Apple makes OS betas free for all users

Ashwin
Jun 7, 2023
Updated • Jun 7, 2023
Apple
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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.

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

  1. John said on August 18, 2023 at 12:06 pm
    Reply

    Really the only thing I dislike about MacOS as a whole is the way Apple updates the OS with huge update file downloads. Actually 700Mb is small compared to some Apple has released which are in the gigabyte size. These large file sizes also translate to long update times as well.

  2. Anonymous said on August 28, 2023 at 1:48 pm
    Reply

    I like Emre, Onur, Shaun and Eray’s articles more, Ashwin and Martin are always complaining about something instead of getting excited and sharing their excitement with the world.

    Ever since I started bookmarking their pages my mood has been so much better, I’m glad to be free of the depressing vibe the two of them have. Damn it feels good to just enjoy life and not look for things to complain like I used to while I were under their influence.

    1. John G. said on September 2, 2023 at 11:31 pm
      Reply

      Personally I really like @Ashwin and @Martin articles both equally. Please respect the authors.

    2. Herman Cost said on September 4, 2023 at 2:37 pm
      Reply

      You realize that none of the authors you like are real people, right? They are AI bots ‘writing’ articles that are basically taken from product advertisements (e.g., “Get Protected the Right Way With Avast Free AntiVirus” Really?) So, yes they are excited, but the excitement comes from advertising copy. No real world negativity from those sources.

      My approach is to use a UBlock Origin filter to block all the articles except those by Martin and Ashwin. It has made the site readable again for me.

      1. Anonymous said on September 5, 2023 at 1:03 pm
        Reply

        I would like to achieve that as well. Mind sharing some UBlock tricks & tips? :)

      2. TelV said on September 5, 2023 at 3:59 pm
        Reply

        @ Anonymous,

        Go to this link from yesterday https://www.ghacks.net/windows-11-update-stuck-fixed-for-good/#comment-4573146 and scroll down to the post by “Anonymous said on September 2, 2023 at 1:33 pm” He (or she) posted instructions on how to skip articles written by users other than Martin and Ashwin.

        You might want to consider changing your name before you post to make it easier for users to identify your comments.

      3. John Wold said on September 5, 2023 at 4:25 pm
        Reply

        @Herman Cost
        You can add this to your rules in uBlock Origin:

        ghacks.net##.hentry,.home-posts,.home-category-post:not(:has-text(/Martin Brinkmann|Ashwin/))

      4. tired said on September 13, 2023 at 3:41 pm
        Reply

        @John World. Than you dude. So much better.

        Why does Martin even allow this garbage to ruin his website. Every single article not written by martin and ashwin reads like sensational clickbait, I don’t care about if I should buy the latest apple product every week, new roblox cock rings that don’t pull your pubic hair, elon musk’s new body spray or whatever bullshit these bots can come up with.

    3. Anonymous said on September 5, 2023 at 2:52 pm
      Reply

      +I like Emre, Onur, Shaun and Eray’s articles more

      you’ve made my day

  3. TelV said on September 5, 2023 at 3:48 pm
    Reply

    It’s not the EU’s fault that Bing is such a crappy search engine. In any event it’s built into the OS and Microsoft does its best to convince users to adopt it over Google by making it the default search tool. A great Many Windows 11 users are not technically minded and don’t know how to switch to another search engine and just accept their lot.

    In any event I hope the EU Commission doesn’t allow Microsoft to pull the wool over their eyes.

    1. Anonymous said on September 5, 2023 at 11:26 pm
      Reply

      Both Google and Bing are now worthless. Nowadays, Yandex is the only search engine that finds anything I’m looking for.

      1. TelV said on September 20, 2023 at 12:33 pm
        Reply

        Try https://sear.be.

        Yandex is Russian and under Putin’s control. Search results you get may not be accurate and possibly manipulated to give you a false sense of security depending on what you’re looking for.

  4. ECJ said on September 5, 2023 at 7:16 pm
    Reply

    Bing is absolutely a gatekeeper. Except for countries such as China and Russia that have their own search engines (Baidu and Yandex), most of the world’s searches relies on just two search engines: Google and Bing.

    Alternative search engines overwhelmingly get their search results from Bing. DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, Qwant, Swisscows, Excite, Lycos, Yahoo, You, etc. all use Bing behind the scenes for their results.

    StartPage originally used the Google search engine for it’s results, but have also started using Bing as well recently.

