The next iPhone software update is iOS 16.4 and it’s on its way soon. The first developer and public betas are out already and they include a change which will have implications for the iOS 17 software slated for the next iPhone release, the iPhone 15 series. It’ll also affect other phones which are compatible with iOS 17.
Right now, if you want to install a developer beta of iPhone software, there are two ways to do it. First, there’s the official route, which allows paid-up developers to install the beta on selected devices, which costs $99 a year.
However, if you’re not a dev, but you want to get the software early, until now you’ve been able to install a configuration profile.
Thing is, people have been sharing those profiles with gay abandon, so that lots of non-developers have seen the software without paying their dues. Several websites have shared profiles so the developer software has basically been accessible to all.
With the new iOS 16.4 release, there’s a new Beta Updates menu in the Settings app. This new feature means that if you’re a paid-up developer, you can download betas directly from the Software Update section of the Settings app. This is a significant improvement in terms of convenience for developers as there’s no need to get a developer profile for the download. And there’s also an option for public beta downloads, so things are smoother for those who’ve signed up for the public beta (which is free of charge but comes days or sometimes weeks later than the dev beta).
Apple says: “Beginning with iOS & iPadOS 16.4 beta, members of the Apple Developer Program will see a new option to enable developer betas directly from Software Update in Settings. This new option will be automatically enabled on devices already enrolled in the program that update to the latest beta release. Your iPhone or iPad must be signed in with the same Apple ID you used to enroll in the Apple Developer Program in order to see this option in Settings. In future iOS and iPadOS releases, this new setting will be the way to enable developer betas and configuration profiles will no longer grant access.”
This means that for iOS 17, which is the software which will be on general release when the iPhone 15 goes on sale, not to mention iOS 17 for other iPhones which will doubtless include the current iPhone 14 series, you’ll need to be signed in to your Apple ID to get the new software
No paid sign-up to the developer program, no developer software.
Apple had already cracked down on websites which were sharing configuration profiles, presumably so users would sign up for developer accounts or wait for the public beta software.
For most people, who wait for the general release software, this is not an issue, but for those wanting to get hold of software early, and without paying, it’s a big change.