iOS 16.4 beta brought a new “Beta Updates” menu to the iPhone under Settings > General > Software Update App.
This menu will allow Apple Developer Program members to enable iOS developer betas directly on an iPhone, without the need to install a configuration profile from Apple’s developer website.
The menu will only appear if a user’s iPhone is connected to the same Apple ID used to enroll in the Apple Developer Program.
In future versions of iOS, Apple affirms what this menu will be the only way to activate the developer betas, as the profiles will stop working.
Starting with iOS and iPadOS 16.4 beta, Apple Developer Program members 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 upgrade to the latest beta version. To see this option in Settings, your iPhone or iPad must be signed in with the same Apple ID 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 setting profiles will no longer grant access.
This change will prevent iPhone users who aren’t 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 profiles from a few websites.
Apple already cracked down on sites that share beta developer profiles last year. BetaProfiles.com closed 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 public beta of iOS 17, which will likely be released months later. Users can enroll in Apple’s public Beta Software Program for free.
Users can 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.