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How to Install the iOS 13 Public Beta on Your iPhone

Update Sept. 13: Apple says that the full release of iOS is coming Sept. 19.

For iPhone users, iOS 13 promises to be an exciting update when it arrives next month, delivering speed improvements, a new Dark Mode and updates to many of the built-in apps, among other features big and small. So it's understandable why some people might want to know how to install iOS 13 before the final version comes out — even if that release is less than a week away.

Credit: Apple

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple made a beta of iOS 13 available to developers right after it announced the new version of the mobile OS in early June, and the public beta of iOS 13 went live on June 24 (which was actually ahead of schedule). The beta phase sees numerous updates that iron out bugs and make things more stable (that's the hope, anyway), and Apple has followed up the initial beta with several updates. Apple just rolled out the seventh public beta for iOS 13, just a few hours after developers were given the eighth iteration of their iOS 13 beta. (Developers are one step ahead of the public when it comes to betas, so that Apple can iron out any bugs.)

While the initial developer beta was too unreliable for regular users, the more stable public beta offers a sneak peek at the forthcoming update that shouldn't pose as much of a risk of bricking your handset. Subsequent updates to the public beta have stamped out even more bugs, though you might still run into some problems here and there.

At this point, you could simply wait until Sept. 19 when Apple plans to release iOS 13. But if you're itching to get a jump on the rest of the world — or perhaps you've got a spare iOS device lying around — here's everything you need to know about how to download and install the iOS 13 beta.

Should I download the iOS 13 beta?

The answer to that question depends on your circumstances. The difference between the developer and public betas of iOS 13 is that Apple has deemed the public version consistent enough for everyday use, and largely free of the show-stopping bugs that might've plagued the first developer beta release . Of course, that's not to say the public beta is perfect — even after all those beta updates, you still might find some bugs here and there — though the problems shouldn't be as widespread and potentially destructive.

If it's especially important that your phone remain perfectly operational and unencumbered by possible bugs, you should probably skip the beta, even at this late stage. After all, you only have to wait until Sept. 19 before Apple rolls out iOS 13 to everyone. (Even then, the super-cautious might want to wait for the first update or two just to make sure Apple addresses any major bugs other users run into.)

Our best recommendation for any beta is to install the iOS 13 beta on a backup iPhone or iPod touch if you happen to have one at your disposal; evaluate it there first, then decide if you could get away with running it on your main iOS device. 

No matter how you install the beta, before you do, you'll definitely want to make an archived backup of your iOS device so that you can restore things to their current state if your beta experience goes wrong. To make an archived backup:

1. Plug your iOS device into your computer and launch iTunes. Click on the iPhone icon to access your device.

2. Backup your iPhone. Make sure you've selected This Computer as the location for the backup and then click Back Up Now.

3. Go to the Preferences Menu and select Devices. You'll see a list of your last iPhone backups.

4. Control-click on the backup you just made, and on the menu that appears, select Archive. This will prevent subsequent backups from writing over this version.

What devices can run iOS 13?

According to Apple, any iPhone from the iPhone 6s onward can run the updated OS. That includes the iPhone SE. The just-released 7th-generation iPod touch can run the update, too.

iOS 13 won't run on the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus — all three devices are compatible with the current version of iOS 12. That means iPhones released in 2015 and earlier have reached the end of the line when it comes to software updates.

As for the iPad, Apple's spun that into its own OS, now called iPadOS. And there are separate instructions for installing iPadOS 13, which as of July 30, is also up to version 4 of the public beta.

How can I get the iOS 13 beta?

If you haven't yet installed iOS 13, you'll need to enroll in Apple's public beta to get started. Head to the Beta Program page, log in with your Apple ID and agree to abide by Apple's terms. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Then follow these steps to download the iOS 13 profile and install it on your supported iOS device.

1. Under the Getting Started section, tap the link to enroll your iOS device in the iOS 13 beta. 

2. This will take you to the profile installation webpage, where you'll want to tap the Download profile button. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

3. Your iPhone will ask you if you'd like to allow a beta profile to be installed. Tap Allow. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

4. Next, you'll need to enable the profile you just downloaded. Go to the Settings app, and there will be a notice at the top of the screen that a profile is ready to be installed. Tap Profile Downloaded. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

5. On the following screen, tap Install near the profile you just downloaded, then follow the prompts to restart your phone. 

When your device restarts, the beta should automatically begin downloading; you can check its progress the very same way you'd check the progress of a normal system update, within the General sub-menu of the Settings app. 

If you'd like to back out of the public beta for any reason, simply return to the profile page in the General tab and tap the Remove Profile button, and the next software update that is pushed to your device will roll you back to the stable iOS 12 channel.

How do I get the latest version of the iOS 13 beta?

Once you've installed the iOS 13 beta, when a new version comes out, just head to the Settings app, select General, and tap on Software Update. Your iPhone will check if your software is up-to-date, and if there's a new version of the beta available — as there currently is, with iOS 13.1, public beta 3 — you can follow the on-screen prompts to download and install it.