July 12, 2024

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Apple removes $99 dev account requirement for the first beta of iOS 17 and macOS 14 – Ars Technica

Apple removes  dev account requirement for the first beta of iOS 17 and macOS 14 – Ars Technica

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Normally when Apple announces big updates to a new operating system at WWDC, it releases early betas to app developers who have paid for an Apple developer account. A few weeks later, once the beta had been updated a few times, it released somewhat more stable public betas for public consumption.

This year has changed. Anyone who logs in to Apple developers site With their Apple ID, they’ll be able to access developer betas of iOS 17, macOS Sonoma, and other Apple operating systems for free. In fact, sending apps to Apple for App Store distribution (or, on a Mac, signing them so you can distribute them outside the App Store without turning off macOS’ many unsigned app warning messages) will still cost $99 per year. But enthusiasts and testers who use developer accounts to access the early beta will no longer need to pay to do so.

Apple will continue to release public beta builds for all of its operating systems through Public beta program Sometime in July.

It should go without saying, however Do not install these experimental operating systems on anything you rely on day in and day out. This is doubly true for these developer betas, which have historically been particularly buggy and prone to crashes and compatibility issues. Previous Apple betas correspond to the third or fourth developer beta, so if you’ve only tried public betas before, know that the first developer beta is usually in pretty rough shape.

How to install and how things have changed

Pricing isn’t the only thing that’s changed about how Apple has released its beta program since the first betas of iOS 16 and macOS Ventura a year ago.

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The process is a little different for iDevices and Macs, but historically you’ve needed to download a file and run it on your device to point it to beta update servers instead of public ones. On iDevices, this was “submitted file“,” while Macs just had a package that used the command line seedutil Behind the scenes tool. (Installing the developer beta on macOS has been “free” for a long time, if you search for the right one seedutil order.)

That changed around the releases of iOS 16.4 and macOS 13.3. You can now opt in or out of Apple beta programs in the Software Update section of the Settings app. The list of betas available to you is tied to your Apple ID, so you’ll need to sign in to your device with the same Apple ID that you used to sign in to the Apple developer site.

It’s a little annoying that you need to sign in with your Apple ID to access the betas, although you can sign out once you’ve installed the software and perform a factory reset if you want a fresh, “clean” install of the new OS. You’ll also need to be running a recent version of macOS or iOS on your devices, which can add some extra update time if you’re using a test phone, tablet, or Mac that you don’t always use and don’t update.

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But the new system helps solve one problem that I sometimes encountered while testing the program. This time of year, Apple usually tests two different beta operating systems — iOS 17 and macOS 14 are currently available along with iOS 16.6 and macOS 13.5, for example. The new system makes it easier to see exactly which trial you’re in and to easily switch between (or opt out of) trial programs if you wish.

Apple still offers full IPSW restore images for many devices. These are the same type of boot images that macOS uses, or a Apple component The program will be downloaded to revive a Soft brick deviceand you can Turn on your device inside recovery mode And install it directly without the need to log in. This is also the fastest way to have a clean install, if you prefer a blank slate when you start testing new software, and the only real way to install behind to a non-beta version of the operating system.

However, Photo Recovery is only available for old iPhone, iPad, Apple Silicon Macs and Apple TV HD. Newer Intel Macs, Apple Watches, and Apple TVs need to be updated via a software update. Apple Watches and newer Apple TV devices are not downgradeable after you upgrade them, so proceed with extreme caution there.