devices at the top. Make sure you’re viewing the instructions for MacOS, then scroll down to find the Download MacOS High Sierra Public Beta Access Utility button.

  • Once downloaded, click to run the installer and follow the onscreen directions.
  • The Mac App Store will launch the Updates page with MacOS High Sierra public beta waiting for you. Click Update.

How to Unenroll from Beta Testing iOS 11 (Without Restoring iPhone)

After iOS 11 is released to the public, the Apple beta program will end. But you can stay on the beta program, testing out iOS 11.3 and so on. However, after the initial testing phase, I prefer to revert to the public iOS 11. To leave the iOS beta program:

  • Open Settings.
  • Tap General.
  • Scroll down until you see Profile. Tap on it.

  • Select the iOS 11 Public Beta Profile and tap Delete.
  • Enter your passcode and confirm, Delete.

  • Restart your iPhone by holding down the Sleep/Wake button and sliding to power off. Power your iPhone back on by holding down the Sleep/Wake button again.
  • Lastly, you will need to let Apple know you’ve left the program by signing in to beta.apple.com and clicking the Leave Program link.

When your iPhone restarts, open Settings and tap General. Then select Software Update. You’ll see the most recent update for the official public iOS 11. Tap Download and Install to get the regular iOS 11 on your iPhone. Don't see it? Don't worry. According to Apple, "when the next commercial version of iOS is released, you can install it from Software Update."

How to Unenroll from Beta Testing MacOS High Sierra

To unenroll from the beta program on your Mac:

  • Open System Preferences
  • Choose App Store.
  • There is a box that says, “Your computer is set to receive beta software updates.” Select Change.

  • A box will pop up; choose Do Not Show Beta Software Updates.
  • Lastly, you will need to let Apple know you’ve left the program by signing in to beta.apple.com and clicking the Leave Program link.

Apple recommends you wait until the official MacOS High Sierra has been released to do this. However, you can unenroll your device any time during the beta testing period.

 

Do you plan to sign up for public beta testing? Why or why not?

 

 
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Conner Carey holds a bachelor's in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing and resides in Fairfield, Iowa. When she's not writing, you can find her singing jazz or lifting weights. Her personal blog is currently under construction, but you can follow her on Instagram @connerleecarey.