Not long after the WWDC 2021 keynote, Apple provided developers with the first beta versions of its milestone operating system releases, including builds of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, tvOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS Monterey.
As is customary for the early stages of WWDC, Apple has given developers early access to the software it announced during its keynote. This includes a first try of some of the features and apps announced on the virtual stage, months ahead of the public releases this fall.
The betas are available as a download via the Apple Developer Center, with future updates typically provided as over-the-air updates on enrolled devices. Normally, a public beta release is offered via the Apple Beta Software Program website, but users will have to wait until July before Apple releases the first public version.
iOS 15 adds enhancements to FaceTime and Messages, as well as new Focus modes, Live Text OCR performed locally with machine learning, Wallet as a digital ID at airports, and updated Weather and Maps apps, among other changes
For iPadOS 15, Apple's main updates included an overhaul of multitasking, home screen widget support, system-wide Quick Note, the Translate app, and a major update to Swift Playgrounds enabling app development and submission to the App Store.
macOS Monterey gains Shortcuts from iOS, an updated Safari, and enhancements to FaceTime and Messages.
watchOS 8's Sleep app tracks respiratory rate, while the Fitness app adds Tai Chi and Pilates workouts. Photos gains an iPhone-like design with a mosaic layout and memories, Messages adds cursor control with the Digital Crown and gif search.
AppleInsider, and Apple itself, strongly recommend users don't install the betas on to "mission-critical" or primary devices, as there is the remote possibility of data loss or other issues. This is especially true for the initial builds of a beta-testing cycle for new major releases.
Instead, testers should install betas onto secondary or non-essential devices, and to make sure there are sufficient backups of important data before updating.
Update: Apple has also released an accompanying HomePod software update to go along with iOS 15.
Follow all of WWDC 2021 with comprehensive AppleInsider coverage of the week-long event from June 7 through June 11, including details on iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, macOS Monterey and more.
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