    Microsoft also use Bing as the default search engine in Windows (such as the Start menu search, Taskbar search, desktop search bar, Edge sidebar, etc.) and use Bing as the default search engine in Edge – which is the default browser on Windows. Windows has greater than 70% desktop market share and is used by more than two billion people.

    Not to mention Microsoft’s anti-consumer efforts when it comes to Bing. They have a history of malicious intent by aggressively trying to trick users who use a different search engine and browser into resetting their default search engine and browser back to Edge and Bing (by displaying unscrupulous popup dialogue boxes and full screen pages prompting the user to change their settings back to the “recommended settings” – which is Edge and Bing).

    1. TelV said on September 20, 2023 at 12:50 pm
      Reply

      @ ECJ,

      Microsoft’s Bing has managed to sidestep the EU’s Digital Markets Act for now arguing that it doesn’t qualify as a gatekeeper: https://www.computerworld.com/article/3705935/eu-lists-gatekeepers-to-be-regulated-opens-imessage-and-bing-investigations.html

      The easiest way to avoid Bing is never to use Edge. It’s not mandatory and you’re free to use which browser you wish. I use Floorp myself which is a Firefox fork with many extra privacy configurations. https://floorp.app/en/download/

  5. ilev said on September 6, 2023 at 8:37 am
    Reply

    “A report claims that Apple is developing an affordable MacBook series”

    Its is time to stop posting Rumors as reports.

    Apple has already a Chrombook killer. It is called : iPad.

  6. John said on September 6, 2023 at 2:47 pm
    Reply

    I can see Apple getting concerned about losing sales to Chrome OS devices. Given that K-12 kids have probably been using Chromebooks and would be familiar with that platform going off to college. I remember when Apple ruled K-12 computer rooms and because they simply out priced the educational sector. Google managed to take a huge bite out of educational market especially with COVID. I never thought iPads worked in a K-12 setting, and mac’s are too expensive. I doubt Apple can really make a MacBook below $500 which would compete with Chromebooks.

    1. bruh said on September 12, 2023 at 5:30 pm
      Reply

      I managed hundreds of ipads for schools when I worked at an MSP – ipads are certainly OK, and boy are they hundreds of times better than Android tablets. Chromebooks suck so much, their market penetration into school system became real when schools received a bunch from government

  7. aibot said on September 7, 2023 at 1:43 am
    Reply

    Apple has always had great diffculty grasping what “low cost” means. I don’t have much faith in them ever generating anything that can compete with a Chromebook, but I’ll buy it if they do. I don’t want a Google OS, Windows is getting painful, and I’m tired of hearing how great Linux is from people who don’t use it.

    I agree with the posters above about the usefulness of using a uBO filter to limit the posts I see on this site to those from Martin and Ashwin.

  8. vector said on September 11, 2023 at 12:01 am
    Reply

    While Apple has patched iOS 16 for this, they haven’t yet indicated if they’re going to for supposedly-still-getting-security-updates iOS 12 (the latest OS option for the millions of still-in-use iPhone 6) and iOS 15 (still in use on millions of iPhone 6s to 8, which can’t be upgraded to 16).

    I hope they do. Long-term support is one area where Apple phones crush Android, and it’s the #2 reason I use them (#1 is because not a privacy nightmare).

    1. vector said on September 13, 2023 at 12:19 am
      Reply

      Apple has now released security updates for iOS 12 and 15 to address this issue. This is how you keep loyal customers.

      1. tinarse said on September 13, 2023 at 7:59 am
        Reply

        Released an update for iOS 15, yes; for iOS 12, no. It’s not clear from reading their release notes if this means iOS 12 is not affected, or if they’re just not bothering.

  9. John said on September 11, 2023 at 1:50 pm
    Reply

    M3 won’t move the needle much on performance. Honestly, Apple has put itself in a bind making the M1 really good. Probably the first time when Mac users can have some real lasting performance. But that also means that many won’t be persuaded to upgrade as often either. I am using a M1 MacBook Air and a M1 Mac mini and have yet to even entertain upgrading to a M2 or even a future M3 model of either because I am very satisfied with the M1 performance.

  10. John said on September 12, 2023 at 12:57 pm
    Reply

    I like iPhone in general have owned iPhones for many years. But I don’t see these Apple events inspiring me to want to upgrade and spend hundreds to get what few improvements offered up.

  11. Anonymous said on September 13, 2023 at 3:10 am
    Reply

    People still watch this nonsense? As I get older technology no longer excite me.

