Unlike OS X Yosemite, there is no public beta program for iOS 8. However, you can still try iOS 8 before the public launch if you know where to look.
Want to get your hands on iOS 8 right now, without waiting for the official release later this year? Follow the steps below to get iOS 8 Beta 3 for your device before the rest of your friends.
1. Determine Whether You Actually Want iOS 8 Beta 3
Okay, you’re reading this article, so it’s safe to assume that you do really want to install iOS 8 Beta 3. That being said, there are some downsides to working with a Beta version of iOS in general, and the iOS 8 Beta 3 in particular.
Mac Rumors has a rundown of what’s included in Beta 3:
“Apple has released a new beta version of Find My iPhone, a brand new iOS 8 version of Find My Friends, a new Apple TV beta, and updates to Swift, the programming language the company introduced at WWDC. “
So if you’re into those features, or just tired of the bugs in iOS 8 Beta 2, getting Beta 3 installed ASAP is probably quite appealing.
Some features in the iOS 8 Beta 3 that may not appeal to all users include the new look and layout of the Weather app, as well as the re-introduction of events and albums from Aperture back into the Photos app.
Additionally, not all iOS 8 Beta 3 features may work on your iOS device of choice. For example, iCloud Drive does not appear to be fully functional on this version of the Beta.
MacRumors has a full rundown of what’s new in Beta 3, so give it a thorough read before committing to an upgrade.
2. Create a Backup of Your iOS Device
As we’ve warned you in past articles about downloading Beta builds of iOS, installing an iOS 8 Beta build comes with some amount of risk. You could damage or brick your device.
Even public-ready versions of iOS can have unexpected issues: just take the recent case of iOS 7.1.1, which caused data loss for some unlucky users. Just to be safe, you should create both a fresh iCloud backup, as well as a manual backup. Make sure to remember your password if you are creating an encrypted backup.
3. Choose Your Path: Official iOS 8 Beta Download or Pirated iOS 8 Beta Download
Here’s where things get tricky. The legit way to get iOS 8 Beta builds is to join Apple’s iOS developer program. Membership costs $99/year, and enrollment can take up to 24 hours to be activated. Once activated, simply log in at this Apple webpage to get started with iOS 8 Betas. Apple will walk you through the process in detail as you go along.
If you don’t have that kind of cash, there are torrent sites that can provide you with the files you’ll need to install iOS 8 Beta 3. Do note that tormenting is illegal is many jurisdictions, and torrent sites can also infect your computer or device with malware. Download illegally obtained iOS 8 Beta data at your own risk.
This can’t be stressed enough: CAREFUL RESEARCH is key to obtaining these programs. Occasionally, this software can be laced with harmful malware that can permanently damage your phone. Downloading the incorrect IPSW file is a possibility too. If you have a friend or family member who is experienced with torrent sites or installing iOS Beta builds, ask them for their advice. You can also search YouTube for videos that can provide more information or links.
4. Download the Correct ISPW File & Install It
Once you have found a reliable IPSW file, all that remains is the install process. Prior to installation, you will also want to fully charge your device, and keep it plugged into a power source during installation. This is because iOS installation can take a while to complete, and the process tends to drain the battery quickly.
To start the install, just open iTunes and choose “Restore your iPhone.” Mac users: hold down Alt/Option when clicking “Restore.” Windows users: hold the Shift key when clicking “Restore.”
Whether you go the legit or sneaky route to get iOS 8 Beta 3, enjoy the new features and watch out for unexpected bugs.