Starting with iOS 16.4 Beta, iPhone has a new “Beta Update” menu in the Settings app under General → Software Update. This menu will allow members of the Apple Developer Program to enable the iOS Developer Beta directly on their iPhone, without the need to install the description file from the Apple Developer website.
The menu only appears when a user’s iPhone is logged into the same Apple ID they used to sign up for Apple’s developer program. Apple says this menu will be the only way to enable developer Beta in future versions of iOS, as the configuration description file will no longer grant access.
The change will prevent iPhone owners who aren’t enrolled in Apple’s $99-a-year developer program from installing the iOS 17 developer beta for free when it launches at WWDC in June. For now, anyone can easily install the iOS Developer Beta for free by downloading description files from sites like BetaProfiles.dev.
Igeekphone has learned that Apple cracked down last year on sites that shared developer beta description files. BetaProfiles.com shut down in August to avoid a “legal battle with Apple,” and Apple’s lawyers also provided Twitter with a DMCA takedown notice, with more than a dozen tweets containing links to IPSW.dev. BetaProfiles.dev is still up and running and appears to be a replica of BetaProfiles.com, but it is unclear if the site has the same ownership.
Annual iPhone users who don’t want to pay $99 a year for Apple’s developer program will have to wait for the public beta version of iOS 17, which will likely be released in July. Users can sign up for Apple’s public Beta software program for free.
Users may still be able to install the iOS 17 developer Beta for free using the IPSW (System firmware) file, but whether that is the case remains to be seen. Many years ago, Apple only allowed beta IPSW files to be installed on devices registered with Apple developer accounts, and Apple may reintroduce this former policy.