How to download and install the iOS 13 and iPadOS public betas

Try Apple’s latest mobile OS before it’s released

Ever since WWDC 2018, you’ve wanted all those fab new iOS 13 and iPadOS features for yourself. But Apple cruelly hasn’t supplied you with a TARDIS app, so you can zip to September and install them. Bah. In fact: twice bah.

But wait! Because by way of the Apple Beta Software Program, anyone can get iOS 13 on to their iPhone and iPadOS on to their iPad right now. But how? Here’s how.

How to install iOS 13 beta on your iPhone and iPad

1. Make sure your device is compatible. iOS 13 will run on the iPhone SE, and the iPhone 6s/6s Plus or newer, along with the 7th-gen iPod touch. iPadOS requires any of the following iPads: Pro (any); iPad 5th-gen or newer; iPad mini 4 or 5th-gen; iPad Air 2 or 3rd-gen.

2. Back-up the device you intend to install the beta on to, in case of disaster. Or don’t, but in that case don’t say we didn’t warn you. (These betas can be very buggy.)

3. Head to beta.apple.com on the relevant device, and sign up to the program. Or if you’re already signed up, sign in using your Apple ID.

4. Tap the ‘Get started’ link and scroll down to the Get Started section of the iOS page. Tap ‘enroll your iOS device’.

5. Because you’ve already backed-up your device (right?), tap ‘Download profile’. You’ll be prompted to download a profile that will install into Settings.

6. Once you’ve installed the profile, you’ll be asked to reboot. On doing so, go to Settings > General > Software Update and you’ll see the current beta available for download. This is it: your last chance to back out.

7. Ensure your device is connected to a power source. Tap Download and Install, Agree, and – once the whopping installer’s downloaded – Install Now. Depending on your Wi-Fi speed and how many lucky stars are stashed about your person, you should be rocking iOS 13 or iPadOS within half an hour or so.

If you decide you’ve made a terrible error at some point, plug your device into iTunes and restore from the back-up you took, although be mindful any non-cloud data added to your device since that point will be lost forever.

Alternatively, if you’re happy with the beta, but want to get off the pre-release software train when the final versions yomp on in, you can do so. Install the final release of iOS 13/iPadOS (before the next set of betas starts), then go to Settings > General > Profile, tap the installed profile and then tap Remove Profile.

Finally, Apple installs the Feedback app along with the beta. Use it when you find bugs, to do your bit to make iOS and iPadOS a better place. And to tell Apple that the Home indicator needs an off switch, obviously.