Beginning with iOS 16.4 beta, the iPhone’s Settings app under General Software Update contains a new “Beta Updates” tab. This menu will allow Apple Developer Program users to enable iOS developer betas directly on an iPhone, without installing a configuration profile from the Apple Developer website.

Only when a user’s iPhone is signed into the same Apple ID used to enrol in Apple’s Developer Program will the option show. Apple says this option will be the sole way to allow developer betas in future iOS releases, as profiles will no longer function.

This move would prevent iPhone owners who are not engaged in Apple’s $99-per-year Developer Program from installing the iOS 17 developer beta for free when it is published in June at WWDC. Downloading the profiles from websites such as BetaProfiles.dev allowed previously anyone to install iOS developer betas for free.

Apple has already taken action against websites that share developer beta profiles. BetaProfiles.com ceased operations in August to avoid a “legal battle with Apple,” while Apple lawyers issued DMCA takedown notices for more than a dozen tweets containing links to IPSW.dev. BetaProfiles.dev is still active and appears to be a carbon clone of BetaProfiles.com, although its ownership status is unknown.

Users of the iPhone who do not wish to pay $99 per year for Apple’s Developer Program will have to wait until July for the release of iOS 17’s public beta. Free enrollment is available for Apple’s public Beta Software Program.

Consumers may still be able to install the iOS 17 developer beta for free using an IPSW file, although it is currently unknown if this will be a possibility. Apple once restricted the installation of beta IPSW files to devices registered with an Apple developer account. Apple could opt to reinstate this restriction. The deletion of configuration profiles will, at the very least, make the work more arduous in the future.

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