While you have to wait until the fall for the watchOS 6 update to arrive, there is a watchOS 6 beta that you can install on your Apple Watch today if you want to test out the new Apple Watch features.
This is what you need to know about the watchOS 6 beta, how you can test it and what you need to be aware of before you try it out on your Apple Watch.
watchOS 6 Beta Release Date
The watchOS 6 beta release date is today. It arrives shortly, after the WWDC 2019 keynote completes and the Apple Developer website comes back online. This is only open to developers, so you will not see a public watchOS 6 beta.
You can expect to see a number of additional watchOS 6 beta releases arrive over the next few months as Apple tests features. These beta updates will typically arrive around 10 AM Pacific, 1 PM eastern.
watchOS 6 Beta Devices
The watchOS 6 beta is available to test on any device that supports the update. Apple dropped support for the first generation Apple Watch with watchOS 5, but all the remaining models work with watchOS 6 and the beta. This includes;
- Apple Watch Series 1
- Apple Watch Series 2
- Apple Watch Series 3
- Apple Watch Series 4
You can try this on any of the versions of the Apple Watch models listed above. Not all of the new features will work on every Apple Watch, but you can try out the overall look and feel on any of these.
How to Join the watchOS 6 Beta
The official way to join the watchOS 6 beta is to pay $99 to join the Apple Developer Program. This includes access to all of the new Apple Betas for the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV as well. If you are a developer or looking to become one, this is the best way to join the beta.
There is no public watchOS 6 beta program, so you cannot sign up to publicly test it like you can macOS and iOS betas. That said, you can still try out the beta.
Here’s our guide on how to install the watchOS 6 beta without a developer account.
You Can’t Downgrade to watchOS 5
The biggest difference between the watchOS 6 beta and the other new betas is that there is no way to go back to watchOS 5 from the beta. Apple doesn’t offer a downgrade option for the Apple Watch.
If you try the watchOS 6 beta, you cannot go back. That also means you can’t go back to iOS 12 if you want to keep using your Apple Watch.
You can only use watchOS 6 with iOS 13, so even though it is possible to downgrade from iOS 13 to iOS 12, it will render your Apple Watch unable to work with your iPhone.
What’s Next for the watchOS 6 Beta
This is just the start of the Apple Watch beta program. Apple will release a close to a dozen watchOS 6 betas over the next few months up until the release date. These updates typically arrive every two weeks, and will likely come near the iOS 13 schedule.
Apple uses these beta updates to add in new features and to fix some of the watchOS 6 beta problems that pop up. Once you are on the beta you will be able to install these updates like you do any other watchOS updates.
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