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It’s been two weeks since Apple’s big WWDC 2020 keynote where it took the wraps off of iOS 14, watchOS 7, macOS Big Sur and the rest of its 2020 software lineup, also releasing its first developer previews. So, it’s probably not a big surprise that the second betas have rolled out to developers this week, pretty much right on schedule.
While you still need to be a registered developer to get your hands on these latest betas, it’s a sign that new public beta could be arriving any day now.
Public betas are almost always the exact same betas that registered developers get, and although Apple has traditionally waited until the third developer beta of a major iOS release before offering up a public beta — in other words, public beta 1 is often equivalent to developer beta 3 — the iPhone maker surprised everyone last year by releasing the first public beta of iOS 13 only a week after it dropped the second developer beta.
So we’re certainly hoping that history could repeat itself again this year, especially since Apple is off to a much later start in the beta cycle. In this case we could see the first public beta of iOS 14 land later this week or early next week, and this year Apple has an extra treat in store as well.
watchOS Joins the Party
In previous years, Apple’s watchOS operating systems were always limited to registered developers, and while the company’s reasons for this were never entirely clear, many speculated that it was due to the difficulty in downgrading an Apple Watch back to an earlier version of watchOS, leaving users stuck if they later have problems and regret installing the beta. While an iPhone or iPad can be downgraded, of course, this isn’t exactly an easy task either, but at least it’s possible.
This year, however, Apple will be including watchOS 7 in its public beta program, meaning that Apple Watch users who opt to install the iOS 14 public beta can also get the corresponding Apple Watch update, which may hopefully avoid some of the problems that some beta testers experienced last year that could have been as a result of mismatched versions. After all, as independent as Apple has been trying to make the Apple Watch, it still tethers to your iPhone whenever it’s within range.
How to Get the Public Betas
While the public betas aren’t available yet, you can prepare for them by registering for the Apple Beta Software Program at Apple’s site.
Note that if you’ve already registered for previous public betas, such as iOS 13, you won’t need to sign up again, however you will need to download new configuration profiles to get the public betas for this year’s major OS releases — once Apple makes them available, that is.
The configuration profiles that are currently available on Apple’s public beta program website are only for the iOS/iPadOS 13 and macOS Catalina betas (e.g. iOS 13.6). Apple will be publishing new configuration profiles for the iOS 14, iPadOS 14, macOS Big Sur, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7 public betas once they’re released.
That said, Apple has already published the instructions for how you’ll be able to install the public betas, including for watchOS 7, which will be loaded over the air like any other watchOS update, however Apple also clearly notes that there’s no going back — the Apple Watch cannot be restored to previously-released watchOS versions once the public beta has been installed.