The iOS 16.4 beta has brought a new “Beta Updates” menu to the iPhone in the Settings > General > Software Update app. This menu will allow members of the Apple Developer Program to enable iOS developer betas directly on an iPhone, without the need to install a configuration profile from the Apple developer website.
The menu will only appear if a user’s iPhone is signed in to the same Apple ID they used to enroll in the Apple Developer Program.
In future versions of iOS, Apple it states that this menu will be the only way to activate the betas for developers, since the profiles will stop working.
Starting with iOS and iPadOS 16.4 beta, members of the Apple Developer Program will see a new option to turn on developer betas directly from Software Update in Settings.
This new option will automatically activate on devices already enrolled in the program that update to the latest beta version. In order to see this option in Settings, your iPhone or iPad must be signed in with the same Apple ID that you used to enroll in the Apple Developer Program.
In future versions of iOS and iPadOS, this new setting will be the way to enable developer betas, and configuration profiles will no longer grant access.
This change will prevent iPhone users who are not enrolled in the $99-a-year Apple Developer Program from being able to install the iOS 17 developer beta for free when it launches at WWDC in June.
Until now, anyone could easily install iOS developer betas for free by downloading the profiles from some websites.
Apple already cracked down on websites sharing developer beta profiles last year. BetaProfiles.com shut down in August to avoid a “legal battle with Apple.” However, there are still active sites.
iPhone users who don’t want to pay $99 a year for Apple’s Developer Program will have to wait for the iOS 17 public beta, which will likely be released months later. Users can enroll in Apple’s public Beta Software Program for free.
Users could still install the iOS 17 developer beta for free via an IPSW file, but whether this will continue to work remains to be seen. Years ago, Apple only allowed beta IPSW files to be installed on devices registered to an Apple developer account, and Apple may choose to reintroduce this old policy.