Every year at its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple shows off the new iPhone features coming to iOS only to make us all wait two months before getting our hands on it.
Now that iOS 15 has officially been announced — new capabilities and all — you’re probably wondering if you can try it out ahead of September. And the answer is: Yes, by downloading the beta version.
The developer beta is currently out, while the public beta most likely won’t be available until a few weeks from now — based on past beta cycles.
Either way, here’s how to download the iOS 15 developer beta and/or public beta.
First, make sure your iPhone supports it
In order to run iOS 15 you’ll need one of the following devices:
iPhone 6S Plus
iPhone SE (2016)
iPhone 7 Plus
iPhone 8 Plus
iPhone XS Max
iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone SE (2020)
iPhone 12 mini
iPhone 12 Pro
iPhone 12 Pro Max
Back up your iPhone
There’s nothing worse than updating your iPhone only to find that it’s fully wiped everything from your phone: Contacts, photos, messages, and more — with no way to retrieve any of it. To keep this from happening, you’ll want to back up your iPhone.
There are three different ways to go about this:
1) Use iCloud: On your iPhone, go to Settings > (your iCloud name) > iCloud > iCloud Backup. Then, tap “Back Up Now.” You can also toggle on iCloud Backup to allow for iCloud to automatically back up your iPhone daily, whenever it’s connected to WiFi.
2) Use your Mac: Connect your iPhone to your Mac using the charging cable. You should also make sure you’re running macOS 10.15 or later. If you’re running an older version, then you can use iTunes to back up your iPhone instead.
Once your phone is connected, click on the Finder window and select iPhone via the sidebar. Then, at the top of the Finder window, click General and choose “Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac.” You can either encrypt your backup and password protect it, then select “Encrypt local backup.” Otherwise, you can click “Back Up Now.”
3) Use your Windows PC: If you’re using a PC to backup your iPhone, you’ll need a USB cable or adapter and the iTunes app. Once you have the iTunes app open, click the iPhone button in the top-left corner of the window. Then click “Summary” and “Back Up Now.”
As with the Mac, you can also encrypt your backups by selecting “Encrypt local backup” and setting up a password.
How to download the developer beta
Whenever Apple releases a beta of a new operating system, the developer version is always available first. This also applies to the different versions of iOS 15 that will come out — complete with new features, bug fixes, security patches, and more — until the final version launches.
To download the developer beta, you’ll have to first enroll in Apple’s Developer Program. It’s not free, though. Membership will cost you $99 upfront for the entire year.
You can either sign up on the web or use the new Apple Developer app.
If you’re signing up online: go to Apple’s Developer Program site, click “Enroll” in the upper right-hand corner, and scroll down to “Start Your Enrollment.” Then, fill out your personal information, your entity type (such as individual, company/organization, nonprofit, etc), and accept the legal agreement. Lastly, you’ll have to fill out your credit card information to complete the purchase.
If you’re signing up using the Apple Developer app: Go to the Account tab, tap on “Enroll Now,” and follow the rest of the instructions. If enrollment isn’t available for your Apple ID through the app, it’ll direct you to sign up via the site mentioned above.
Once you’re enrolled, use your phone to log in to the developer site with your Apple ID, tap on “Downloads,” and tap “Install Profile.” Once the profile is downloaded, go to Settings and tap on “Profile Downloaded” under your Apple ID. Then, tap “Install” in the right-hand corner and follow the prompts.
Your phone will then restart and once it’s done, go to Settings > General > Software Updates and the beta will available for download. All you need to do now is hit “Download and Install.”
How to download the public beta
The iOS 15 public beta should be out by July, so you won’t have to wait that long to install it if you opt for this version instead. Unlike the developer beta, it’s free of charge.
Using your iPhone, go to Apple’s Beta Software site, click iOS 15, and follow the instructions to enroll your device. Then, go to the download page and download the configuration profile onto your device.
Then, open Settings, tap on the profile and hit install. As with the developer beta, your phone will restart. When that’s done, go to Settings > General > Software Update and choose “Download and Install.”
It’s worth noting that, as with any beta version, it’s not going to be perfect. There will be bugs; apps will randomly force quit on you and you might feel like your iPhone will combust.
But, hey, at least you don’t have to wait until September.
UPDATE: June 7, 2021, 3:40 p.m. EDT This article has been updated with Apple’s official list of supported iPhones.