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How to install tvOS 12 beta 5 on your Apple TV

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Installing the tvOS 12 beta is more complex than an iOS or macOS beta, but it’s also for developers only.

Just like with iOS and macOS, Apple makes beta versions of tvOS available for developers to test. But unlike the betas for other systems, installing it on the Apple TV (4th generation) or Apple TV 4K is more complicated than a simple download and go. If you’re a developer and you’re having trouble getting the tvOS beta installed, here’s what you need to do.

Unlike Apple’s other operating systems, you can’t back up your Apple TV; as such, Apple offers two options for updating tvOS: over the air, which just updates the system; and via USB-C, which restores the device to its factory settings.

  • How to install the tvOS 12 beta over-the-air
  • How to install the tvOS 12 beta restore image over USB-C (4th generation Apple TV only)

How to install the tvOS 12 beta over-the-air

You can install the tvOS 12 beta Configuration Profile completely wirelessly, but you’ll need a Mac, Apple Configurator, and the latest version of Xcode.

Updating over the air only updates the system software; your configurations and apps should remain on your Apple TV as-is.

  1. On your Mac, go to developer.apple.com/download.
  2. Enter your developer username and password to log in.
  3. Click on the blue Download button to the right of tvOS 12 beta configuration profile. Make sure to save the profile to your Desktop.
  4. Install the Apple Configurator app from the Mac App Store.
  5. Connect your Apple TV (4th generation) or Apple TV 4K to AC power.
  6. Connect your Apple TV (4th generation) or Apple TV 4K to the same wireless network as your Mac.
  7. Open Xcode on your Mac. Make sure you’re running the latest version.
  8. Click Window in the Menu bar.
  9. Click Devices and Simulators.
  10. Open Settings on your Apple TV.
  11. Select Remotes and Devices.
  12. Select Remote App and Devices.
  13. In Xcode, select the Apple TV when it appears in the left column under discovered.
  14. Enter the code that appears on your Apple TV. Xcode will pair with the Apple TV.
  15. Open Apple Configurator on your Mac.
  16. Click on your Apple TV in Apple Configurator.
  17. Drag the tvOS 12 Configuration Profile from your Desktop to the Apple TV icon in Apple Configurator. The Apple TV will be configured for the tvOS 12.

Your Apple TV should now detect tvOS 12 and download and install it just like any other update.

How to install the tvOS 12 beta restore image over USB-C (4th generation Apple TV only)

If you have a 4th generation Apple TV, you can use a USB-C cable to install the restore image.

  1. On your Mac, go to developer.apple.com/download.
  2. Enter your developer username and password to log in.
  3. Click on the blue Download button to the right of tvOS 12 restore image.
  4. Click on the blue Download button to the right of Xcode 10.
  5. Install Xcode 10 on your Mac.
  6. Connect your Apple TV (4th generation) to AC power.
  7. Connect your Apple TV (4th generation) to your Mac using a USB-C cable.
  8. Launch iTunes.
  9. Select your Apple TV when it appears in iTunes.
  10. Hold down the Option key and click on Check for Updates.
  11. Browse to and click on the tvOS 12 beta you downloaded in step 3.

Once iTunes has updated your Apple TV, hook it back up to your television and you’re good to go.

Have you got tvOS 12 up and running on your Apple TV? Which method did you use and how did it work for you?

Update July 30, 2018: Apple has just released tvOS 12 beta 5 for developers. If you already have a previous tvOS beta installed, proceed to System > Software Updates and download away. If you’ve been waiting for tvOS 12 to start testing, your time has come.

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