Apple unveiled no fewer than four new operating systems at WWDC this year. Two of them, iPadOS and iOS 13 are no available to developers and public beta testers if they want to get their hands on them early.
However, watchOS 6, the operating system that will run on all Apple Watches (except the original) come September isn’t as easy to get your hands on early if you are not a developer. Unlike the Official Beta Tester Program for iOS and iPadOS, watchOS is not included.
But that doesn’t mean YOU necessarily need to wait until September to get your hands on watchOS 6. Here’s how…
Become A Registered Developer
All registered developers got access to the first beta of watchOS 6 the day it was announced. And you can too—provided, again, that you are a registered developer. Being a registered developer means you can create watchOS apps and distribute them on the App Store. It also means you get access to pre-release betas before everyone else so you can test your apps on new versions of the operating system.
To become a registered developer you need to enroll in the Apple Developer Program. To register you’ll need an Apple ID and also pay a £79 fee that renews annually. Once you are registered you’ll be able to download the latest betas of watchOS 6 and install them on your Apple Watches.
Become An AppleSeed Tester
In years past Apple got wise to the fact that many illicit developers were selling beta slots of the new iOS to users who couldn’t wait to test it out. So a few years ago Apple decided to throw a spanner in those works by releasing a public beta of iOS 9. And they’ve continued that public beta since for iOS.
However, Apple does not support watchOS in the Official Beta Tester Program. Sorry, folks.
But that doesn’t mean Apple doesn’t offer any kind of watchOS pubic beta program. They do so through another existing program called AppleSeed. Apple says AppleSeed is “a program where customers can test pre-release software products in order to provide Apple with real-world quality and usability feedback.”
The bad news? Not just anyone can become an AppleSeed beta tester. You need to be invited. But if you are, then you’ll already have access to the latest watchOS betas—as well as other Apple betas.
If you want to give it a shot at becoming an AppleSeed beta tester, you can submit your information on the AppleSeed website. Apple will contact you if you’ve been granted access.
A Word of Warning: Beta is Beta
Though Apple is making the watchOS 6 beta available in a number of ways this year, keep in mind that watchOS 6 will not be a stable release until it ships to the public in the fall. Running betas could severely affect your devices and your files—in other words, the software is a “beta” for a reason.
Betas are naturally full of bugs. That’s WHY they’re betas. The point of beta testing is to find the bugs and squash them. And betas can have some nasty bugs that can potentially cripple your Apple Watch. And Apple’s warranties generally do not cover beta software–even if you’re a legitimate developer.
That means if a beta bricks your Apple Watch, you could be out of luck. Time to buy a new one. So proceed down this road with extreme caution and only travel it if you are completely fine with something going disastrously wrong with your Apple Watch.