August 16, 2022

Apple

Apple has released the first beta builds of this year’s iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and HomePod software updates to the public today, about a month after announcing all of the new updates at its Worldwide Developers Conference. Interested users can sign in with their Apple ID and download special software profiles for supported devices, which will allow the devices to download and install the new betas through Software Update.

Apple’s public betas are a bit more battle-tested than the early developer betas released around WWDC. In this case, the first public beta build is roughly the same as the third developer beta build, so Apple has had some time to address bugs, polish features, and respond to developer feedback. The final releases of the software we get in the fall will usually hew pretty closely to what’s in these public beta builds, just with fewer bugs (and, occasionally, a stripped-out feature or two that is added back to the OS in the winter or spring).

Caveats still apply when installing any beta software, though. Make sure you have up-to-date device backups, including backups of any crucially important files that you can’t afford to lose if something breaks during the install process. You should also avoid installing betas on devices you use day-to-day—if you have an older spare device or a laptop that you use less frequently than your desktop, consider using those instead.

If for any reason you decide you’d like to roll your device back to the previous version of the software, Apple documents the process for restoring iPhones, iPads, Macs, and HomePods here, but downgrading will wipe all existing user data and settings from the device. This process also isn’t possible for some devices, like the Apple Watch or most Apple TV models.

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Running the betas requires hardware that will run the new OS versions. We’ve covered the requirements for iOS 16 here, for iPadOS 16 here, and for macOS Ventura here. WatchOS 9 requires a Series 4 or newer, while tvOS 16 requires a fourth-generation Apple TV (also called the Apple TV HD) or newer.