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How to download the fourth developer beta of watchOS 9 to your Apple Watch

watchOS 9 hero
watchOS 9 (Image credit: Apple)

watchOS 9 is here, but there are always software updates and new versions that need to be tested. To that end, Apple has released a beta version of the OS to developers, allowing them to write and test their apps on live devices. If you're a general user, you can technically get in on this beta, too, but if you insist on using beta software, perhaps wait until the undoubtedly more stable public beta is available.

If you're going to download the developer beta (and are aware of the risks) of watchOS 9, here's how to do it.

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas (opens in new tab). While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

What's new in watchOS 9

July 28, 2022: Apple releases the fourth developer beta of watchOS 9

Apple just released the fourth developer beta for watchOS 9. If you have a registered developer account, you can download the update just as you normally would. This update contains bug fixes and other improvements.

July 6, 2022: Apple releases the third developer beta of watchOS 9

Although the software won't be officially available to the general public on all of the best Apple Watches until sometime later this year — likely in the fall — developers can now access the 3rd developer beta for watchOS 9.

June 22, 2022: Apple releases the second developer beta of watchOS 9

As expected, Apple announced watchOS 9 at WWDC 2022. Although the software won't be officially available to the general public on all of the best Apple Watches until sometime later this year — likely in the fall — the developer beta should be available for download sometime soon after the keynote has ended.

June 6, 2022: Apple releases the first developer beta of watchOS 9 at WWDC 2022

As expected, Apple announced watchOS 9 at WWDC 2022. Although the software won't be officially available to the general public on all of the best Apple Watches until sometime later this year — likely in the fall — the developer beta should be available for download sometime soon after the keynote has ended.

How to download the watchOS 9 beta certificate

Note: Make sure you're running the developer beta for iOS 16 on your iPhone before trying to install the watchOS 9 beta on a watch like Apple Watch Series 7.

  1. Log into developer.apple.com (opens in new tab) on the iPhone paired with your Apple Watch.
  2. Tap Discover.
  3. Tap watchOS.
  4. Tap Download.
  5. Sign in with your Apple ID if prompted.
  6. Tap Install Profile next to watchOS 9 Beta.
  7. Tap Allow on the prompt asking for permission to install a profile.
  8. Tap on Install begin.
  9. Enter your Passcode if prompted to do so.
  10. Tap on Install to confirm.
  11. Tap on Restart to reboot your Apple Watch.

Once your Apple Watch has rebooted the installation process goes back to normal.

How to install the watchOS beta using your iPhone

The certificate is what tells the Watch app on your iPhone that the watchOS beta is available. Once the Watch app detects the update, the process of installing it is the same as any other watchOS update, detailed below (if the beta doesn't show up, reboot again).

  1. Connect your iPhone to Wi-Fi and launch the Apple Watch app.
  2. Tap on the My Watch tab.
  3. Tap on General.
  4. Tap on Software Update.

(Image credit: Source: iMore)
  1. Tap on Download and Install.
  2. Enter your iPhone Passcode.
  3. Tap Agree to the Terms and Conditions.

Install watchOS, showing how to tap Download and Install, enter your iPhone passcode, then tap Agree

(Image credit: Source: iMore)
  1. Make sure your Apple Watch is charged to at least 50% and connect it to the magnetic charger.
  2. Tap Install on your iPhone and/or your Apple Watch.

The watchOS update will download and transfer to your Apple Watch and Apple Watch will reboot to apply the update. You can follow the progress on the Apple Watch screen, and once it's done, you'll be all set.

If the watchOS update fails at the verification stage, try again. If it fails repeatedly, un-pair and re-pair your Apple Watch and try again (that un-pairing and re-pairing process takes a while so make sure verification really isn't working for you before you go through it).

How to install the watchOS beta using your Apple Watch

Starting with watchOS 6, Apple added the ability to update your Apple Watch through the Settings app on the Apple Watch itself. While the process isn't completely iPhone-free yet, it wouldn't be surprising to see it become so over the course of this beta cycle. Here's how, as of right now, you can update your Apple Watch through the watch itself.

  1. Open Settings on your Apple Watch, either by using Siri or your app list.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Software Update.
  4. Tap Install.
  5. Tap OK.
  6. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  7. Agree to the Terms & Conditions while still on your iPhone.
  8. On your Apple Watch, tap Download & Install.

Your Apple Watch still needs to be on a charger for the update to install, and it won't do so until your watch has a battery level of at last 50%.

How to downgrade watchOS

Instructions for reverting back to watchOS 8 are behind the developer center login, so we can't replicate them here. It's suffice to say you can't do it on your own. Your Apple Watch will have to go back to Apple. That alone should give anyone who doesn't absolutely need the developer beta pause to reconsider installing it in the first place.

For developers who, for whatever reason, really do need to revert, you can find instructions for contacting Apple at the bottom of this document:

Luke Filipowicz
Luke Filipowicz

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 


Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.