How to download the iPadOS 18 developer beta

WWDC 2024
(Image credit: Apple)

iPadOS 18 should arrive this fall and promises a host of updates for the best iPads that can run the upcoming operating system. 

Some of the most exciting new iPadOS 18 features include Math Notes and Smart Script, which can help you solve written math problems and clean up your handwriting (respectively). iPadOS 18 will also bring many upcoming iOS 18 features, such as a more customizable home screen and robust Control Center.

Though iPadOS 18 won’t be available until later this year, you can download the developer beta of iPadOS 18 right now. This is technically for folks in the Apple Developer Program, which costs $99 a year for membership and gives you access to Apple’s tools for building apps that run on its programs.

If you want to try out some of the upcoming iPadOS 18 features, we can show you how. However, be warned that this is a beta version of the operating system and might potentially have bugs that could impact how your device works. If you don’t want to take the risk, you can wait for the iPadOS 18 public beta, which is usually safer to try than the developer beta. The public beta should be available in July for anyone with an Apple ID (and an iPad) to try.

Here’s how to download the iPadOS 18 developer beta.

iPadOS 18: Compatible devices

Before moving forward, you need to know if iPadOS 18 is compatible with your iPad. Here's a list of all compatible iPads.

  • iPad Pro (M4)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation and later)
  • iPad Air (M2)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation and later)
  • iPad (7th generation and later)
  • iPad mini (5th generation and later)

How to download the iPadOS 18 developer beta

Before you install the beta, make sure to back up your iPad, just in case anything goes wrong and you need to return to iPadOS 17.

1. Sign into Apple's developer site

(Image: © Apple)

You need to be an Apple Developer to check out the iPadOS 18 developer beta, so make sure to enroll in Apple's Developer Program if you haven't already. Again, it costs $99/year.

2. Check for software updates

(Image: © Apple)

Launch the Settings app and tap General, followed by Software Update.

3. Select the iPadOS 18 developer beta

(Image: © Apple)

If you have the latest version of iPadOS, the iPadOS 18 developer beta may already be waiting for you. If not, tap Beta Updates and select the iPadOS 18 Developer Beta from the list.

4. Download the beta

(Image: © Apple)

Select either Update Now, which will start the beta downloading right way, or Update Tonight, which will delay the beta until later. You'll be prompted to enter your passcode, and if you've selected Update Now, the download will commence. Downloading betas can take a while, so make sure your iPad has enough power or is attached to a charger when you're downloading the iPadOS 18 beta.

5. Install the beta

(Image: © Apple)

Once you've downloaded the beta, you'll be prompted to either install it now or wait until later. When installation is done, your iPad will restart. After you enter your passcode, iPadOS 18 will be installed and ready to test. The download could take a while.

And that's how you download the iPadOS 18 developer beta! Again, if you're worried that this developer beta could harm your iPad, you can wait for the (safer) public beta to arrive in July.

For more Apple-related guides, check out how to clear cache on Mac and how to clear RAM on iPhone to help speed up a sluggish device. If you've just bought a new iPhone, you'll want to check out how to transfer data from iPhone to iPhone so you can get everything moved across to your new phone smoothly.

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Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.