Eager to test out everything arriving with watchOS 8 like the new Mindfulness app, Focus mode, Photo watch faces with Portrait mode, multiple timers, AssistiveTouch, and more? Read along for how to install watchOS 8 public or developer beta.

Update: The free public beta for watchOS 8 is now available.

Apple unveiled the next major version of watchOS at the WWDC keynote and made the developer beta available to test on Apple Watch. And the first public beta of watchOS 8 arrived on June 30.

Below we’ll look at how to install both the watchOS 8 public beta and developer beta.

How to install watchOS 8 public beta

Important: There is no way to downgrade to watchOS 7 after you install watchOS 8 beta. Depending on your risk tolerance, this may be best for secondary/test Apple Watches (Series 3 and later).

  1. It’s never a bad idea to make a fresh backup of your Apple Watch – this happens when you back up your iPhone – but keep in mind Apple doesn’t allow downgrades from watchOS 8 to watchOS 7
  2. On your iPhone running the iOS 15 beta, head to Apple’s public beta website
  3. Tap the arrow in the top right corner, sign in if you’re not already
  4. Now choose watchOS under the “Guide for Public Betas”
  5. Swipe down and under the Get Started section, tap enroll your Apple Watch
  6. Swipe down again and tap Download Profile
  7. Tap Allow to download the profile, hit Close
  8. Head to Settings on your device and tap Profile Downloaded near the top
  9. Tap Install in the top right corner, enter your passcode if needed
  10. Read the consent agreement, then tap Install two more times
  11. Your iPhone will prompt you to restart to complete the changes
  12. After your Apple Watch reboots, head back to the Apple Watch iPhone app > General > Software update
  13. You should see watchOS 8 public beta available, tap Download and Install
    • Make sure your Apple Watch is on the charger near your iPhone with at least 50% battery
How to install watchOS 8 beta walkthrough 1 - public beta
How to install watchOS 8 beta walkthrough 2 - public beta

How to install watchOS 8 developer beta

Important: There is no way to downgrade to watchOS 7 after you install watchOS 8 beta. This is best for secondary/test Apple Watches (Series 3 and later).

If you’re not already enrolled as an Apple Developer, you’ll need to do that here (runs $99/year). Or you can wait for the free public beta program that should launch in July.

  1. It’s never a bad idea to make a fresh backup of your Apple Watch – this happens when you back up your iPhone – but keep in mind Apple doesn’t allow downgrades from watchOS 8 to watchOS 7
  2. On your iPhone running the iOS 15 beta (or 14.7 beta), head to Apple’s Developer website
  3. Tap the two-line icon in the top left corner, sign in if you’re not already under Account
  4. Tap the two-line icon in the top left corner again, choose Downloads
  5. Swipe down (below iOS 14.7 beta) and tap Install Profile next to watchOS 8 beta
  6. Tap Allow to download the profile, hit Close
  7. Head to Settings on your device and tap Profile Downloaded near the top
  8. Tap Install in the top right corner, enter your passcode if needed
  9. Read the consent agreement, then tap Install two more times
  10. Your iPhone will prompt you to restart your Apple Watch to complete the changes
  11. After it reboots, head back to the iPhone Apple Watch app > General > Software Update
  12. You should see watchOS 8 available; tap Download and Install
    • Make sure your Apple Watch is on the charger near your iPhone with at least 50% battery

Here’s how the process looks on iPhone:

How to install watchOS 8 beta - walkthrough 1
How to install watchOS 8 beta - walkthrough 2
How to install watchOS 8 beta - walkthrough 3

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About the Author

Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.