The public and developer betas of tvOS 12 are out now. If you would like to install it on your Apple TV you've come to the right place: we’ll walk through the steps to do so below.

During the WWDC keynote Apple described the new features coming in tvOS 12. It will add Dolby Atmos, new screensavers with stunning views of the Earth from the International Space Station, and features to make signing into services easier. Public testers will no doubt be keen to try out these new features before the new OS arrives in the autumn.

Developers running the beta will be able to test how their apps work with the three-axis gyro data, and use tools such as Metal, TVUIKit, TVML, the new Network Framework, and CloudKit to finesse their apps so that they look beautiful on the big screen. In addition, developers will be able to work with their customers running the public beta to test the new apps they design for tvOS 12.

A word of caution. If you only have one Apple TV - and especially if you don’t have any alternative means of watching Netflix and the like - we would strongly advise against installing the beta on your Apple TV as it could break it. Apple warns that: “Attempting to install this version of tvOS in an unauthorized manner could put your device in an unusable state and necessitate an out of warranty repair.”

What you need to run the tvOS beta

Ready to install the beta? Here’s what you need:

  • Apple TV 4K or Apple TV 4th generation. (Earlier Apple TV models are not supported)

If you are a developer you will also need the following:

  • Register as a developer: Go to the Apple Developer Program registration page and click Enrol. While you can register for free, if you want to download software it will cost $99 (approx £74 a year).
  • The latest version of Xcode.
  • The latest version of Apple Configurator.
  • The latest version of macOS.
  • Your Mac and the Apple TV will need to be on the same network.

If you are wanting to try out the Public Beta you can sign up at the Beta Seed Program website here. You must be aged 18 or older with a valid Apple ID, and you'll also need to be willing to accept the Confidentiality Agreement, which means you agree not to share information or screenshots of the update.

How to install the tvOS 12 developer beta

There are two ways to install the beta if you have the Apple TV (4th generation), but only one of those ways works if you have the newer Apple TV 4K, so we’ll start with that.

To run the developer beta you need to do the following:

  1. Go to the Apple Developer download page on your Mac and download the tvOS beta software configuration profile.
  2. Plug in and turn on your Apple TV.
  3. Open Xcode on your Mac.
  4. In Xcode, choose Window > Devices and Simulators.
  5. Click Devices.
  6. Now, turn to the Apple TV and open Settings.
  7. Choose Remotes and Devices > Remote App and Devices.
  8. Your Apple TV should search for possible pairing devices and should discover the Mac.
  9. Back to Xcode on the Mac and you should be able to select the Apple TV (it’ll be in the left column under Discovered.)
  10. You will see an Apple TV connection request.
  11. Enter the verification code displayed on the Apple TV here, and click Connect.
  12. Once Xcode has paired with the Apple TV you will see a network icon appear beside the Apple TV in the left column.
  13. Now open Apple Configurator on your Mac.
  14. If you are setting up an Apple TV for the first time click Prepare and follow the onscreen instructions.
  15. If you are adding profiles for an Apple TV that you've previously set up, click Add > Profiles. (Alternatively, you could drag a profile from the Finder and drop it straight onto the Apple TV icon).

As we said above, there are two ways to install the beta on a 4th generation TV, Apple explains the second way - using Restore Image - here.

How to install the tvOS public beta

The tvOS beta became available for public beta testers on 25 June, the installation process is outlined below:

  1. Register for Apple's Beta Software program here. Click on Sign Up and enter your Apple ID. Sign In and then click on Accept to agree to the terms and conditions.
  2. On your Apple TV, click on Settings > Accounts.
  3. Click on iCloud and enter the Apple ID email address and password you used when you joined the Public Beta program.
  4. Click on the Menu button on your Siri Remote.
  5. Click Menu again.
  6. Now click on System > Software updates and Turn on Get Public Beta Updates.
  7. Click Get Public Beta Updates.
  8. Agree to the terms and conditions.
  9. Now you should be able to install the beta. Open Settings again.
  10. Click on Software Updates > Update Software.
  11. Now select Download and Install.

If you would also like to run the beta versions of macOS Mojave and the beta of iOS 12 click the links to find out how to do that.

And if you install the tvOS beta and then regret it, here's how to uninstall the tvOS 12 beta to revert to the older version.