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How to install watchOS 8 Beta, even if you’re not a developer

Apple has announced, about a month ago, the next iteration of its Apple Watch operating system. watchOS 8 comes with a slew of updates and interface tweaks, and is a worthy upgrade on the current version. Read on to find out how to install the new software.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

The next version of the operating system was announced at Apple’s Annual Developer Conference. Along with it we got the new iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS and more. These have been made available to developers in order to make their software compatible. But they are also being made public in Beta for those who want to test out everything prior to official release.

Of most interest to us is the next iteration of watchOS 8. It comes with a few handy upgrades such as respiratory info and new mindfulness tools. There are also some additional workout types along with portraits watch faces and a handful of other smaller upgrades. So nothing revolutionary this time around, mostly iterative upgrades.

In previous years Apple did not provide Beta versions for public prior to the official September release. But that has changed. Others can download watchOS8, as well, by following our guide.

Before installing

First off, make sure your device is compatible with the new operating system. And it’s good news for Apple Watch 3 owners. WatchOS 8 will work on all Apple Watches that support watchOS 7. Here’s the full list:

  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch SE
  • Apple Watch Series 6

And now for the all-important health warning. We don’t suggest that you install the Beta version of the software on your watch. In fact, we suggest that you don’t! Beta versions are work in progress and don’t include all the functionality that was announced. They also come with lots of bugs that need to be ironed out before the software goes official.

Plus, once you’ve installed watchOS 8 Beta there’s no going back. Downgrading to the original is very difficult unless you send your watch to Apple. So if you find the software is very buggy you’ll need to keep using it until the public versions catch up. It’s also a good idea to backup your data before installing.

What’s more, you’ll need to have iOS 15 Public Beta running on your phone in order for this to work. So it’s double the risk.

That’s the warning out of the way. There are actually more reasons not to install the Beta then there are to install. So we suggest you wait patiently for the official release. It’s only a couple of months away. But if you’re still dead-set on trying watchOS 8 before most of the rest of the world, here’s how to do it.

How to install watchOS 8 for developers

If you’re not signed up for Apple’s Developer Program, you can do so on this link. The registration provides you with access to beta software and testing tools, advanced app capabilities and app analytics. The developer account will set you back $99 per year.

In order to install watchOS 8 Beta, you’ll need to have the iOS 15 Beta running on your smartphone. Then its a matter of simply following these steps:

  1. Log with your username and password into developer.apple.com on the iPhone paired with your Apple Watch.
  2. Find the watchOS Download page by tapping Discover/watchOS/Download.
  3. Type in your Apple ID if prompted to do so.
  4. Choose Install Profile next to watchOS 8 Beta.
  5. When prompted for the device, choose iPhone and then Install.
  6. Enter your Passcode, tap Install and then again to confirm.
  7. Tap ‘Restart’ to reboot your iPhone and finish the iPhone installation.
  8. After the reboot, the watchOS 8 beta update will appear as an update option when you open the Apple Watch companion app. It’s a simple process of installing from there.

How to install watchOS 8 for non-developers

Apple says the watchOS public beta is rolling out now. So you should be able to download it should you choose to do so.

Register for Apple’s public beta program

To start off, you’ll need to register to be eligible to download Apple’s public beta software. Registration is free, so no need for a credit card.

You can enroll by following the steps below. If you’ve enrolled in the past you’ll just need to register your Apple Watch to download watchOS 8.

  • Visiting the Beta Program website on the iPhone whilst you are paired to your Apple Watch.
  • Click on the sign-up button.
  • This will ask you to confirm your Apple ID by typing in your password.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions.
  • Read and accept the terms and conditions if you are happy to do so.

Registering your Apple Watch:

  • Go to beta.apple.com on the iPhone paired to the Apple Watch and sign-in if you are not signed in already.
  • From here you’ll need to download the Beta Configuration Profile by going to the WatchOS tab.
  • Tap on Download Profile.
  • If prompted enter your passcode
  • Tap Install and wait for it to finish.
  • Choose Restart to reboot your watch.
  • Now you can download and install public Beta version of watchOS 8.

Installing WatchOS 8

Installing WatchOS 8 can be done via the Apple Watch or via the iPhone. It’s probably easier to do it from the watch. The procedure is no different than installing regular software updates. Whilst you are doing this make sure the watch has at least 50% of battery left.

Open up the Apple Watch’s Settings app, tap on General and choose Software Update. You should see a watchOS 8 public beta prompt. Tap the prompt to begin downloading and installing the software. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

If you prefer, all thigs can be done from the iPhone Apple Watch app. Open it up and choose the My Watch tab/General/Software Update. You should see the watchOS 8 public beta listed here. Tap on Download and Install and follow the onscreen instructions.

Once the installation is done the watch will reboot itself. Now you should be running the watchOS 8 public beta!

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