This story is part of Focal Point iPhone 2023, CNET's collection of news, tips and advice around Apple's most popular product.
Apple has just released the latest developer beta for iOS 16.2. Currently in its third iteration, iOS 16.2 features improvements to the Always-On Display -- allowing users to disable their wallpaper and notifications when AOD is enabled.
The first two developer beta versions of iOS 16.2 added sleep and medication widgets to the home screen, tweaks to Live Activities and the new collaborative brainstorming Freeform app.
And while it's pretty easy to download and install iOS 16.2 right now if you wanted, developer beta versions aren't intended for general use, especially because they may have unfinished features and issues that might make the iPhone difficult to use. These early beta releases are intended for developers, to help them keep their apps up to date while also providing early access to the newest features.
In short, you probably shouldn't install the developer beta on your primary iPhone. If you really want to get iOS 16.2 early though, try to find a spare iPhone that is new enough (iPhone 8 or later) to work with the latest software.
For those who still want to dive in, we'll show you how to install the iOS 16.2 developer version on your iPhone, as well as what to do in case you want to revert to a stable version of iOS 16.
If you want to learn more about iOS 16, check out all the new features you should know about, including some cool hidden features and some other not-so-cool settings.
What to know before you download the iOS 16.2 developer beta
Because the iOS 16.2 developer beta is an early prerelease version, the software could have bugs and other issues.
Again, if you're thinking about downloading iOS 16.2, do it on a backup or secondary phone, if available. The iOS 16.2 developer beta's issues could cripple your iPhone and make it difficult to use, disabling phone calls or text messages or making it extremely laggy. However, if you only have your main phone or tablet available, make sure to back up your iPhone on iOS 16.1 before updating to iOS 16.2. That way you have the option to return to iOS 16.1 if there are too many issues on the new OS.
Also, you must have an iPhone 8 or later to run iOS 16.2. iOS 16 and its updates are not supported on the iPhone SE (2016), iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus and earlier.
In order to download the iOS 16.2 developer beta 3, you must be enrolled in the Apple Developer Program, which costs $99 a year. If you don't want the latest developer's beta release, you can join the Apple Beta Software program and download the public beta version for free when it's available.
How to enroll in the Apple Developer Program
The first step to get the iOS 16.2 developer beta 3 on your iPhone is to enroll in the Apple Developer Program if you aren't already a member. If you're on your iPhone, here's how you can enroll:
1. Download the Apple Developer app from the App Store.
2. Launch the app, go to Account and tap Enroll Now.
3. Sign in with your Apple ID credentials.
4. Read through the various benefits and instructions, enter your personal information and scan your ID to verify your identity.
5. Once this information is submitted, you must choose your entity (individual for most people) and agree to the program license agreement.
6. Finally, pay the Apple Developer membership fee (with Apple Pay), which is $99 (about £80 or AU$140) a year.
After you successfully make the payment, you'll be redirected to your Account page in the Apple Developer app. Here you can verify that you're now enrolled, and you can also check out the date of your membership's expiration next year.
Install iOS 16.2 beta 3 with an over-the-air update on your iPhone
The easiest way to download the iOS 16.2 developer beta 3 is with an over-the-air update -- the way you would update to any other new software release on your device. Here's how:
1. On your iPhone or iPad, go to the Apple Developer Program download page, tap Install Profile for iOS 16.2 beta 3 and hit Allow.
2. Next, open the Settings app, tap on Profile Downloaded and hit Install on the top right when it appears. Enter your passcode if prompted and then tap Install two more times. Your phone will need to restart.
3. Once your phone boots back up, connect it to power, make sure you're on Wi-Fi and go to Settings > General > Software Update. If you don't instantly see an update available, wait a few minutes and check again.
4. Finally, hit Download and Install > Install and enter your passcode to update your device.
After your phone finishes rebooting, you should have access to the latest iOS 16.2 developer beta 3.
Download the iOS 16.2 developer beta using your Mac
Over-the-air updates require a certain amount of storage, and if you don't have that available, using your computer is really the only way to update to iOS 16.2 beta 3 without manually clearing out space.
1. On your Mac, go to the Apple Developer Program download page, find iOS 16.2 beta 3 and click Download Restore Images.
2. Download the iOS beta software restore image for your specific device.
3. Next, connect your device to your computer and enter your device passcode or hit Trust This Computer if prompted.
4. Open Finder and click your device in the sidebar under Locations.
5. In General, next to Software, you'll see the latest software your device is running.
6. Hold down the Option key, click Check for Update and choose the iOS 16.2 beta 3 software restore image you just downloaded from the Apple Developer page.
The iOS 16.2 beta 3 software will install on your device. Wait for a few minutes and when your phone reboots, you should have access.