How to install iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, tvOS 14, or macOS Big Sur right now

Apple announced its next big software updates today, including iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, tvOS 14, and macOS Big Sur. The public betas will begin next month, and this year, even watchOS is getting one. However, if you have an Apple Developer account, you can get started with the betas today.

Oddly enough, the method for installing these things changes slightly every year. Last year, Apple didn't release iOS configuration profiles at first, forcing developers to flash the images, and also forcing them to install the macOS beta first. Just a few years ago, you'd be required to register your iPhone's UDID with Apple Developer or else your phone would be useless after installation.

Things are pretty straightforward this year. Here's how to install this year's developer betas.

iOS 14 and iPadOS 14

iOS and iPadOS are still pretty much the same thing, so the instructions for installing them are identical. As is the case under normal circumstances, there's the simpler way of installing the configuration profile, and the more complicated way of flashing the image.

Configuration profile

  1. From your iPhone or iPad, log into Apple Developer and go to Develop -> Downloads.
  2. Next to iOS 14 or iPadOS 14, click 'Install Profile'.
  3. After it downloads, go to Settings -> General -> Profiles to install it.
  4. Check for updates by going to General -> Settings -> Software Update.

Flashing the image

  1. From Apple Developer, download the image that corresponds to your device.
  2. Make sure you have a Mac with the latest version of iTunes, and launch it.
  3. Connect your iPhone or iPad to the Mac, and follow onscreen instructions to trust the device.
  4. On the device's page in iTunes, hold Option while clicking Check for Update.
  5. When a file dialog box appears, select the file you downloaded and open it.

watchOS 7

For watchOS 7, the only way to install it is by using the configuration profile.

  1. Using the iPhone that's paired with the Apple Watch, go to Apple Developer -> Develop -> Downloads.
  2. Next to the watchOS 7 beta, click 'Install Profile'.
  3. Follow the onscreen instructions to install it.
  4. In the Watch app, go to General -> Software Update.

tvOS 14

tvOS, as always and strangely enough, only offers either a configuration profile or an image for the Apple TV HD. There's no recovery image for the Apple TV 4K.

Configuration profile

  1. On a Mac, go to Apple Developer -> Develop -> Downloads.
  2. Next to tvOS 14, click 'Install Profile'.
  3. Make sure that your Apple TV and Mac are on the same network.
  4. In Xcode, go to Window -> Devices and Simulators -> Devices.
  5. On the Apple TV, go to Remotes and Devices -> Remote App and Devices.
  6. Back in Xcode, find the Apple TV which should now be discovered.
  7. Enter the verification code on the Apple TV.
  8. Open Apple Configurator.
  9. In Apple Configurator, select the Apple TV, then go to Add -> Profiles, and select the downloaded file.
  10. Next, check for updates as normal on the Apple TV.

Flashing the image

  1. On a Mac using the latest version of iTunes, go to Apple Developer -> Develop -> Downloads.
  2. Under 'Download Restore Images', click the link that says 'Apple TV HD'.
  3. Open iTunes.
  4. Connect your Apple TV HD to your Mac, and select it in iTunes.
  5. Hold the Option key and click 'Restore Apple TV'.
  6. Select the file that you downloaded.

macOS Big Sur

As with watchOS, macOS is only offered via a configuration profile.

  1. From your Mac, go to Apple Developer -> Develop -> Download
  2. Next to macOS Big Sur, click 'Install Profile'.
  3. Follow the onscreen instructions to install the update.

That's it. After you've installed any of these updates using any method, you'll receive new betas as they're released via the normal OTA channels.

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