iOS 11 beta: How to install the new system on your iPhone right now

If you can't wait until this fall to update your iPhone or iPad, you can get iOS 11 right now. Here's how to install it.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops | Desktops | All-in-one PCs | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
2 min read
Watch this: Try out the iOS 11 public beta right now

iOS 11 is set to launch this September (likely, but not confirmed), but if you can't wait for the new operating system, you can install the beta now.  Apple  makes iOS 11 available as a public beta, which means anyone with an Apple ID can install it for free.

But first, a word of caution: as with any beta software, iOS 11 is not a finished product. There will be bugs and odd behaviors. Some of your apps might not work right. There may be some freezes and crashes along the way. It's a beta, after all.

Apple releases betas to get feedback from users so it can iron out the kinks before releasing the final version. So, if you aren't up for the occasional hiccup, don't install it. If you must, it would be best to install it on an old iPad you have lying around rather than your iPhone that you rely on everyday. We always recommend against installing betas on primary devices..

With that disclaimer out of the way, let's get into how you can update to the iOS 11.

Prepare your device

First, you will need to sign up for Apple's beta program, if you haven't already. You can sign up here. The process requires nothing more than your Apple ID and takes only a few minutes.

Next, back up your device. Seriously, do not skip this step -- if something goes wrong, this will be your fall-back. Apple recommends connecting it to iTunes and creating a local backup. Apple also suggests archiving the backup using iTunes. Doing so ensures that you have a good backup stored locally, instead of one floating around in iCloud. Follow Apple's instructions here.

Enroll your device in the beta program

With your device freshly backed up, open Safari and head to Apple's public beta page. Sign in with your Apple ID and then tap the iOS tab. Scroll down and tap the enroll your iOS device link and then tap the Download profile button. Safari will ask to launch the Settings app and ask you to install the beta software profile. Tap Install, enter your passcode and then restart your device when asked.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Download and install the public beta

After your device has restarted and the software profile has been installed, you can now install the iOS 11 beta. Open the Settings app and go to General > Software Update. Tap the Download and Install button if the beta doesn't automatically begin installing. After the download is complete, tap Install Now to install it. It'll take a bit of time to download and install, but then you'll be ready to discover the new features of iOS 11.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

And should you discover a bug with the beta, you can help Apple polish the final version of iOS 11 by reporting any odd behaviors and crashes using the new Feedback Assistant app that gets installed along with the beta. Look for its purple icon.

Updated, Aug. 28: With new information about the rumored Apple event in September.