The first iOS 17 developer beta has been available for nearly a day now, and it seems that a one-of-a-kind bug allows users without a developer account to download and install iOS 17 beta on their iPhones.
The weird yet critical bug has been making the rounds on Twitter, first reported by iMore. Several users with a non-developer Apple ID claim that a new “iOS 17 Developer Beta” option appears under Beta Updates in the Settings apps. Some users took advantage of the bug, enabling them early access to iOS 17. Our very own David Eden-Sangwell was able to install iOS 17 beta on his iPhone 14 Pro through the same bug, which is yet to be fixed by Apple at the time of writing.
The issue also seems to be affecting the watchOS 10 developer beta, with users reportedly able to download and install the beta on their Apple Watches successfully.
How to (officially) download iOS 17 beta
With iOS 17 and the new software beta updates this year, Apple aimed to make it harder for users to download the betas, enforcing a stricter rule that only registered developers can get the updates. Previously, users simply needed to install a beta profile configuration on their device to install the beta updates. The beta profiles for new updates typically spread quickly online. That method meant that many users not part of the Apple Developer program could install and use the betas, which can be dangerous on a daily driver device as the software is unstable and buggy.
With iOS 16.4 released in March, Apple is changing this. Now, only devices enrolled with a linked Apple Developer account will see a new menu within General -> Software Update in Settings that allows users to opt into getting beta updates. Devices that aren’t enrolled and linked to an Apple Developer account aren’t meant to access the menu and therefore aren’t able to install the upcoming versions of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS before their public debut.
Apple also runs a public beta program, which is free and open to anyone who wishes to join. Public beta program members won’t get access to iOS 17 and the rest of the new updates until later in the summer, once the software has been tested with developers and becomes more stable.