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watchOS 8 beta — how to download to your Apple Watch right now

watchOS 8 beta — how to download to your Apple Watch right now
(Image credit: Apple)

It's official — the watchOS 8 Apple Watch software update is arriving this fall. But if you're an app creator interested in checking out the upcoming features in advance, you can install the developer version of the watchOS 8 beta on a compatible device right now.

Announced at WWDC 2021, watchOS 7 offers owners of the Apple Watch Series 3 to Apple Watch Series 6 new mindfulness features, added workout modes, better messaging options and expanded HomeKit tools.

Users will also benefit from multiple timers, precipitation notifications and a redesigned Photos experience.

With all these features lined up, it's no wonder you're itching to get started with watchOS 8, especially if you're a software developer looking to leverage your programs for the upgraded Apple Watch experience. The developer version is more exclusive than the public beta, because you'll need the developer certificate installed on your watch for the installation to work.

So before you press ahead, keep in mind that beta versions of software — especially developer versions — aren't what you'll experience when the final version debuts later this year. The watchOS 8 beta could drain the device's battery faster than usual, and certain apps might not work as they should.

You'll also need to be in possession of an iPhone running the iOS 15 developer beta in order to use the watchOS 8 beta. Check out our guide on how to download the iOS 15 beta if you don't have it installed on a smartphone already.

Here's how to download the watchOS 8 beta right now on your Apple Watch, plus information on installing the Apple developer certificate below. 

How to download the watchOS 8 developer beta

If you want to download the developer version of the watchOS 8 beta, you'll first you'll need to install the developer beta certificate on your watch, giving it permission to run developer software. Here's how to get that certificate: 

1. Open in Safari on the iPhone (running iOS 15) paired to your Apple Watch.

2. Click Discover > watchOS > Download.

3. Enter your Apple ID and password when prompted.

4. Select Install Profile adjacent to watchOS 8 Beta.

5. Tap Allow, giving your iPhone permission to run the installation.

6. Click Install, enter your iPhone passcode, and click Install again to begin the certificate download process.

7. Click Restart and your Apple Watch will reboot. When your Apple Watch restarts, you should have the developer profile installed and able to accept the watchOS 8 beta.

8. Open the Watch app on your iPhone. Make sure your Apple Watch and iPhone are charged at least halfway and paired to your Wi-Fi network.

9. Select My Watch > GeneralSoftware UpdateDownload and Install.

10. Enter your passcode and Agree to the Terms and Conditions.

11. Click Install to download the watchOS 8 beta.

You should see watchOS 8 download on your iPhone and transfer the progress to your Apple Watch. Your watch will reboot when the update is installing, which could take time so be patient. Your Apple Watch might restart once more when the installation is complete, and you should be working with watchOS 8.