Apple's first iOS 17 public beta release is now available — here's where to get it

A grid of iPhones running iOS 17
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's very first iOS 17 public beta release is now available for download, giving most people their first chance to take the update for a spin.

Apple announced iOS 17 during the WWDC 2023 event in June and it's been releasing regular developer betas ever since. Now it's the turn of the public beta crowd and Apple's just made the first release available for download.

However, despite this being a beta Apple has deemed to be fit for the public we'd still urge caution. These are beta releases and should be treated as such. Expect problems, whether that's with iOS 17 itself, its new features, or third-party apps. Install at your own risk and consider waiting for the expected September release if you're at all worried about having your iPhone become unstable in the interim.

Downloads for all

The iOS 17 public beta can be downloaded by heading to the Apple Beta Software Program website and signing up. It's a simple process and that's also where you can go to get involved in the public beta programs for iPadOS 17, watchOS 10, tvOS 17, and macOS Sonoma, too.

As for what you can expect if you do decide to go the beta route, there's plenty to look forward to. The iOS 17 update brings with it plenty of new improvements including StandBy mode (pictured above). The feature turns an iPhone into an alarm clock of sorts whenever it's on a MagSafe charger and in landscape mode. It's a great addition to any bedroom and has proven popular among those using the developer beta.

Other improvements include changes to Messages that allow for better searching and filtering as well as tweaks to how stickers are added to chats.

FaceTime also gained the ability to leave people video and audio messages, while interactive widgets are finally coming to the iPhone with iOS 17.

That and more is waiting for those willing to live that beta life. It's available for a ton of devices so you won't have to rush out and buy Apple's best iPhone just to install it, landing on existing devices as well as upcoming iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models. If you do want to upgrade, don't buy anything until you check out our list of the best Prime Day iPhone deals, though.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.