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iOS 17.6 beta arrives with iOS 18 already in testing

It’s not uncommon for Apple to make two iOS betas available at the same time in the summer. While the longer-term iOS beta for the fall is taking place (that’s iOS 18 this year), a smaller release for the current version is being tested for a more immediate release (that’s iOS 17).

So yes, all the cool new stuff is in the iOS 18 beta, but Apple just released the first developer beta of iOS 17.6 as well. The final release will probably come in a few weeks, long before the expected September release of iOS 18.

iOS 17.6 new features

The beta community hasn’t noticed any significant changes in iOS 17.6, and we don’t expect to see any. We aren’t waiting for any straggling iOS 17 features so it’s unlikely anything significant is coming in the update.

This release is likely meant just to fix minor bugs within apps and to keep up with necessary security updates. Apple doesn’t make release notes available until the release candidate and security updates are often posted after the final release. The developer release notes only mention a very minor Bluetooth audio bug and limited camera issue with two specific iPad models.

iOS 17.6: How to install the public beta

If you want to be among the first to install iOS 17.6, you can sign up for the public beta and get the release candidate now. The process for installing a beta has changed in iOS 16.4. Here’s how the new process works now:

  1. Click Sign Up on the Apple Beta page and register with your Apple ID.
  2. Log in to the Beta Software Program.
  3. Click Enroll your iOS device.
  4. Open the Settings app, tap General, then Software Update.
  5. In the Beta Updates section, select the iOS Public Beta.

It may take a few moments after registering for the beta option to appear in Software Update.

iOS 17.6: How to install the developer beta

You’ll need to be registered as an Apple developer. Beginning with iOS 17, you don’t need to be in the $99 per year developer program to access the developer beta. A free developer account will do. You can get one via Xcode or the Apple Developer app in iOS. Here’s how to do it via the Apple Developer app:

  1. Download the Apple Developer App from the App Store.
  2. Open the app.
  3. Tap on Account.
  4. Sign in using your usual Apple ID.

Registered developers can choose to get the Public Beta instead by selecting iOS Public Beta in the Software Update screen. It may take a little time after registering as a developer for the option to appear in Software Updates.

Find out everything you need to know about iOS 17 in our iOS 17 superguide.