Apple allows anyone who is interested to join its beta program to try out the next version of iOS before it’s released. Here’s how to install iOS 11 beta onto an iPad — it’s easy and free.
This upcoming iOS version will offer better side-by-side multitasking as well as drag-and-drop editing between two open applications. The dock from MacOS is also migrating to iOS, and better file management tools are being added as well.
UPDATE: On July 12, Apple released the second version of this beta. This contains plenty of tweaks and bug fixes, and is highly recommended for those who went ahead and installed the first beta.
Not for Everyone
At this point, iOS 11 is a true beta: software that’s been released only for testing purposes. It’s full of bugs, and devices that run it crash frequently and unexpectedly. It also hasn’t been optimized, so it isn’t particularly fast, and it uses more battery power than the final version will. Only those who can accept these problems should contemplate installing the iOS 11 Public Beta.
A supported device is also required. Fortunately, the list is long, and contains all Apple’s recent tablets:
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2015)
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2017)
- 9.7-inch iPad Pro
- 10.5-inch iPad Pro
- iPad (2017)
- iPad Air 2
- iPad Air
- iPad mini 4
- iPad mini 3
- iPad mini 2
First off, it’s highly recommended the data on the tablet be backed up, either with iTunes or with iCloud. As discussed, this beta software is unfinished and potentially unreliable. This pre-release version could inadvertently erase everything on the device.
Next, go to the page for Apple’s Beta Software Program on the iPad and tap on “Sign Up”. Entering one’s Apple ID and password is required. Next it’s necessary to enroll the iOS device, then download a profile. Doing so enrolls the tablet into the beta program. Once the profile has been installed, the tablet should be restarted.
The user can then go to Settings > General > Software Update, where iOS 11 Public Beta will be listed. As the iPad will remain in the beta program, the user will also be informed by the Settings app with subsequent betas are available.
The full, non-beta version iOS 11 will be introduced this fall… and most people should wait until then.
Beta vs. Public Beta
There are a couple of different beta versions out, so it’s important to know which is which. There’s one set for developers, and another for the general public.
Last month, Apple released a first beta for developers, called simply iOS 11 Beta. This was followed a few weeks later by Beta 2. A few days after that, the first Public Beta was introduced, which is an alternate version of Beta 2. Next there was Beta 3 for developers, quickly followed by Public Beta 2. Again, the second public version is essentially identical to Beta 3.
Going forward, developers will always get new versions a few days before the public, and the developer ones will have higher version numbers.