Apple takes steps to prevent iPhone users from free access to the iOS 17 Developer Beta
Under General → Software Update, the iPhone now has a new “Beta Updates” menu starting with iOS 16.4 beta. Members of Apple’s Developer Program will be able to use this menu to enable iOS developer betas directly on an iPhone without having to download a configuration profile from the Apple Developer website.
A user’s iPhone must be signed in with the same Apple ID they used to enroll in Apple’s Developer Program for the menu to appear. Apple claims that this menu will be the only way to enable developer betas in future iOS releases because profiles will no longer function.
This change will forestall iPhone clients who aren’t signed up for Apple’s Engineer Program for $99 each year from introducing the iOS 17 designer beta with the expectation of complimentary when it is delivered at WWDC in June. Until recently, iOS developer betas could be easily installed for free by downloading the profiles from websites like BetaProfiles.dev.
Last year, Apple took action against websites that shared developer beta profiles. In August, BetaProfiles.com shut down to avoid a “legal battle with Apple,” and Apple lawyers sent DMCA takedown notices to Twitter for more than a dozen tweets with links to IPSW.dev. Although BetaProfiles.dev appears to be an exact replica of BetaProfiles.com, the website’s ownership remains a mystery.
The public beta of iOS 17, which is likely to be released in July, will have to wait for iPhone users who do not wish to pay $99 per year for Apple’s Developer Program. Apple’s public Beta Software Program is free to join for users.
It’s possible that users will still be able to use an IPSW file to install the iOS 17 developer beta for free, but it’s not clear if this will be an option. Apple could choose to reintroduce the policy that only allowed beta IPSW files to be installed on devices registered to an Apple developer account many years ago. The removal of configuration profiles will, at the very least, make the process more time-consuming in the future.