Apple’s WatchOS 8 public beta 1 is now live, and Apple is letting its Beta Software Program testers preview WatchOS 8 and its updates ahead of the official release this fall. If you’re a risk-taker or have an older second watch and iPhone to use, here’s how you can get the pre-release WatchOS onto your wrist. If you want to try out the pre-release WatchOS 8, you’ll also need the iOS 15 public beta on your iPhone. The new WatchOS 8 was first unveiled at WWDC in June, and while Apple immediately implemented a series of beta releases for developers, now these new features are available for members of a public beta program. Around the end of September, the new WatchOS — hopefully perfected and glitch-free — will be released to all Apple Watch owners.
Take this as a fair warning to exercise caution. For years, Apple has made pre-release updates of its various operating systems available to developers as well as to select members of the public as beta testing platforms. Participation is voluntary and free. These pre-release software versions are typically bug-infested and not ready for general use, except for the most adventurous, and those with an extra device on hand they don’t depend on. Some third-party apps might not work properly or at all on WatchOS 8 on your Apple Watch. For all general users, we strongly advise you to wait for the final released version of WatchOS 8 and iPhone 15. Once you install the watch upgrade, you can’t go back to the last version of WatchOS.
If you’re still champing at the bit, here are some general instructions for installing the WatchOS 8 beta.
The good news is that WatchOS 8 still supports all the same Apple Watch models it did last year. Even the older Series 3 will run the upcoming new version. The following Apple Watch models will accommodate the new WatchOS 8:
Whether you are an old hand at Apple public betas, or this is your first time taking the beta plunge, here are all the steps you need to follow to get the new WatchOS on your wrist. Make sure your iPhone and Apple Watch are charged, paired, and near each other — and start your engines.
Enroll the Apple Watch in the WatchOS 8 public beta
If you have never participated in an Apple public beta before, here’s what to do first.
- Go to Apple’s beta program web page on an iPhone running iOS 15 public beta and paired to the Apple Watch you’re using for the beta test.
- Sign in with your Apple ID and password to enroll in the beta program.
- Tap the WatchOS tab.
- Tap Download profile.
- Tap Allow.
- Tap Allow on the pop-up prompt seeking permission to install a configuration profile.
- Tap Install and type in your passcode if asked, and tap Install again to confirm.
- Tap Install once more.
- Tap Restart to reboot your watch using the prompt on your iPhone.
Register for the WatchOS 8 public beta
If you’ve already participated in an Apple public beta, you don’t need to register a device again to test WatchOS 8 — all you need to do is sign in with your Apple ID and then do the following.
- Go to Apple’s beta program web page on the iPhone paired with the Apple Watch you plan to use for beta testing.
- Tap on Sign up to get started. If you’re already signed up for a previous public beta, tap Sign in.
- Type in your Apple ID email address and password.
- Tap Sign in.
- Tap Accept to agree to the terms and conditions.
Install the WatchOS 8 public beta via your iPhone
Before you do anything, make sure your Apple Watch is charged to at least 50% and connect it to the charger. Then, connect your iPhone (running iOS 15 beta) to Wi-Fi and launch the Apple Watch app. Now do the following.
- Tap on the My Watch tab.
- Tap on General > Software Update > Download and Install.
- Type in your iPhone password.
- Tap Agree to the Terms and Conditions.
- Tap Install on your iPhone or your Apple Watch.
Install the WatchOS 8 public beta via the Apple Watch
- Launch Settings on the Apple Watch.
- Tap General > Software Update > Download and Install.
- Tap OK.
- Launch the Watch app on your iPhone and tap Agree to the Terms and Conditions.
- Tap Download and Install.
Once the beta software is installed, the watch will reboot and be ready for action. You will very likely encounter issues with the software — that’s what beta testing is all about. If you do, be sure to report glitches to Apple so that they will be fixed in time for the final public release of WatchOS 8.