After months of rumors and speculation, Apple’s big keynote at WWDC has come and gone, unveiling iOS 18, the next major update for all compatible iPhones. Although the company won’t be rolling out iOS 18 to the general public until this fall, you can test the software right now—if you’re willing to accept the risks.

What’s new in iOS 18?

This year, Apple has introduced a somewhat modest update for most devices. The keynote highlighted some notable features: the ability to customize app placement on the Home Screen (cue jokes about Android having this feature for years), an overhaul to Messages (including the long-awaited ability to schedule messages), and a new Passwords app that might make iCloud Keychain users reconsider switching to LastPass or 1Password.

However, the standout new features are powered by “Apple Intelligence,” Apple’s branding for its AI systems. With Apple Intelligence, you can ask Siri to perform tasks in various apps, request the AI to rewrite any text for you, and generate images and “Genmoji.” These features, although part of iOS 18, aren’t available in the current beta and will roll out to testers this summer. Note that they’re only available on iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max.

Why you shouldn’t install the iOS 18 beta

I’m not here to police your choices: if you want to install iOS 18 right now, that’s up to you. However, it’s important to understand the risks associated with beta software. Beta versions are still in testing and have not been approved for general release, meaning they can be buggy and unstable. Installing the iOS 18 beta could lead to data loss if not properly backed up beforehand. Unless you are experienced with beta software or are okay with potential data loss, it’s best not to install beta software on your primary devices.

It’s also worth noting that this is the developer beta of iOS 18, intended for iOS developers to test with their apps to ensure optimization by the time iOS 18 is officially released in the fall. The public beta, which will have some of the initial bugs ironed out, will be available in July.

Installing the iOS 18 dev beta

If you decide to go ahead and install the iOS 18 developer beta, the first thing you should do is back up your iPhone. Do not rely solely on iCloud for this; instead, connect your iPhone to a Mac or PC and back it up through Finder or iTunes to ensure your data is safe.

Previously, an iOS developer account was required to install the dev beta, which led some users to seek the beta from unofficial sources to avoid the $100 fee. Apple has since changed this, allowing anyone to install the dev beta directly from Settings, even without a developer account.

To install, open Settings > General > Software Update, then tap Beta Updates. Choose iOS 18 Developer Beta, then tap Back. Once the iOS 18 Developer Beta appears on the screen, hit Download and Install.