iMore was contacted by Connor Jewiss, who noted on Twitter that the “iOS 17 Developer Beta showing up in Beta Updates section of Settings, even for those without a subscription.”
iMore can confirm that several of our team have been able to access the iOS 17 developer beta without having any sort of developer account or paid subscription, in what could be a monumental blunder for the company.
iOS 17 beta blunder
Do not upgrade to the iOS 17 developer beta on a device you rely on: Beta software, also referred to as a preview, seed, or release candidate, is a version of software that’s still under development and not yet released to the public. This software is intended only for installation on development devices registered under your Apple Developer Program membership. Registered development devices can be upgraded to future beta releases and the public version of the software. Attempting to install beta software in an unauthorized manner violates Apple policy and could render your device unusable and necessitate an out-of-warranty repair. Make sure to back up your devices before installing beta software and install only on devices and systems that you’re prepared to erase if necessary.
The issue also appears to be affecting watchOS 10 and that developer beta from what we’ve found. iMore can confirm that not only is the beta showing but the download and install function works and can be used by anyone. This could be hugely problematic for anyone who stumbles upon the beta by accident. We’ve seen the beta available on iOS 16.5 in both the U.S. and the UK, but one test device not running iOS 16.5 did not have access to the software.
Apple has previously changed the way beta software works to gatekeep it, ensuring that only users with a subscription can access it with a developer profile. However, it seems that as of right now, anyone with an iPhone running iOS 16.5 can access it. From iOS 16.4’s release notes:
Beginning with iOS & iPadOS 16.4 beta, members of the Apple Developer Program will see a new option to enable developer betas directly from Software Update in Settings. This new option will be automatically enabled on devices already enrolled in the program that update to the latest beta release. Your iPhone or iPad must be signed in with the same Apple ID you used to enroll in the Apple Developer Program in order to see this option in Settings. In future iOS and iPadOS releases, this new setting will be the way to enable developer betas and configuration profiles will no longer grant access.
We’ve heard that multiple users have been able to download the beta and get it running despite having no developer accounts or subscriptions. Again, we can’t stress this enough, please don’t upgrade to this developer beta on your main device. If Apple patches this issue after you’ve downloaded the software, you’ll be stuck on the buggy first release of the iOS 17 developer beta until the official release of the public beta next month.
We’ve reached out to Apple for comment on the situation, and while it is possible that this is intentional, we can’t see any reason why the iOS 17 developer beta would be available to download for those not enrolled on the beta program and paying a subscription, especially given the change made with iOS 16.4.
This story is updating…