How to get iOS 12 right now

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Apple on Monday spent a couple of hours walking developers through the latest bits and bytes of the company’s upcoming operating systems. From MacOS Mojave and WatchOS 5 to a TVOS update and, of course, iOS 12. The full public release of Apple’s latest wares is still a few months out, but if you just can’t wait and insist on using iOS 12 right now, here’s what you need to know.

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Does your iPhone or iPad support iOS 12? (Probably) 

Rick Broida detailed which devices support iOS 12, but the cheat sheet for compatibility is if your device runs iOS 11, it will run iOS 12.

When will iOS 12 be available?

Starting today, developers (with developer accounts) will be able to download and install iOS 12. Everyone else will have to wait until the Public Beta becomes available later in June or until the final release, which usually happens in the fall. 

For developers

Apple is releasing iOS 12 in beta form to developers first. The first release is usually the roughest, and bound to have bugs and lead to app incompatibility. This is why Apple takes a cautious approach to the first release.

Those with a paid Apple Developer account can download and install iOS 12, along with WatchOS 5, MacOS Mojave and the latest TVOS beta through the developer portal. The process involves installing a provisioning profile and downloading the update over-the-air or downloading the full builds and loading through iTunes or Xcode. An Apple Developer membership costs $100 per year, and unless you are planning on creating and selling apps, isn’t worth signing up for just to get early access to iOS 12.

For everyone else

Apple will release iOS 12 as part of its public beta program at some point in June. The official iOS 12 press release simply states the update will join the public beta “later this month,” meaning some time in June. Last year, Apple released iOS 11 public beta less than two weeks after the keynote.  When the public beta goes live, you’ll need to visit beta.apple.com to sign up. Just be sure to make a backup of your device first. 

But first, back up your device

Before you even think about installing iOS 12, especially while it’s in beta, do your future self a favor and create a backup right now. Don’t rely on iCloud, but preferably use iTunes on a computer. With your iOS device connected to iTunes, select “Backup to this computer” and check the box to create an encrypted backup. Set a password, and let iTunes do its thing. Creating an encrypted backup saves all of your account and app passwords. If you should need to restore your iOS device, you can use this backup and not have to enter passwords.

iOS 12: Siri shortcuts, group FaceTime and “Memoji” — Animoji of you. WWDC 2018: Everything Apple just announced.

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