Home / iPhone / How to install the iOS 16 developer beta and why you should wait

How to install the iOS 16 developer beta and why you should wait


Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Apple on Monday held the opening keynote for the Worldwide Developer Conference 2022, where the company announced iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS Ventura and WatchOS 9. The software updates include a long list of new features and improvements, ranging from the ability to edit or delete sent messages in iMessage to external monitor support for M1 iPads. 

As is customary, Apple has released the first developer beta for the unfinished operating systems so app makers can begin to integrate the new APIs and features into their own apps. 

Anyone with a paid developer account will have access to the beta(s) and can install the update(s) on a compatible device with just a few clicks or taps. And even if you don’t have a paid developer account, it’s only a matter of time before the proper beta profiles are shared that allow you to install the betas even though you haven’t paid Apple the $99 a year that’s required for legitimate access to the betas. 

Apple has said that the public beta for all of the software announced on Monday will go live next month, giving anyone access to the updates. I’ve included a full list of iPhone and iPad models that are compatible with iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 at the bottom of this post. 


The iPhone’s lock screen is getting a major overhaul in iOS 16.


Why you should wait to install iOS 16 and iPadOS 16

One of the reasons Apple’s beta program typically runs from June to September is because it’s not finished. And when software isn’t finished, there are several bugs and issues that crop up as more people install the update. Some of those issues and bugs can, and often do, make it very difficult to use your iPhone or iPad for basic tasks. For instance, during previous beta programs I’ve had my iPhone become completely unresponsive when trying to answer a phone call. Eventually I had to restore my phone in order to get it working again — losing precious data and several hours of my time. 

Even though show-stopping bugs like the one I just mentioned aren’t all that common, you’re sure to experience compatibility issues with the apps you use on a daily basis. Because those apps haven’t been updated to work with the latest software (and likely won’t be until it’s released this fall), some apps just won’t work. I’ve had issues with banking apps in the past, or even the Twitter app at one point. Admittedly, a forced break from Twitter isn’t the worst thing that can happen, but it can be really frustrating when an app you use and rely on daily breaks because you’ve installed a beta. 

If the potential of bricking your Apple device or tons of bugs in your favorite apps isn’t enough to dissuade you from installing Apple’s latest beta software, perhaps battery life will. That is to say, battery life during the beta program is absolutely horrible. If you’re accustomed to getting through a full day of use with your iPhone on iOS 15, expect that to be cut in half. On a good day. 

Making matters worse, just because an app, feature, or battery life is fine on a specific beta doesn’t mean that a future update will break something you need. 

My sage advice? Wait until later in the beta cycle, towards the end of July or mid-August before jumping aboard the beta train. This allows Apple to gather and implement feedback from only the most diehard users who are willing to spend the time troubleshooting and submitting feedback. 

Complicating matters is that you can’t go back to iOS 15 and keep all of the information on your device intact. Unless, of course, you created a local back up of your iPhone or iPad before updating to iOS 16. If you forgot to create a local backup on your Mac and thought you could just use iCloud to restore your phone, I have bad news. You can’t restore an iOS 16 created iCloud backup to an iOS 15 device. In other words, you’ll have to factory reset your device and start all over to go back to an official iOS/iPadOS release. 


A new MacOS feature will let you use your iPhone as a webcam. Wirelessly. 


How to install iOS 16 or iPadOS 16

If you insist on taking part in the beta program, here’s what you need to install the developer beta on your iPhone or iPad. 

First, you’ll need to sign up for Apple’s paid Developer Program. The cost of the program is right at $100 a year, giving you early access to software updates and documentation. You can sign up for the program on the web or use the Apple Developer app

Before you do anything else, make sure to create a backup of your iPhone or iPad using a computer. For ease of restoring in the future, make sure to create an encrypted backup. 

Once you’ve signed up for a developer account and backed up your device, visit the Downloads page on the Developer website. There you’ll find the appropriate developer beta profiles for both iOS 15.6 and for iOS 16. You need to install the developer beta profile on the specific device you want to install the beta on, so I recommend visiting the Downloads page on that device to speed up the process. 

After installing the developer profile, follow the prompts on your iPad or iPhone. You’ll need to reboot your device, then go to Settings > General > Software Update to download and install the update just as you would an official update. 

iPhone and iPad models you can install iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 on

Here are all of the iPhone models that will run iOS 16:

  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 mini
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation or later)

And here are all of the iPad models that will run iPadOS 16:

  • iPad Pro (all models)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation and later)
  • iPad (5th generation and later)
  • iPad mini (5th generation and later)

Note that Stage Manager and external monitor support require an iPad that uses Apple’s M1 processor. That means the current generation of iPad Pro and the iPad Air are the only two models that have access to the feature.

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