You want to get watchOS 8 for your Apple Watch right now? You can – we show you how to download and install the watchOS 8 beta update straight away. But beware – it's not risk free, and we'll also explain the dangers of the premature update.
The obligatory warning beforehand: watchOS 8 is currently software in a beta version, which may also contain bugs and could possibly lead to data loss. You should only install the developer or beta version on devices that you don't rely on every day. In any case, make a backup of your data. A downgrade to watchOS 7 is not possible.
Especially the installation of the beta version for developers is only meant for, well, developers. Under no circumstances should you share the profiles or install them on your Apple devices if you are not authorized to do so. Under certain circumstances, the software can damage your devices and an out-of-warranty repair would be necessary. Apple has more information on this here.
Download and install the watchOS 8 beta update
Currently, installing the watchOS 8 Beta is for the impatient. If you want to update right now, you'll need a developer account with Apple. The developer account grants access to all beta versions of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS and – tadaa – watchOS. In addition, there are a number of other options, such as beta testing your own apps and lots of developer tools for creating apps.
The creation of a developer account for individuals costs 99 US dollars annually and is therefore probably only worthwhile if you plan to develop and distribute apps – or if you are just so damn curious. Are you?
Register for an Apple developer account
If you answered yes to this question, start by creating a developer account with Apple:
- 99 bucks! Are you really sure you want to pay $99 for pre-release access to beta versions?
- If yes, you can sign up for a developer account at Apple here, two-factor authentication is mandatory.
Download and install watchOS 8 Beta
With a developer account you can install the watchOS 8 beta version as follows:
- Log in to your account at developer.apple.com. It's best to use your iPhone for this. You'll see later, why.
- Click on the "Burger Menu" (the two dashes in the upper left corner):
- A menu will open where you select the Downloads item. This is the fourth item from the bottom.
- The Downloads menu item features two choices: Operating Systems and Applications. The former should already be preselected, so you can scroll down directly.
- Now scroll down to watchOS 8 beta and click on Install Profile. As stated previously, it's easiest to do this step from your iPhone. If you went to the page from your Mac or PC, you'll need to send the install profile to your iPhone. Congratulations for making everything harder.
- With a click on the profile, the update profile for watchOS 8 Beta should install automatically. You'll then see the certificate in the Watch app (the app that you use to manage your Apple Watch on the iPhone). It will look something like this:
- Then, as a final step, go to Software Update in the Watch application and check for updates as usual. You should now see a new update that can now be installed as usual.
- In order to install watchOS 8 on the Apple Watch, the Watch must be on the charger and charged to at least 50 percent. Also, the iPhone must be on Wi-Fi network and within range of the Apple Watch.
Install watchOS 8 in the normal beta version
Don't want to register a developer account? Don't worry: Apple is expected to release watchOS 8 as a public beta in July. The current version already seems very stable, so nothing should stand in the way of a beta release in a few weeks. But that's just my personal impression.
To register as a beta tester for watchOS 8, follow these steps:
- Go to beta.apple.com and sign up for the beta program.
- As soon as it's released, Apple will let you know – and of course you'll find out here on NextPit. The following steps will only work once the public beta is available.
- The installation steps for the beta version are similar to the description above. First you have to load the configuration profile. The iPhone must be in a Wi-Fi network and within range of the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch's battery needs to be charged to at least 50 percent – and it must be on the charger.
- Then go to Settings > General > Software Update.
- Then click on Download and Install.
- Clicking Install will then install the latest version of watchOS. The watch should also restart. From my personal experience, the update process can take longer than ten minutes, so don't panic.