How to test iOS 15, watchOS 8 and iPadOS 15

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Image: Apple – You can get a quick peep on Apple’s next-gen software now if you can’t wait until September. Most are fine waiting for annual iOS, iPadOS and watchOS upgrades until September. But to the impatients of us, the next generation of Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch software can actually be tested starting today by uploading the betas publicly available on iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8.

As always, beta software installation involves a certain level of risk. Note: Unfinished versions of what will be delivered by Apple in September. While nothing bad can happen, you could be running into bugs or applications that don’t work and you might bork your device in the worst-case scenario. We recommend to try one of those first if you have a compatible backup phone, tablet or watch. But also if you are a unicorn who feels zero fear in view of the gadget collapse you can feel free to embrace the uncertain. This is a roundup of how one or all of the public betas can in any case be installed.

Make your device safe and compatible

This may appear obvious, but your iOS 15/iPadOS 15/watchOS 8 device must be supported. Here’s a convenient list of the devices for each version of software.

iOS 15 supporting devices:

  • iPhone 6S, 6S Plus
  • iPhone SE (1st and 2nd gen)
  • iPhone 7, 7Plus
  • iPod Touch (7th gen)
  • iPhone 8, 8 Plus
  • iPhone X, XS, XS Max, XR
  • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 mini, 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max

iPads that support iPadOS 15:

  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad mini (5th gen)
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Air (3rd and 4th gen)
  • iPad (5th-8th gen)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st-3rd gen)
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st-5th gen)

Apple Watches that support watchOS 8*:

  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch SE
  • Apple Watch Series 6

*For watchOS 8, you’ll also need to install iOS 15 on the iPhone the watch is paired with.

Back It Up! Back It Up!

Without backup, I know you wouldn’t run off and install public betas on your main device. Because betas do not always run as you would expect, you know, as we mentioned earlier. While the most recent developer beta, which is based on the public beta, was quite stable in our testing, be more safe than sorry.

As always, any of your devices can be backed up to iCloud. This is the easiest way to do this, but your iPhone and iPad can be backed up via Mac or PC. Apple Watches saves backups to their paired iPhone automatically. So essentially, first back up your iPhone if you want to back up your Apple Watch data.

Here’s how you can save your iPhone or iPad to a Big Sur Mac:

Connect your device via USB, USB-C or wifi to your Mac first. Then open the Finder window and select the sidebar of your device. Next, choose General in the bar of buttons. From here it’s possible to select the backup location from: iCloud, or on your Mac locally. To crypt your data and protect it with a password, you may choose the following “Encrypt Local Backup” option. You can now click Back Up after all that.

The process on the PC is similar, but iTunes must be used. Connect your computer to your device first or enable wireless synchronization. Then fire the iTunes app up and select the device from the window top-left. Now, then, back up now, click Summary. At that point you can also select “Local backup encryption,” enter a password and then click on Password Set. You can then select Edit > Preferences > Devices to view your backups.

Set the Public Betas Go Forth

Now it’s time for you to download the public betas, because you have backed up your devices. You can go there on the device you choose to visit the Apple Beta software website. If you haven’t already signed up for the program. It is a painless way that your Apple ID and 2FA verification are provided. You will then download the configuration profile to your device, install it and click on the Software Update button in the Settings General tab.

Again, please remember that you will need to first install iOS 15 on your iPhone if you want watchOS 8. Otherwise, the steps are the same, but after the watchOS 8 configuration profile is downloaded you will go to the Watch app > General > Software Update.

If a download doesn’t, but don’t worry, you may need to repeat a step here and there. This is quite ordinary and not an all borked sign. Also be aware that no new feature that has been tired of WWDC may be available to you.

Sometimes you may lack key hardware components that enable a specific functionality in later versions of a beta, or depending on the device you are using. You downloaded the public betas successfully now, go ahead and have fun! Experience all the cool stuff! And if you are still uncertain about plunging, read our iOS 15 previews and watchOS 8.