iOS 13 (and its new iPadOS counterpart) won’t officially launch until later this year, but after a few weeks of developer testing Apple has opened it up to the public.  This is something of a surprise development, as the public beta was originally slated for a July release.

It seems Apple is anxious to get it into as many hands as possible – now, anyone can try out the new features and design tweaks of iOS 13 as a beta tester.

iOS 13 finally brings a system-wide Dark Mode to iPhone, in addition to performance boosts and other cool new features like Memoji stickers and a more realistic-sounding Siri.

Meanwhile, iPadOS is due to officially split off from iOS to offer iPad users a wider feature set, and it’s also available to try out as a beta tester alongside iOS 13.

If you’re curious to try out the new software before the rest of the world gets it, it’s an easy process to try out – but it’s not so easy to go back to iOS 12 if you change your mind, so proceed with caution.

A word of warning

Remember, this is unpolished beta software we’re talking about and you may find some things not working as intended. The purpose of a beta release is to find (and subsequently fix) as many bugs as possible before the official release in a few months – so prepare to see a few of those bugs yourself if you decide to try it out now.

The fact Apple has released the public beta ahead of schedule bodes well for its stability, and in testing we have found it to be relatively stable so far – though there have been reports of some audio issues, including playback and AirPods connectivity. As expected, third-party apps may not work as intended until they’re officially updated to play nice with iOS 13 and iPadOS.

So, be careful out there in beta territory, folks. Our advice would be to try this out on a secondary device if you have one. Only install the beta on your main, everyday iPhone or iPad if you really want to live on the cutting edge.

Back up your device

If you do plan on trying out the beta, make sure to back up your device first – just in case. The easiest way to make a backup is using iCloud:

1. Ensure you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.

2. Open Settings, then scroll down and press iCloud.

3. Select Backup and ensure iCloud Backup is toggled on.

4. Tap Back Up Now to save a current backup to iCloud. It may take a short while.

Installing the beta

Time to take the plunge.

1. First, you’ll need to sign up for the Apple Beta Software Program. Press here and then tap Sign Up.

2. Once you’re in, find the iOS section of the betas and press Enroll this device.

3. Choose Download Profile and then press Allow followed by Install.

4. Your device will reboot. Afterward, go to Settings General Software UpdateDownload and Install and press Install Now.

That’s it! It may take a while for the beta to install, but once it’s done your device will reboot with the new operating system. When subsequent versions of the public beta are released, they will automatically show up in the Software Update tab, just like a regular iOS update. These are normally released every two weeks.

If you decide to take the plunge, enjoy your beta testing – and rest assured we’ll have a full guide to every new feature coming alongside iOS 13’s official launch this September.