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(Pocket-lint) - Apple is rolling out the first public beta of watchOS 8. That means public beta testers, or any non-developer, can download and try the new update on their Apple Watch. 

To get the beta version of Apple's next operating system update running on your watch, you need to sign up for Apple's beta testing program. It's free to join. Then, you need to install the proper certificate from Apple's public beta website, and then you can grab the updates over the air. If you've joined Apple's beta program previously, you'll need to enroll again. Here's what you need to know.

Also:

How to download and install the watchOS 8 public beta on your Apple Watch

With the Apple public beta program, you can download and install watchOS 8 on your Apple Watch. To make things easy, we've detailed the steps below. But, remember, if you want watchOS 8, you'll also need the iOS 15 public beta on your iPhone. Check out our guide here for details on how to get the iOS 15 public beta - it's also easy and free.

Register and enroll in Apple's public beta program

Before you can download the watchOS 8 public beta to install it on your Apple device, you need to register and enroll in Apple's public beta program.

  1. Visit the Apple Beta Program website on the iPhone paired to your Apple Watch.
  2. Click the signup button.
  3. Sign in with your Apple ID login
  4. From there, read and accept Apple's agreement.
  5. From your iPhone, visit beta.apple.com/sp/betaprogram/guide.
    • You may need to sign in with your Apple ID login.
  6. Download the Beta Configuration Profile. (Follow the on-screen steps.)
    • You'll need to tap the watchOS tab.
    • Scroll down to and select "you can enroll your Apple Watch".
    • On the next page, select Download Profile > Install.
    • You may need to enter your passcode and tap Restart to reboot your device.

At this point, you're ready to install the public beta on your Apple Watch.

Install the watchOS 8 public beta via Apple Watch

 You can install the watchOS 8 public beta through your Apple Watch itself in just a few easy steps:

  1. Go to General > Software Update in your Apple Watch's Settings app.
  2. Wait for the watchOS 8 public beta prompt to appear.
  3. Tap the prompt to download and install the beta on your device.

Install the watchOS 8 public beta via iPhone

Alternatively, you can install the watchOS 8 public beta using your iPhone:

  1. Connect your iPhone to Wi-Fi and launch the Apple Watch app.
  2. Tap on the My Watch tab > General > Software Update.
  3. Tap on Download and Install and enter your iPhone Passcode.
  4. Tap Agree to the Terms and Conditions.
  5. Make sure your Apple Watch is charged to at least 50% and connect it to the charger.
  6. Tap Install on your iPhone and/or your Apple Watch.

Can your Apple Watch run the watchOS 8 public beta?

Apple said watchOS 8 requires iPhone 6s or later with iOS 15 or later and one of the following Apple Watch models:

  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch SE
  • Apple Watch Series 6

When will the final version of watchOS 8 roll out?

Apple will seed several developer and public betas of watchOS 8 throughout the summer - which you will be able to download over the air. Expect the final version of the software update to officially launch for all supported Apple Watch models sometime this autumn, likely following the debut of the next iPhone series.

Apple watchOS 7: All the key new Apple Watch features explored

The final versions will also be free and downloadable over the air - no Apple beta program required. 

Want to know more about watchOS 8?

Check out our comprehensive feature run-down:

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on 30 June 2021.