Moving to a new iPhone with iOS Beta Versions

I recently had to temporarily move to a spare iPhone from my main one, then back again following a repair and restore drama.

Because I like to test the latest software where possible, I am part of the Apple beta program, so my phone was running iOS 11.4 beta 4. iCloud backups were turned on, but you can’t restore a backup to a phone running an older version of iOS. Both phones I was restoring to (the spare and the recovered original) were running iOS 11.3.1.

It wasn’t obvious to me how to get a blank phone to the beta version, so I’ll record it here. It’s not complicated.

  1. Go through the normal startup routine – put a SIM in, choose language, choose country, connect to wifi.
  2. At the restore screen, choose “Set Up as New iPhone”.
  3. Go through the rest of the setup, logging in as needed with your Apple ID.
  4. Open Safari, go to beta.apple.com.
  5. Go to the “Already a member? Sign In” link.
  6. Sign in using your Apple ID.
  7. Choose iOS, then tap the “enroll your iOS device” link.
  8. Download and install the iOS configuration profile. Confirm and restart the phone as needed.
  9. Once the phone is restarted, go to Settings, General, Software Update.
  10. Install the beta version offered, again confirming and restarting as needed.
  11. Once the restart is complete, go to Settings, General, Reset, Erase All Content and Settings. Confirm twice, and do NOT do an iCloud backup.
  12. Now you are back to the startup routine, but this time your phone is ready for restoring the iCloud backup from before.
  13. Go through the language, country and wifi as before.
  14. Choose “Restore from iCloud Backup”, and make sure the backup you choose is the most recent from the old phone which was running the beta.

Job done!

You can do this with iTunes backups instead, but I have had problems with that tin the past, and never had a problem with iCloud backups.

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