For years, a $99/year developer subscription has been the sole way to gain access to the iOS developer beta and other development builds. Apple has just made the iOS 17 developer beta and other betas open to everyone who registers as a developer, upending things this year and significantly expanding access.
I saw earlier today that many customers were able to download the iOS 17 developer beta, even though they did not have developer accounts. When the iOS 17 beta distribution first began, it appeared to be a bug, but it was planned that way.
Apple has formally announced the change on its Developer website, which contrasts the new free and premium membership choices, as first noted by iSoftware Updates. Although the betas are free, you still need to register as a developer and sign up to access them.
This explains why all users are seeing the iOS 17 Developer Beta under Settings > General > Software Update. Remember that the developer beta isn’t meant to be put on your main device because it inevitably has bugs and performance difficulties.