During the WWDC 2023, event that brought us a first look at the Vision Pro AR glasses, Apple also unveiled iOS 17, iPadOS 17, watchOS 10, macOS Sonoma, and other updates.
In a surprising move, the company silently made a significant change to its beta program, allowing developers to download and install the latest beta software updates without paying the previous $99 annual fee.
The fee exemption: not a part of the iOS 17
To give you a context, previously, public betas were free, while developers had to shell out the fee; this change, which may have been implemented with the launch of iOS 17, now applies to other updates as well.
Users have already been able to access beta builds — including iOS 16.4 and iOS 16.5 — before the iOS 17 announcement, which indicates that the fee exemption is part of iOS 16. We previously provided a guide on how to download the official iOS beta without a configuration profile, without needing to pay the $99 fee for Apple’s beta program.
Now, developers can freely install developer beta builds for iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS. However, it is advisable to wait for the public beta versions, as initial builds often contain bugs and issues.
A $99 annual fee for Apple’s beta program still exists
While the $99 annual fee for Apple’s beta program still exists, it offers additional benefits such as code building with Apple support and app distribution on the App Store. As mentioned by WCCFtech, By removing the fee for beta builds, Apple aims to encourage more developers to participate in the program and contribute to identifying and resolving bugs.
Apple recently released the first developer beta of iOS 17, which introduces several exciting features, including StandBy Mode, transforming iPhones into smart displays. Accessibility features have also been enhanced with the addition of the new Personal Voice feature.