Apple makes OS betas free for all users

Jun 7, 2023
Updated • Jun 7, 2023

Apple has confirmed that iOS, iPadOS, macOS betas will be free for all users. The news may come as relief for users who were worried about not being able to test the new software versions on their devices.

Last year, Apple took action on third-party websites that were sharing beta profiles for free. A user could download such a profile, and install them on their machine to get access to the beta updates. This was against its rules, the beta versions of its operating systems were only available for users who had an Apple ID that was enrolled in the Apple Developer Program. That unfortunately comes with a hefty price tag of $99/year.

The Cupertino company made an important change when it released iOS 16.4 Beta in March. It prevented users from accessing the beta updates without an eligible Apple Developer ID. There was an uproar among users who criticized the move, because now they would not be able to test the beta OS updates without paying the fee to participate in the Dev Program. Apple changed this further by allowing users to sign in with a different Apple ID, i.e. one that was enrolled in the Dev program, to download the beta version.

But Apple never really enforced the "Developer Account" requirement in the beta versions that were released since March. So users were able to access the beta OS updates for free. The consensus was that the rule would only kick in once Apple released iOS 17, macOS 14 and iPadOS 17. Naturally, many people were quite upset that we wouldn't be able to test new versions of the operating systems. Apple has proved us wrong.

Apple makes OS betas free for all users

 iSoftware Updates spotted an update on the Apple Developer Website, this page has a chart comparing the benefits of the free and paid memberships. The column on the left states that OS beta releases are available for users who sign in with their Apple ID. That means you no longer need to enroll into the Apple Developer Program, in other words, you don't have to pay money to test the betas.

iOS iPadOS and macOS betas no longer require an Apple Developer Account

In retrospect, Apple's decision to end support for beta profiles downloaded from third-party websites may have been a move to protect users from malware or other risks. There were also instances where users reported that developer accounts with access to the beta versions were being sold online, which would of course violate Apple's terms and conditions, and could also be used to scam users.

Now, what do OS updates in the chart refer to? Are Dev Betas free, or will we only be able to test Public Betas? Public Betas are normally identical to Dev Betas, i.e. they have the same build number, the only difference between them is that the latter is released earlier, while the former rolls out after a day or 2.

apple macos 14 sonoma developer beta

I don't have an Apple developer account, but I can see an option to download the iOS 17 Developer Beta on my iPhone, and macOS 14 Sonoma Developer Beta on my MacBook. That seems to suggest that both Dev Betas and Public Betas will remain free for all users.

apple ios 17 developer beta

I have already installed macOS Sonoma on an external SSD that I connect to my Mac to test the OS, it has had a beta profile on it before macOS Ventura was released. Now I know why it has remained free to access. You shouldn't install beta versions of operating systems on your primary devices, because they are often buggy, and may affect your daily usage. Apple will release iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and macOS 14 Sonoma to all users in Fall 2023.

Apple makes OS betas free for all users
Article Name
Apple makes OS betas free for all users
Apple has made iOS iPadOS macOS betas free for all users. You don't need an Apple Developer Account to download the updates.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


There are no comments on this post yet, be the first one to share your thoughts!

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.