Apple is preventing iPhone users from getting the iOS 17 developer beta for free

Starting with iOS 16.4 beta, the iPhone has a new “Beta Updates” menu in the Settings app under General → Software Update. This menu allows Apple Developer Program members to enable iOS Developer Betas directly on an iPhone without having to install a configuration profile from the Apple Developers website.

The menu only appears if a user’s iPhone is signed in with the same Apple ID they used to sign up for the Apple Developer Program. In future iOS versions, Apple says this menu will be the only way to enable developer betas as profiles will no longer work.

This change prevents iPhone users who aren’t enrolled in the $99-a-year Apple Developer Program from installing the iOS 17 developer beta for free when it releases at WWDC in June. Until now, anyone could easily install iOS developer betas for free by downloading the profiles from sites like BetaProfiles.dev.

Apple cracked down on websites that share developer beta profiles last year. BetaProfiles.com was shut down in August to avoid “litigation with Apple” while Apple lawyers provided Twitter with DMCA takedown notices for over a dozen tweets that contained links to IPSW.dev. BetaProfiles.dev remains active and appears to be a copy of BetaProfiles.com, but it is unclear if the site is owned by the same person.

iPhone users who don’t want to pay $99 a year for Apple’s developer program will have to wait for the public beta of iOS 17, which is expected to be released in July. Users can enroll in Apple’s public beta software program for free.

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Users may still be able to install the iOS 17 developer beta for free using an IPSW file, but it remains to be seen if this will be an option. Many years ago, Apple only allowed beta IPSW files to be installed on devices registered to an Apple developer account, and Apple could choose to reintroduce that earlier policy. At least the elimination of configuration profiles will make the task more tedious in the future.

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