Apple has teased great things to come in iOS 15, including new FaceTime functionality, a redesigned notification system and offline Siri support, and it's available to try in beta form right now ahead of the full release on Monday 20 September 2021.
Here's all you need to know about the iOS 15 beta, including how to download it right now and the risks involved. If you'd rather wait for full release next week, we cover how to download iOS 15 separately.
Can I download and install iOS 15 on my iPhone?
As long as your iPhone is compatible with iOS 14, you should be able to download iOS 15 when it's released on Monday. Just to confirm, here’s all the devices which can get iOS 15, including the recently announced iPhone 13 range:
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 Mini
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 Mini
- iPhone SE (second-gen)
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone X
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 6S
- iPhone 6S Plus
- iPhone SE (first-gen)
The risks of installing beta software
Before we explain how to download beta versions of iOS on your iPhone, we need to first explain the situation with beta software. For those unaware, betas are unfinished, and that means you’ll likely run into bugs, glitches and even crashes that leave you locked out of various areas of your smartphone.
In other words, don’t expect the iOS 15 beta to be as stable as Apple’s current software. That can be true not only of the iPhone software itself, but the apps you’ve got installed - some may work perfectly in iOS 14, but crash upon opening in iOS 15.
If you do decide to take the plunge, we can’t stress how important it is to back up your iPhone using an archived backup prior to the upgrade. Without an archived backup, you won’t be able to restore from a backup if you decide to go back to iOS 14, due to Apple not supporting restore data from newer software updates. Essentially, if you back up your iPhone running iOS 15, you won’t be able to restore from that backup if you want to go back to iOS 14.
To archive a backup, open iTunes (or Finder in macOS Big Sur), click Preferences > Devices. You’ll then see a list of all your backups - right-click your most recent backup and select Archive to save it from being overwritten.
How to download the iOS 15 Public Beta
With the past few big iOS updates, Apple has given keen fans the opportunity to beta test the software ahead of full release, and that's true of iOS 15 too. If you understand the risks involved but still want to try out the iOS 15 public beta, follow these steps:
- Go to the Apple Beta Software Program website and click Sign up. (Click 'Sign in' if you enrolled in a previous year.)
- Accept the agreement by clicking on the 'Accept' button, after reading it of course!
- On your iPhone, open Safari and go to beta.apple.com/profile, sign into the same Apple account and download and install the profile.
- Go to Settings > General > Profile, tap on iOS 15 & iPadOS 15 Beta Software Program and tap Install.
- When prompted, restart your iPhone.
- Now open Settings > General > Software Update and the Public Beta should appear.
- Tap Download and Install.
It will take a while to download the software and you'll be prompted to install it once it has been downloaded.
Note that if you have another profile installed already (such as a developer profile) you will need to remove that first from Settings > General > Profile before downloading and installing the public beta profile.
How to install the iOS 15 Developer Beta
If you're a registered iOS developer, here’s how to install the iOS 15 developer beta:
- On your iPhone, head to developer.apple.com in Safari and log in with your Apple ID details.
- Head to the Downloads section, listed in the menu on the left.
- Scroll down to the iOS 15 beta and tap the Install Profile button.
- You’ll see a pop-up appear asking whether you want to download a profile to your iPhone. Click Accept.
- Head to the Settings app and tap Profile Downloaded at the top of the list. If this doesn’t appear, head to General > Profile and tap on the iOS 14 beta profile.
- Tap Install in the top-right to install the iOS 15 beta profile.
- Agree to the developer consent form.
- Restart your iPhone to finish installing the beta profile.
- Once restarted, go back to the Settings app and head to General > Software Update.
- You should see the iOS 15 beta appear - tap Download and Install, and wait for your iPhone to download the update.
- Once downloaded, you’ll see a pop-up appear asking to install the update. Tap Install to install the iOS 15 beta update.
- Everything you need to know about iOS 15
- How to use Safari in iOS 15
- How to set up a Notification Summary in iOS 15
- How to use Portrait Mode and mic controls in any iOS 15 app
- How to use Focus modes in iOS 15
- How to drag-and-drop screenshots in iOS 15
- How to FaceTime Windows and Android users in iOS 15
- How to downgrade from the iOS 15 beta