We show how to install a developer or public beta version of iOS 14 on your iPhone so you can try out its new features ahead of general release

Every June, Apple announces the next version of iOS for your iPhone, but the update won’t actually launch for another three months. At WWDC this June, Apple announced iOS 14, an exciting and feature-filled update which won’t be released until the autumn of 2020 (probably September).

But what if you don’t want to wait that long to try out the new features? You need to install a beta.

In this article we walk you through the steps required to get the iOS 14 beta. We explain how to join Apple’s beta programme, and how to install and run an iOS beta on your iPhone.

What’s a beta?

Betas are pre-release testing versions. Every iOS update goes through the beta phase before it’s officially launched, from small tweaks like 13.5.1 to the full-version game-changers such as iOS 14.

There are developer betas (for software developers only) and public betas for anyone; both types go through half a dozen versions before a major launch.

Risks and precautions

Note first of all that betas are test versions. They are by definition unfinished pieces of software, and while they should include most or all of the features in the finished product, there will be cosmetic differences and, inevitably, some glitches and problems that will need to be fixed. The glitches and problems are why Apple bothers to beta-test iOS in the first place.

In other words, don’t expect a perfect user experience. In particular, don’t expect existing apps (ones that you may rely on, and which may have worked fine with the previous version of iOS) to work perfectly with the new version. In extreme cases you may even find that your device is bricked by the beta, and cannot be used until the next beta comes along and hopefully fixes the problem.

At time of writing, iOS 14 has only just been announced and only the very first developer beta is available. At this point in the cycle the software is likely to be unreliable, and you may wish to wait a while before plunging in.

The closer we get to the final launch of iOS 14.0, the more polished and feature-complete we can expect the available betas to become. The counter to that, of course, is there will less time left to wait for the official launch, so you won’t be gaining so much by installing a beta.

It can be risky, but installing the iOS beta will give you some serious bragging rights among your Apple-loving friends, and let you decide for yourself whether you like the new features, so maybe it’s a price worth paying…

Assuming you decide to go ahead, we can’t stress enough how important it is to back up your iPhone before you install an iOS beta, or better still, use a secondary device, not your main iPhone, to run it. You won’t lose everything if something goes wrong while the beta is installing, and you’ll be able to go back to the last version should you find that you don’t like the new software after all, or that it’s too buggy.

How to get the developer beta

If you know what you’re getting into and still want to join the developer beta programme, you should first check that your device is compatible. Have a quick read of Can my iPhone get iOS 14? (It’s the iPhone 6s and later, basically.)

Now you need to register as an Apple developer. Joining the Apple Developer Program costs £79/$99 a year.

All set? Okay! Here’s how to install the iOS 14 developer beta, in eight easy steps:

  1. In Safari on your iPhone, go to developer.apple.com and log in using your Apple ID.
  2. Go to the Downloads section (you’ll find it in the lefthand menu), scroll down to iOS 14 beta and tap Install Profile, then Accept.
  3. Open the Settings app. You should see Profile Downloaded at the top of the main screen – tap this. If you can’t see it, go to General > Profile and tap on the iOS 14 beta profile there.
  4. Tap Install in the top-right to install the iOS 14 beta profile.
  5. Read the developer consent form and (assuming you’re happy with the terms) give your consent.
  6. Restart your iPhone.
  7. Now go to Settings > General > Software Update, where you should see the iOS 14 beta. Tap Download and Install.
  8. Wait for your iPhone to finish downloading the update, then tap Install when prompted.

And if everything has worked the way it should, your iPhone will now be running the iOS 14 beta.

Can I get the developer beta if I’m not a developer?

At time of writing there is no public beta, only a developer beta. And even once the public betas start to roll out, they will do so anywhere from a few hours to several days after the equivalent developer version.

If you’re not a developer, but you want to install the developer beta anyway, this is possible. Just be warned that this goes against Apple’s terms and conditions and needless to say will completely rule out any warranty assistance if things go wrong.

You’ll need to find and download a copy of the iOS 14 beta profile on a non-Apple site. Google is your friend here, although this is one example that appears to work at time of writing.