Want to help Apple find bugs and get a glimpse of the future in the process? You can now install public betas of Apple’s forthcoming 2023 operating systems: macOS 14 Sonoma, iOS 17, iPadOS 17, watchOS 10, tvOS 17, and HomePod Software 17. For our favorite features, see “12 Compelling Features Coming to Apple’s Operating Systems in 2023” (5 June 2023) and “Another Dozen Compelling Features Coming to Apple’s Operating Systems in 2023” (7 June 2023).
You will need compatible hardware; for the specifics, see “The Real System Requirements for Apple’s 2023 Operating Systems” (19 June 2023). I strongly recommend installing only on dedicated test hardware. You would be nuts to run one of these betas on a device you rely on for, well, anything. You’re likely to run into incompatibilities and bugs—that’s the entire point of a beta program.
Although I always recommend making a backup before installing an update to any operating system, you shouldn’t install these betas on anything you can’t erase at the drop of a hat without fear of data loss.
To be safe, avoid connecting your primary iCloud account with the betas to avoid a bug causing an upstream problem. You wouldn’t want beta iCloud Drive code to corrupt important data you use on your everyday devices.
If it sounds like I’m trying to dissuade you from installing the public betas, I am. If you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into, you could lose data or waste a lot of time recovering from problems. Conversely, if you’ve done this before and are comfortable with the technical implications, have fun! I certainly intend to.
To try one or more of the betas, go to Apple’s public beta page, read the FAQ, and sign up for the beta program. Once you’re in, you enroll your devices, after which the betas appear in Software Update.
Finally, remember that the main reason to test public betas is so you can report bugs, so revisit David Shayer’s advice in “How to Report Bugs to Apple So They Get Fixed” (17 June 2020).