Apple’s developer betas are now free to download and install

Those with free Apple developer accounts will finally be able to access developer betas for the company’s latest software at the same time as those who pay. Pointed out by user iSoftware Updates on Twitter and confirmed by Apple’s developer program comparison page, OS beta releases can now be installed without needing to pay the annual $99 fee for the Apple Developer Program. This means that eager users will be able to install the various betas starting today, including iOS 17, for free versus having to wait until July for the public beta. That is, as long as they have an Apple Developer account.

After WWDC yesterday, Apple released the iOS 17 developer beta, and unlike previous years, those on the free tier now have access. While it previously appeared as if opening up access to free accounts meant that the public could also download these, we now understand that not just anyone can access the developer betas. You’ll need to have an Apple ID or account that’s enrolled in the Developer Program. The $99 barrier to entry, though, has been removed.

​​Earlier this year, Apple made a change to how it distributes betas to developers. Previously, developers had to download and install a configuration profile on a per-device basis. But the system now allows users to install betas by simply checking an option within the software update settings directly on their devices. Despite the change, Apple still required you to pay $99 per year in order to gain access to the developer betas. Now, users that don’t want to pay the fee won’t have to wait for the public beta, which was always available for free but typically is released later than developer betas. This year, Apple says the public betas should arrive in July.

We highly discourage running betas on your main devices as there can be bugs and issues, especially early on in the cycle. These betas are intended for developers, who typically have secondary devices to test their applications against the new software. Certain betas, such as those for watchOS 10, tvOS 17, HomePod 17 and AirPods prevent you from rolling back to public, stable software. For those platforms, as soon as you install the beta, you’ll be stuck on it until the next public release comes out, which is typically available later in the fall. Definitely install these betas at your own risk. But those who aren’t risk-averse and are part of the developer program can download these now.

Update (at 10:15pm ET): This article was updated to clarify that while the developer betas are now available to those with free accounts, it was not an accident, nor is it open to just anyone. You will need to have an Apple ID or account associated with the developer program to be able to download the developer betas.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at