Apple on Thursday made its upcoming iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, watchOS 7 and macOS Big Sur software updates available for public beta testing ahead of commercial releases this fall.
Public betas are here
The public betas arrived three weeks after Apple previewed its major upcoming operating system updates during the June 22 WWDC 2020 virtual keynote. Apple released second developer betas of iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, watchOS 7 and macOS 11.0 Big Sur this week.
For those wondering, all of the features improvements and other changes in second developer betas are found in their public beta counterparts.
How to sign up for Apple’s public betas
While you’re discouraged from using any prerelease software on your daily drivers, this year’s betas proved surprisingly stable and reliable overall, with fewer rough edges than in previous beta releases. I’ve certainly experienced fewer crashes (actually, no crashes so far at all) with the iOS 14 beta and my battery life almost matches that of stable iOS releases.
Follow these steps to sign up for the public betas:
- Sign up for the Apple Beta Program by heading to the Apple Beta Software Program website at beta.apple.com, then click Sign Up and enter your Apple ID and password.
- Once you’re signed up and signed in, you’ll be taken to the Guide for Public Betas. Select the device and OS you want to install and read through the brief information so you’re prepared.
- Now is a good time to back up the iOS device on your computer, and archive that backup so it doesn’t get overwritten in the future. We have a detailed guide that walks you through backing up your iOS device. If you decide you don’t like the beta, you will be able to downgrade back to iOS 13, then restore your data and other content from that backup. You should also back up your Apple Watch in the Watch app before you install the beta on your iOS device.
- With the device backed up, you’ll now install Apple’s special configuration profile that will let you receive beta updates over the air via Apple’s Software Update mechanism. Start by accessing Enroll Your Devices link using the Safari browser on your iOS device.
- Click the button Download Profile.
- Tap Allow to download the configuration file. Once the profile has downloaded, tap Close.
- Open the Settings app and tap the entry Profile Downloaded below your Apple ID.
- Now tap Install and enter your passcode when prompted.
- Consent to Apple’s terms by tapping Install, then tap Install once again.
- When profile installation is complete, you’ll be asked to restart your device. Tap Restart to do so or Not Now if you prefer to do it later.
Your device is now ready to receive over-the-air beta updates from Apple.
How to install the public beta
With the configuration profile installed on your iPhone or iPad and the device successfully restarted, you can now get the over-the-air installer for the public beta:
- Go to Settings → General → Software Update on your iOS device.
- You should see the latest public beta available. Tap Download and Install and enter your passcode when prompted to begin downloading the public beta. You will be prompted to install the software once it’s fully downloaded and Apple has verified its integrity.
If you need instructions for how to install the developer beta of iOS and iPadOS 14 to your devices, follow the steps in a separate tutorial.
What’s new in iOS and iPadOS 14
It may take a while for the public beta to install on your device.
Instead of sitting and waiting until the process is finished, watch our hands-on video overview showcasing some of the best new features in iOS and iPadOS 14.
Let me briefly highlight one particular feature, called Back Tap. As we explained in a separate write-up, Back Tap lets you choose a custom action that will execute when you tap the back of your iPhone two or three times. For instance, you could set a double-tap to invoke Siri while triple-tap could trigger your Notification Center or something else.
Here’s a video showing Back Tap in action.
The beauty of this feature, assuming you’re big on iOS automation, is that you can even assign a custom workflow from the Shortcuts app to a Back Tap gesture, which basically allows you to run a complex script with a simple gesture.
Do you own an Apple Pencil and an iPad? If so, you’re going to love the new stylus enhancements in iPadOS 14, and of course we have a video for this as well!
Last but not least, here’s our video overview of all the changes in iOS and iPadOS 14 beta 2.
If you prefer to read about feature changes, be sure to check out our dedicated article listing some of the more important additions in beta 2.
Your impressions on the betas
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t quite recall when was the last time that the inaugural beta of a major OS update didn’t crash every few minutes and didn’t tax the battery like there’s no tomorrow — these are very polished and stable releases indeed.
What are your initial impressions of iOS and iPadOS 14 so far?
Let us know by leaving a comment down below.