Today, the first public betas of Apple’s next-generation operating systems, Ars Technica, are launched

Today, the first public betas of Apple's next generation operating systems are launched


Apple is officially releasing the first public betas of iOS 17, iPadOS 17, watchOS 10 and macOS 14 Sonoma today, just over a month after it released the first developer betas at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

While not as big a milestone as it has been in years past, the developer betas are now available to anyone who signs up for a free Apple developer account, and the builds released today are essentially identical to the third developer betas released by Apple. last week’s public beta period typically signals that Apple’s newest operating systems are approaching the level of stability and polish needed for a public release.

To get new beta versions of iOS or macOS, first sign up for Apple’s public beta software program with your Apple ID. Then, on a compatible device, go to the Software Update page in settings and activate the beta version of your choice (a separate beta track is also available for those continuing to test iOS 16 and macOS 13 updates). As usual, you should ensure you have current backups before upgrading, and do not install beta software on any device you rely on on a daily basis as the only way back to non-beta software is a hard reset in recovery mode .

The iOS 17 update will run on an iPhone XS, iPhone XR, or any other newer device. The iPadOS 17 update requires an iPad 6th generation or later, iPad mini 5th generation or later, iPad Air 3rd generation or later, or iPad Pro 2nd generation or later. The macOS Sonoma update generally requires an Intel or Apple Silicon Mac introduced in 2018 or later. WatchOS 10 and tvOS 17 will work on any watchOS 9 or tvOS 16 compatible device.

For those installing the betas, expect a relatively light year for major new features as Apple directs most of its development efforts to the new visionOS and developer tools for the upcoming Vision Pro headset.

All OS updates include improved AutoCorrect, new iMessage and AirDrop features, separate profiles for Safari, an enhanced private browsing feature, and the removal of “Hey” from the “Hey Siri” wake-up phrase. The iOS update includes a new always-on smart display mode called StandBy for when your phone is plugged in and charging on a cradle. Both iOS and iPadOS are also getting a new journaling app called Journal. The iPad will get the customizable lock screen features Apple introduced in iOS 16 last year, and Sonoma includes redesigned desktop widgets and the ability to sync iPhone widgets to your Mac, plus a new “game mode” and tools. to help developers easily port their Windows games to the Mac.

Some features available in betas may not be available in the first “official” release of operating systems this fall, and some previously announced features will also not be available in betas yet. At this point, it’s common for Apple to hold back a handful of announced features for a later OS update, giving the company more time to work on them without delaying the release of the rest of the OS. The collaborative app Freeform, for example, was announced at WWDC in the summer of 2022 but wasn’t added to the operating system until December 2022, several months after the initial releases of iOS 16 and macOS 13 Ventura.

Based on past years, we expect the iOS 17 update to roll out with Apple’s next-generation iPhones in September. The macOS update is more likely to be released in October, and iPadOS could be released in September or October, depending on how long that is (Apple delayed the release of iPadOS 16 last year, and the first publicly available version was in reality iPadOS 16.1).

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