Until recently, you would have had to pay $100 to join the Apple Developer Program to get the new iOS 14 beta. I did that a few weeks ago and tried out some of the new features since. Now, however, the public beta has hit the internet, meaning anyone with a compatible iPhone can jump into the potentially buggy world of iOS 14, as well as iPad OS 14 and tvOS 14, ahead of its release. official release later this year.
You can take a look at the announced features here, or get a more in-depth look at some of the new additions here.
If you want to install it yourself, first keep in mind that it’s still a beta, so putting it on your phone you use every day could be disastrous. At this point the software is probably pretty stable – even the developer beta I’ve been using for a while hasn’t really crashed much. But unfinished software can crumble impressively. If you have an older iPhone or iPad that you don’t need every day, this is a much safer way to try out the new features. It’s also worth noting that iCloud backups you make during the iOS 14 beta won’t be compatible with iOS 13 if you need to restore everything, so you might lose stuff.
If that sounds good to you, here’s how to get the software.
For iOS 14, you’ll need an iPhone 6s or newer – anything older than that won’t accept the update. Visit this page for the Apple Beta software program and register with your Apple ID. Once you have downloaded the profile, you can go to settings and complete the installation before restarting your phone. Once done, you can update your phone normally and you will be upgraded to iOS 14.
For iPad OS, the process is basically the same, only you’ll need to use at least an iPad Air 2, a regular generation five iPad, an iPad Mini 4, or any iPad Pro. Make sure to select the iPadOS 14 profile, then follow the steps above.
Don’t be surprised if you experience compatibility or stability issues during normal use. Finding these bugs is, after all, the point of releasing a public beta.
We’ve covered some of the highlights of iOS 14 already in this guide, but the iPadOS update is almost as enticing. A particularly useful feature now allows the iPad to automatically recognize the shapes you draw with the Pencil and render them as perfectly clean, symmetrical lines. Your hand-drawn squares can quickly become precision squares.
If you write down someone’s name and phone number with an Apple Pencil, the Notes app will now recognize that information as contact information and let you tap on it to call or send a message. Handwriting has clearly taken on even more importance for Apple in iPadOS 14 and these updates have made the Pencil much more useful for people (like me) who can’t draw and have poor handwriting.
Both operating systems will enter their final form later this year.