Software makers have become more and more open to the idea of public betas: trial runs of new apps and operating systems that anyone who wants to can get involved with. They get their code tested for free, and we get to try out new features ahead of time.

Getting started with these betas is easier than you might think, and they’re available on just about every platform out there, as we’ll explain below. It won’t cost you anything, and you can quit a beta whenever you like.

Bear in mind, though, that betas are unfinished software—you take this step at your own risk. We don’t recommend running beta code on devices that are critically important to you, as bugs, crashes, and incompatibilities can crop up.

It’s unlikely (but not impossible) that a beta will completely break your phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop—most betas are reasonably stable and close to being finished. But an app you rely on daily might stop working, or some of your data might disappear.

iOS and iPadOS Betas

pYou can download and install a beta profile right from your iPhone.p

You can download and install a beta profile right from your iPhone.

Apple via David Nield

If you’d like to run beta software on your iPhone, then you need to head to the Apple Beta Software Program page on the web. Follow the Sign up link, enter your Apple ID credentials, and then open the iOS tab—you’ll see the current beta version of iOS that’s being tested at the moment.

Follow the Enroll your iOS device link, then take note of the guidelines on the subsequent page for backing up your device. With that done, you need to open the page on your actual iPhone, sign in, and then download the profile file that’s presented to you.

Restart your phone, then open up the Settings app and click General then Software Update, where details of the latest beta update should appear. Choose to download and install the update, and once your phone restarts again, it’ll be running the beta version rather than the standard version of iOS.

It’s exactly the same if you’re on an iPad, except you are of course following the iPadOS and Enroll your iPad links where applicable, instead of the ones related to iOS and iPhones. On both iPhones and iPads, you’ll continue to get beta software updates until you quit the beta software program, which is done by going to General and Profiles from Settings, tapping the beta profile, and choosing Remove.

Android Betas

pOnce the Android beta program ends you'll get moved to the finished software.p

Once the Android beta program ends, you’ll get moved to the finished software.

Google via David Nield

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