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June 5, 2018

How to get the iOS 12 developer beta on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

by John_A

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

At this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple unveiled the latest version of its mobile operating system — iOS 12. While the update mainly focused on delivering a faster and more responsive OS across a range of older iPhones and iPads, it also packs a host of new apps and features. 

As usual, the public beta doesn’t launch until later in the summer, and the final version won’t be released until the fall, alongside new iPhone devices. But for those who can’t wait that long, you can still try the developer beta, but it will cost you some cash. Here’s how to install it right now.

Compatible devices

First, make sure your device is capable of running the iOS 12 beta. Like iOS 11, iOS 12 is only compatible with 64-bit devices — which means 32-bit devices like the iPhone 5 won’t be able to run the update.

Here are the supported iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices:

  • iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X
  • iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini 3, iPad Mini 4 iPad 9.7-inch, iPad Pro 9.7-inch, iPad Pro 12.9-inch, iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPod touch (sixth generation)

Purchase a Developers Account

To download the iOS 12 developer beta, you’ll have to purchase a membership for Apple’s Developer Program. You can enroll either enroll as a single person or with an organization. Either way, you’ll need to provide basic personal information such as your legal name and address. The membership does come at a cost though — you’ll have to shell out $100 per year.

Included in the membership are software and tools — you’ll have the ability to download and install the latest beta OS releases. This includes iOS 12, macOS Mojave, watchOS, and tvOS. For those looking to develop their own apps, you’ll also have the ability to invite users to try them via TestFlight Beta testing before releasing them on the App Store, and more.

Once you’ve created your account, you’ll have to register your device on Apple’s Developer site. After entering your login and password information, you’ll then be able to access the Developer portal.

Back up your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Before you update to the iOS 12 beta, you should make sure to back up your device’s data. That way if you lose anything while downloading the new OS, it’ll be easy to restore things back to the way they were.

You can choose to back up data on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch via iCloud or via iTunes on a PC or Mac.

Here’s how to back up an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using iCloud:

  • Connect your device to a Wi-Fi network.
  • Open Settings, select your name, and tap iCloud. (If you’re using iOS 10.2 or earlier, you’ll have to scroll down and tap iCloud).
  • Tap iCloud Backup. (For those on iOS 10.2 or earlier, tap Backup). Also, make sure that iCloud Backup is turned on.
  • Tap Back Up Now.
  • You should also make sure to check the backup is completed. You can do this by opening Settings, tapping on your name, go to iCloud > iCloud Storage > Manage Storage and tap on your device from the list.

If you choose to back up your device using a computer, you can use the built-in backup function via iTunes.

Here’s how to back up an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using iTunes:

  • Make sure your iTunes is updated to the latest version, open it up, and plug your iOS device in.
  • Follow the onscreen steps if a message asks for your device password or to Trust This Computer.
  • Select your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch when it appears in iTunes.
  • You can save Health and Activity data from your iOS device or Apple Watch by selecting Encrypt and creating a passcode. If you don’t want to save your Health and Activity data, you can just click Back Up Now.
  • After the process is done, you can check to see if the backup finished successfully by clicking iTunes Preferences > Devices (on a Mac) or Edit > Preferences > Devices (on a PC).

Downloading iOS 12 beta

To download the beta, go to while on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch and click on the Downloads section. You’ll then be brought to a list of all different betas — you’ll want to tap download next to iOS 12. Once you agree to the terms and services, you’ll be able to tap Install followed by Restart to finalize the download on your device.

Installing iOS 12 beta on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

Once your device restarts, head over to Settings > General > Software Update. You’ll then be able to tap Download and Install, which will prompt you to enter your passcode. After agreeing to the Terms and Conditions, your device will begin to download the beta. After the download is complete and your device reboots one more time, you’ll officially be running iOS 12.

Do be aware that there are some quirks in betas, so we don’t recommend installing iOS 12 on your primary phone at the moment. We’ll update this post when the public beta is available.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • iOS 12 will make your iPhone faster and less annoying. Here’s what’s coming
  • Measure, Apple Books, Shortcuts: Our favorite new and updated apps in iOS 12
  • The latest version of MacOS now supports storing your messages in Apple’s cloud
  • Common iOS 11 problems and advice on how to handle them
  • Need a do-over? Here’s how to factory reset an iPhone, from X on down

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