In a move that will likely disappoint some iPhone users, Apple has made it more difficult for those who aren’t enrolled in the company’s Developer Program to install iOS 17 developer betas for free. This follows the introduction of a new “Beta Updates” menu that has been added to the iPhone’s Settings app in the iOS 16.4 beta. The menu will allow members of Apple’s Developer Program to enable iOS developer betas directly on their iPhones, without needing to install a configuration profile from the Apple Developer website.
However, this menu will only appear for iPhone users who are signed into the same Apple ID they used to enroll in Apple’s Developer Program. In the future, Apple has stated that this menu will be the only way to enable developer betas, as profiles will stop working.
This change is significant because it will prevent iPhone users who aren’t enrolled in Apple’s Developer Program from installing the iOS 17 developer beta for free when it is released at WWDC in June. Until now, anyone could easily install iOS developer betas for free by downloading the profiles from websites such as BetaProfiles.dev.
Last year, Apple took measures to crack down on websites sharing developer beta profiles. As a result, BetaProfiles shut down in August to avoid a legal battle with Apple, while Apple lawyers provided Twitter with DMCA takedown notices for over a dozen tweets containing links to IPSW.dev. BetaProfiles.dev remains live and appears to be a carbon copy of BetaProfiles, but it is unclear if the website has the same ownership.
iPhone users who don’t want to pay $99 per year for Apple’s Developer Program will have to wait for the public beta of iOS 17, which will likely be released in July. Users can enroll in Apple’s public Beta Software Program for free.
It remains to be seen if users will still be able to install the iOS 17 developer beta for free using an IPSW file, but it is possible that Apple could choose to reintroduce the policy that only allows beta IPSW files to be installed on devices registered to an Apple developer account. At a minimum, the elimination of configuration profiles will make the process of installing the beta version more tedious in the future.
Apple’s decision to prevent iPhone users from getting the iOS 17 developer beta for free by eliminating the use of configuration profiles is a move that will have significant implications for the company’s Developer Program. The move is aimed at protecting its ecosystem from potential security threats, while also ensuring that the company is able to generate revenue from its Developer Program. For iPhone users, the change will mean that they will have to wait for the public beta of iOS 17 or pay to enroll in Apple’s Developer Program to gain access to the latest developer betas.