iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 are now available in public beta, and you can download and install them. The process for installing each is similar. We’ll walk through what’s new and how to get the betas onto your devices.
Unless you’re enrolled in Apple’s developer program, this is your first opportunity to try out the new software in beta. These betas will update periodically, culminating in the final release, which we expect at the end of summer. It’s usually timed for the new hardware announcements Apple usually makes at its annual September event, though given that the coronavirus pandemic has thrown most things for a loop, it’s hard to say if this year’s cadence is on a similar track.
Before we start, the usual word of warning about beta software: these releases may seem stable for general use, but they could contain bugs that won’t be squashed until the final releases roll out later in 2020. So unless you don’t mind rolling the dice with app functionality and other issues that could impact battery life and other critical functions of your device, perhaps it’s best to wait, difficult as that may be.
We’ve included some issues that we’ve encountered during our time with each of the public betas. Your experience may differ, but if you do decide to install, it never hurts to back up your device’s data first.
What to know about iOS 14 before installing the beta
iOS 14 is full of changes both big and small. The most noticeable shifts that you might be looking forward to testing are the new widgets on the iPhone’s redesigned home screen as well as the App Library feature that automatically organizes apps based on their categories. Picture-in-picture is coming to iPhones in iOS 14, too, allowing you to conveniently watch a video without it getting in the way of important phone stuff.
There’s a lot more coming in iOS 14, including more expressive Memoji, cycling directions in Apple Maps, and overhauled group messages in Messages. It’s likely that Apple will add more features as the public beta gets closer to its full release later in the year.
Issues we’ve encountered so far
iOS 14 is polished, though we’ve had a few issues with it so far. The phone app crashed a few times on incoming calls, and some other apps generally crash more than they do in the stable iOS 13 build.
During the private developer preview, apps like LinkedIn, Reddit, and TikTok were caught automatically copying users’ clipboard with each keystroke. Some testers were made aware of this, thanks to a new feature within iOS 14 that notifies users when this happens. Each company has pledged to fix their code to prevent this from happening, though we expect this to be an ongoing issue that we’ll probably see more of until iOS 14’s official launch.
How to install the iOS 14 beta
- Head to Apple’s beta software portal from your phone’s Safari browser
- Select “Enroll Your Devices” at the top of the webpage (you may need to scroll horizontally to find it)
- Select “iOS,” which is the left-most option on the next page. Doing so will reveal a reminder to make sure that you’ve sent a backup of your phone’s content to your macOS computer, in case you need to revert to a previous state.
- Scroll down until you find a button that says “Download profile,” then tap on it. This will bring up a warning that says the website is trying to download a configuration profile. Select “Allow.” You will get a pop-up window that says you can set the new profile from the Settings app.
- Open the Settings app. A new section called “Profile Downloaded” should be added near the top. Select it, and you’ll have access to the beta software download.
What to know about iPadOS 14 before installing it
Last year’s version of iPadOS was the first time that iOS got a proper adaptation for the big screens with several tablet-specific features. This year’s version, called iPadOS 14, brings more refinements and borrows a few of the headline features coming to iOS 14.
The Today View in iPadOS 14 will supports widgets, and several apps will get Apple’s new Sidebar feature, which aims to make apps easier to navigate. The Apple Pencil is getting some big updates in the latest software with a feature called Scribble that renders what you write in any text field with the Apple Pencil. It can also render handwriting in multiple languages on the iPad.
Issues we’ve encountered so far
We hadn’t encountered any major issues at the time of publication.
How to download the iPadOS 14 beta
- Head to Apple’s beta software portal from your iPad’s Safari browser
- Click “Enroll Your Devices” at the top of the webpage (you may need to scroll horizontally to find it)
- Click “iPadOS,” which is the option that’s second from the left on the next page. Doing so will reveal a reminder to first make a backup on your macOS computer in case you need to revert your OS to a previous state.
- Scroll down until you find a button that says “Download profile,” then select it. This may bring up a warning that says the website is trying to download a configuration profile. Select “Allow.” You’ll get a pop-up window that says you can set the new profile from the Settings app.
- Open the Settings app, and a new section called “Profile Downloaded” should be added near the top. Select it, and you should have access to the beta software download.
- Lastly, if nothing prompts you to get started with the download, open the Settings app, head to General, then find “Software Update” to install the beta software