Apple has teased great things to come in iOS 16, including new lock screen customisation, an improved notifications feed including Live Activities and better parental controls. It’s available to try in beta form right now ahead of the full release later this year.
Here’s all you need to know about the iOS 16 beta, including how to download and install it right now and the risks involved. For more on the upcoming software update, take a look at the latest iOS 16 news.
As long as you have an iPhone 8 or later and you’re signed up to Apple’s developer program, you can download the
iOS 16 beta from the developer portal right now.
As with previous years, there will be a
public beta test for those keen to trial iOS 16 ahead of release later this year, though it’s not available just yet. Apple teased a vague July release for the public beta, and if previous years are to go by, it’ll likely be around the beginning of the month.
Apple’s iOS 16 public beta release date separately if you want to keep track.
Just to confirm, here are all the devices which can get iOS 16:
iPhone SE (third-generation)
iPhone 13 Pro Max
iPhone 13 Pro
iPhone 13 Mini
iPhone 12 Pro Max
iPhone 12 Pro
iPhone 12 Mini
iPhone SE (second-gen)
iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone XS Max
iPhone 8 Plus
The risks of installing beta software
Before we explain how to download beta versions of iOS on your iPhone, we need to first explain the situation with beta software. For those unaware, betas are unfinished, and that means you’ll likely run into bugs, glitches and even crashes that leave you locked out of various areas of your smartphone.
In other words, don’t expect the iOS 16 beta to be as stable as Apple’s current software. That can be true not only of the iPhone software itself, but the apps you’ve got installed – some may work perfectly in iOS 15, but crash upon opening in iOS 16.
If you do decide to take the plunge, we can’t stress how important it is to back up your iPhone using an archived backup prior to the upgrade. Without an archived backup, you won’t be able to restore from a backup if you decide to go back to iOS 15, due to Apple not supporting restore data from newer software updates. Essentially, if you back up your iPhone running iOS 16, you won’t be able to restore from that backup if you want to go back to iOS 15.
To archive a backup, open iTunes (or Finder in macOS Big Sur), and click Preferences > Devices. You’ll then see a list of all your backups – right-click your most recent backup and select Archive to save it from being overwritten.
How to install the iOS 16 Developer Beta
If you’re a registered iOS developer, here’s how to install the iOS 16 developer beta:
On your iPhone, head to
developer.apple.com in Safari and log in with your Apple ID details.
Head to the Downloads section, listed in the menu on the left.
Scroll down to the iOS 16 beta and tap the Install Profile button.
You’ll see a pop-up appear asking whether you want to download a profile to your iPhone. Click Accept.
Head to the Settings app and tap Profile Downloaded at the top of the list. If this doesn’t appear, head to General > Profile and tap on the iOS 16 beta profile.
Tap Install in the top-right to install the iOS 16 beta profile.
Agree to the developer consent form.
Restart your iPhone to finish installing the beta profile.
Once restarted, go back to the Settings app and head to General > Software Update.
You should see the iOS 16 beta appear – tap Download and Install, and wait for your iPhone to download the update.
Once downloaded, you’ll see a pop-up appear asking to install the update. Tap Install to install the iOS 16 beta update.