iOS 11 Public Beta released – beware!

Today Apple released the pre-release of iOS 11 to the public. All of the new features are exciting but be aware that running beta software is quite dangerous. If you like seeing all of the new features and you have tolerance for serious bugs go ahead and sign up, but just so you know, I warned you. If you are unsure of what I’m talking about below then the beta software is definitely not for you.

Before you install the beta:

  • Back up! You should back up your iPhone or iPad to your computer using iTunes. Don’t use iCloud backups because those don’t allow you go back to a backup that is more than a week old. After a week, if you decide you want to go back to the regular release you have to erase your iPhone and start over if you don’t have a snapshot you took through iTunes.
  • Do you have a backup device? Beta software can be really messy. Do you have another phone you can use if things go really awry?
  • Be aware, downgrading is NOT simple! You can technically downgrade to iOS 10 once you upgraded, but it’s a very difficult process. You have to download the iOS 10 software for your specific device manually, put your device in DFU mode, erase it, then restore from a backup that you took before you upgraded to iOS 11. Additionally, any videos or photos you take on iOS 11 can’t be viewed on iOS 10.

What sorts of problems can you expect?

  • Stability. Your device will probably spontaneously reboot quite often.
  • Slowness. Your device will probably be sluggish.
  • Data loss. It’s really easy for your device to completely crap out and lose everything that hasn’t been backed up. It doesn’t happen often but it does happen sometimes.
  • Usability. A lot of functions don’t work. Or they are erratic. Or they do the exact opposite of what they are supposed to.
  • Battery life. Because it’s slow and working overtime and having to repeat tasks the battery gets wore down fast.
  • Incompatibility. Lots of apps don’t work or misbehave. For example, Square (for taking card payments) simply won’t load. Same with nearly any app made by Disney.
  • Missing features. A lot of the features announced haven’t been turned on yet anyway.

So then who is this beta for, exactly?

  • People who need to familiarize themselves before it’s in the hands of the masses (help desk employees, IT professionals)
  • Hobbyists who just like to take things apart and don’t really care about the consequences
  • People who have a high tolerance for bugs and just like to see the new features
  • People who want to contribute to Apple by making the software better through bug reports.

Take it from me, it’s worth waiting for the final public release. If history is any indication, we’ll see it in mid-September.