How to download the iOS 18 developer beta

The iOS 18 beta appears on a download screen on aniPhone 12 running iOS 17
(Image credit: Future)

iOS 18 arrives later this year — almost certainly around the same time as the iPhone 16 models — giving you access to all the new tools Apple outlined in its WWDC 2024 keynote. But if you don't want to wait until the fall to customize your home screen, see the redesigned Photos or try any of the other new features in iOS 18, you can download a beta of the software right now.

That would be the iOS 18 developer beta, which technically is for members of the Apple Developer Program, a $99/year membership that gives you access to Apple's tools for building apps that run on its programs. But there's also a free tier to the developer program that simply requires you to sign in with your Apple ID, giving you access to software betas like the one currently available for iOS 18.

We can show you how to download the iOS 18 developer beta, though we should throw up a few cautionary flags first. Betas are very much works in progress with incomplete features, unpolished rough edges and the potential for lots of bugs, some of which might be show-stoppers. Some of the apps you depend on may not run properly on an operating system beta. And reports prior to iOS 18's preview warned that early iOS 18 betas may be buggier than usual.

If that sounds ominous to you, you may want to wait for the iOS 18 public beta, which Apple expects to release around July, as that version figures to be in better shape than the initial developer release. Even if you do decide to take the plunge with the iOS 18 developer beta, do not install it on any iPhone you depend on to function properly. It's always a good idea to do your beta testing on a spare device.

How to download the iOS 18 developer beta

To install the iOS 18 beta, you'll need an iPhone XR or later, including the iPhone SE 2020 and 2022. Note that Apple Intelligence features will only work on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Before you install the beta, make sure to back up your iPhone, just in case anything goes wrong and you need to return to the land of iOS 17.

1. Sign into Apple's developer site

(Image: © Future)

Go to Apple's developer site and tap the menu bar in the upper left corner, followed by Account. When prompted, sign in with your Apple ID.

2. Check for software updates

(Image: © Future)

Launch the Settings app and tap General, followed by Software Update.

3. Select the iOS 18 developer beta

(Image: © Future)

If you're up-to-date on the latest version of iOS, the iOS 18 developer beta may already be waiting for you. If not, tap Beta Updates and select the iOS 18 Developer Beta from the list.

4. Download the beta

(Image: © Future)

Select either Update Now, which will start the beta downloading right way, or Update Tonight, which will delay the beta until later. You'll be prompted to enter your passcode, and if you've selected Update Now, the download will commence.

Downloading betas can take a while, so make sure your iPhone is attached to a charger when you grab the iOS 18 beta.

5. Install the beta

(Image: © Future)

Once the beta is download, you'll be prompted to either install it now or wait until later. When the installation process is done, your iPhone will restart. After you enter your passcode, iOS 18 will be installed and ready to test.


If you're not yet ready to test out iOS 18, at least familiarize yourself with your Apple device by checking out our favorite hidden iPhone features. We can also show you how to use the Check In feature or how to use Name Drop — two features Apple added in last year's iOS 17 update.

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Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.