This guide will walk you through how to prepare your iPhone or iPad for the iOS 9 beta. We expect to see Apple announce the iOS 9 update on stage at WWDC 2015, and then offer a developer iOS 9 beta release soon after the event ends on June 8th.
Apple followed this timeline of events for the last several years and even with the possibility of a semi-public iOS 9 beta in 2015, we expect to see the same basic steps in place for the iOS 9 beta download and update.
If you are not a developer, you can still find an iOS 9 beta download, but you’ll need to pay to register your iPhone and iPad if you want to try the iOS 9 update ahead of the official release date later this year.
Traditionally the services that offer this registration to the regular user are swamped on for the day of the beta announcement, so it is a good idea to prepare your device for the iOS 9 beta update now.
Here’s what you need to do to get your iPad or iPhone ready for the iOS 9 beta. You can do most of these steps now, but you will need to wait until after the WWDC 2015 keynote to find an iOS 9 beta download.
Register Your iPhone for the iOS 9 Beta
The iOS 9 beta will not work on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch unless you register it with Apple. This is the way that the beta works, and although there is usually a trick to get around the activation check after a beta or two, it’s simply easier to register an iPhone or iPad. You need to register any device you want to use with the iOS 9 beta individually using the UDID. This is a unique identifier that tells Apple this iPhone is part of the developer beta.
Officially the only way to use the iOS 9 beta is to register as an iOS developer with Apple. This is $99 a year and it includes the ability to register up to 100 test devices. You don’t need to be an app developer already and even if you don’t make an app you can use this option. This will often lead to faster access to the first iOS 9 beta download, but not by much. Here’s where you can register as an official Apple Developer.
if you don’t want to pay $99 to try the iOS 9 beta, the next best alternative is to use a service like IMZDL. IMZDL registers your UDID $8 instead of $99. This is not officially supported by Apple, but the service delivered support for many earlier iOS betas. You’ll need to register the UDID for each device that you want to use. You can use a service like UDID sender to find your UDID. Make sure you enter it correctly.
Whichever option you use, it is a good idea to prepare your iPhone and iPad for the iOS 9 beta by registering them before the event.
Backup Your iPhone or iPad to Computer
After you install the iOS 9 beta and upgrade, you can still downgrade back to the latest version of iOS 9, but you can only use a backup made on iOS 8 to restore to. Even if you normally use iCloud to back up your device it is a good idea to make a local backup on iOS 8.3 before you install the iOS 9 beta on your iPhone.
To do this, plug the iPhone or iPad in to your computer, open iTunes and make a manual backup under the device section.
This may take a little time, but it is worth keeping a local backup before you upgrade. installing the iOS 9 beta is not the same as upgrading to iOS 8.4. All earlier versions required a clean install of the beta that you can then set up as a new device or restore from iCloud.
Identify Your iPhone Model
You will need to know which iPhone model you own or which iPad model you own if you plan to find the right iOS 9 beta download.
The easiest way to do this is to look on the back of your iPhone or iPad and find the model number starting with an A in small print. The number is AXXXX, where the X represent a number. You need to get the right iOS 9 update for your iPhone or iPad for the installation to work.
Knowing this now will make it easier for you to find the right iOS 9 download this weekend. Here’s Apple’s guide to knowing your iPhone model number.
Prepare a Backup iPhone or iPad
It is a very good idea to keep a backup device handy if you plan to install the iOS 9 beta on your primary iPhone or iPad. The best option is to install iOS 9 on a separate test only device, but if this is not possible then you should prepare at least one device to use as a backup.
Charge the iPhone up, restore from an iCloud backup and log in so that you have a working device if you experience issues with your iOS 9 beta.
Gather Login Information
This is very important for users that plan to install the iOS 9 beta on their primary iPhone or iPad. Make sure you know your Apple ID and password and that you also have your other login information handy.
At the very least you will need to login to the iPhone with your Apple ID, and you may find yourself in a situation where you need to login to your email or other apps again.
If you don’t know all of this information, or you don’t keep it in an app like LastPass, figure it out before you download the iOS 9 beta.
For users with a two-factor authentication app, this is a good time to make sure you have the right phone number linked as a backup account or that you have a second device linked to that two-factor authentication.
iOS 9 Beta Release Date
Apple did not confirm an iOS 9 beta, but the company may as well send out postcards to developers with a "Save the Date" message.
We know that the WWDC 2015 Keynote takes place on June 8th at 10 AM Pacific, 1 PM Eastern. This event normally lasts about two hours. During the keynote Tim Cook and other executives show off the newest version of iOS and OS X.
At some point during this event Tim Cook should tell developers that the iOS 9 beta release will follow the event. This allows developers to test their apps on the new software and to learn about new features from Apple employees during the rest of the conference.
The iOS 9 beta release time will likely arrive within an hour of the event ending, possibly faster.