  12. bruh said on September 13, 2023 at 10:22 am
    Reply

    I love it – Apple took an objectively bad thing and turned it into something people don’t hate. “It’s not that our front camera/sensors cover up screen real estate, this is uhh, a dynamic island… Yeah! It’s a feature actually, you’re lucky to have it”.

    1. TelV said on September 20, 2023 at 12:54 pm
      Reply

      @ bruh,

      I like iPhone too, but you have to be a virtual millionaire these days to own one and I don’t have the kind of money required to purchase one I’m afraid.

  13. angelsanges said on September 13, 2023 at 2:33 pm
    Reply

    2015??

  14. Oxa said on September 13, 2023 at 3:40 pm
    Reply

    “Sorry Series 8, Apple Watch Series 9 is as powerful as it is handsome”
    “Apple to release iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 on September 18, and macOS Sonoma on October 26”
    “Apple unveils the Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2”
    “Apple Watch Ultra 2 packs a punch to the older generation”
    “Does it make sense to upgrade to iPhone 15?”
    “iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max with Ray Tracing, Action Button announced”
    “Apple announces iPhone 15 series with USB-C port, Dynamic Island”

    Seven Applespams, all pushed out within a few hours. You should rename this site “AppleHack”.

  15. Anonymous said on September 13, 2023 at 11:14 pm
    Reply

    I can’t believe people waste their money on smartwatches. The world has truly gone insane.

  16. Anonymous said on September 13, 2023 at 11:18 pm
    Reply

    A total waste of money. Thats why people can’t afford basic necessities anymore. They just keep falling for Apple’s BS every year.

  17. Anonymous said on September 14, 2023 at 4:02 pm
    Reply

    That is, if you don’t mind paying for Apple and their US Gestapo friends reading your most intimate data to use it against you.

  18. Tom said on September 15, 2023 at 8:17 am
    Reply

    > Apple also updated the macOS Sonoma 14 web page to reveal the release date of its desktop operating system. Sonoma will be released on October 26.

    This is not true. The website says September 29. I have no idea where your October 26 comes from.

    > Rumors suggest that Apple could announce the first M3 Mac in October, though another reliable leaker quashed hopes for any new MacBooks.

    I am not aware of any _current_ rumor that suggests that there will be a M3 Mac before 2024.

    Is this again an AI written article?

  19. Bruce Tech Guy said on September 15, 2023 at 10:03 am
    Reply

    Just an FYI on the USB C situation.
    The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus only use the USB-C end-connector. The actual cable attached to it transfers data at the many years old Lightning cable speed, which is USB 2.0 based. (Max 480 Mbits/s in ideal lab conditions.)
    If you want iPhone USB data transfer at true USB 3.0 speed, then you have to pay more to buy the iPhone 15 Pro or 15 Pro Plus, which transfers data at actual USB 3.0 speed (5 Gbit/s in ideal lab conditions).

    Just another example of Apple using absurd (and very mean-spirited, IMO) down-grading of their lower-priced phone hardware. I mean, who else would sell an $799+ phone in 2023, using a data port that transfers at USB 2.0 speed?
    The USB 2.0 spec was published in year 2000, 23 years ago.
    The USB 3.0 spec was published in 2008 and the USB C connector spec was published in 2014, tho not widely adopted til paird with USB 3.2 in 2017, fyi.

  20. bruh said on September 19, 2023 at 10:11 am
    Reply

    Man, I find this stuff so cringy – but obviously, it appeals to a certain type of person. I have no issue with Apple, my only issue is that every other hardware and software manufacturer seem to just be trying to copy Apple, instead of coming up with original ideas & visions. I don’t blame Apple for “innovating” in whatever direction they feel necessary, I’m just annoyed that nobody else is,,,

    Android is looking more like iOS, Windows 11 is looking more like MacOS, I had to set up a “premium” high-spec Dell laptop recently at work which just looked like a knock-off Macbook. It’s just sad.

    1. Tony said on September 19, 2023 at 4:00 pm
      Reply

      People aren’t going to buy stuff that strays too far from the norm. Take for example foldables. I haven’t seen anyone personally that has one, nor are they “taking the market by storm”.

      RE: Android looking more like IOS:

      That ‘Material You’ garbage is thankfully nowhere near iOS. I think you might be referring to Samsung’s UI though. They try to keep things like Apple to win over Apple users (I think anyways). If it weren’t for Samsung’s UI though, Android would be totally a non-option for me, as Material You is just plain ugly.

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