Starting with iOS 16.4 beta, the iPhone has a new “Beta Update” menu under General → Software Update in the Settings app. This menu will allow members of Apple’s Developer Program to enable the iOS Developer Beta directly on their iPhones, without the need to install the description file from Apple’s developer site.
The menu will only appear if the user’s iPhone is signed into the same Apple ID they used to enroll in the Apple Developer Program. Apple says that in future versions of iOS, this menu will be the only way to enable developer betas since provisioning profiles will no longer grant access.
The change will prevent iPhone owners who aren’t enrolled in Apple’s developer program, which costs $99 a year, from installing it for free when the iOS 17 developer beta is released at WWDC in June. Anyone can now easily install the iOS developer beta for free by downloading profiles from sites like BetaProfiles.dev.
Apple has cracked down on websites that share developer beta description files last year. 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 for more than a dozen tweets containing links to IPSW.dev. BetaProfiles.dev is still running and appears to be a clone of BetaProfiles.com, but it’s unclear if that site has the same ownership.
iPhone owners who don’t want to pay $99 a year for Apple’s developer program will have to wait for the public beta of iOS 17, which will likely be released in July, and users can sign up for free in Apple’s public beta software program.
Users may still be able to install the iOS 17 developer beta for free using an IPSW (system firmware) file, but whether this is the case remains to be seen. Many years ago, Apple only allowed beta IPSW files to be installed on devices registered with an Apple developer account, and Apple may reintroduce this former policy.