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How to download the iPadOS 15 beta

Get ready for iPadOS 15. Unveiled at Apple’s WWDC 2021, it boasts a number of significant improvements over iPadOS 14, including upgraded widgets, even more features for the Notes app, and greatly improved multi-app support, to help you get more done at once with that big screen.

But the question is: How do you download iPadOS 15? At the moment, the operating system is only available to download as a developer beta, so you will need an Apple Developer account to access it. At the same time, you should prepare yourself for the usual helping of imperfections and problems, since the whole point of a beta is to test the system and iron out the final wrinkles. As such, we don’t recommend you download and use it unless you’re willing to put up with a lot of bugs, or even risk potentially bricking your device.

If you absolutely can’t wait to leave iPadOS 14 behind and upgrade to the latest version, here’s everything you need to know about downloading and installing the iPadOS 15 beta.

Prepare to download iPadOS 15

Get an Apple Developer account

While we can expect a public beta in the coming weeks, iPadOS 15 is available right now only as a developer beta. You’ll therefore need an Apple Developer account, which currently costs $99 per year, to download it.

As Apple describes on its website, you’ll need to download the Apple Developer app onto your iPad and then enroll in the Apple Developer Program as an individual (or as an organization if you’re an employee at a company, nonprofit, or government agency). You’ll also need an Apple ID with two-factor authentication turned on, as well as up-to-date personal info.

After launching the Apple Developer app, you’ll need to tap the Account tab and sign in with your Apple ID. You must then read the Apple Developer Agreement and tap Agree, before tapping Enroll Now.

Congratulations, you’re now ready to actually download iPadOS 15.

Compatible devices

Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends

The new iPadOS 15 will be compatible with the iPad Pros launched this year, as well every iPadOS 14-compatible device. Here’s the full list:

  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch
  • iPad (8th generation)
  • iPad (7th generation)
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad Mini (5th generation)
  • iPad Mini 4
  • iPad Air (4th generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Air 2

Back up your iPad

Apple recommends beta operating systems “should be installed only on devices and systems used for development and testing.” We would second that advice, but if you absolutely can’t wait to download iPadOS 15 on your regular iPad, make sure you back up your device before installing the new OS. In fact, you should also back up your device even if you do use it only for development and testing.

iCloud backup

Probably the easiest way to back up your iPad is via iCloud. On your iPad, simply go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup. You can turn on iCloud Backup to ensure that your iPad backs up on a daily basis, whenever connected to Wi-Fi, when plugged into a main power supply, and when it’s locked.

Alternatively, you can tap Back Up Now to perform a manual backup.

Also, if you want to make space for a new backup, you can view and manage previous saves by going to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups.

Backup with your Mac or PC

It’s also pretty easy to back up your iPad using your Mac or PC. Here’s what you have to do:

Step 1: Connect your iPad to your Mac using the appropriate cable.

Step 2: If you have MacOS 10.15 or later, open Finder, and then click on your iPad. If you have a PC (or MacOS 10.14 or earlier), launch iTunes.

Step 3: In Finder, click General, select Back up all of the data on your iPad to this Mac, and then click Back Up Now. In iTunes, go to Device > Summary > Back Up Now.

Downloading and installing the iPadOS 15 developer beta

Downloading iPadOS 15 is extremely straightforward. Once you’ve signed up for an Apple Developer account (as described above) and signed in, you can simply go to the Apple Developer download page and choose iPadOS 15 to download. From there, you then need go Settings > Profile Downloaded > Install to install the configuration profile for iPadOS 15.

Doing this installs only the configuration profile for iPadOS 15, which is not quite the same as the OS itself. As such, you need to take one more step to install the actual software onto your iPad. First, go to Settings > General > Software Update. Then tap on Download and Install. After agreeing to terms and conditions, you’ll then go through the process of installing the operating system.

That’s it. Bear in mind that, being a developer beta, iPadOs 15 should have its fair share of bugs at the moment. So don’t expect the smoothest possible ride. However, once the public beta — and then the official release — becomes available, you can download these, something which should provide you with a more seamless experience.

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