While the iOS 7 release date is now slated for the fall, owners of the iPhone (and soon the iPad and iPod touch) can get their hands on the software early through an iOS 7 beta. However, while getting hands-on a new version of iOS early might sound like a great idea, there are actually some very good reasons to skip the iOS 7 beta.
As expected, Apple debuted its latest version of iOS, iOS 7, on stage at WWDC 2013, the company’s annual developer conference. Like previous iOS updates, the software will be bringing a number of new features to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners later in the year. Unlike previous updates, iOS 7 features significant changes to both the look of the user interface and the core applications that come stock with Apple’s mobile software.
For many, iOS 7 represents an exciting piece of software. Unfortunately for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad owners though, that excitement was diminished a bit by the fact that Apple won’t be releasing the software until sometime this fall, possibly in September alongside the iPhone 5S. For those that don’t wish to wait though, there is a way of getting the iOS 7 beta right now.
While it’s currently only available to owners of the iPhone, iOS 7 is available in beta form right now to those that pay the $99 annual fee for entry into Apple’s developer program. That membership allows owners to download and install iOS 7 beta, the first beta in a series of betas that are likely to land before the software’s release.
Those who aren’t a part of the developer program can also go through third-parties to get access to the iOS 7 beta. For as little as under $10, those looking for early iOS 7 access get can that access.
iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners who are thinking about taking the plunge with iOS 7 beta should know that it’s not all fun and games and that it’s nothing like downloading and installing a regular old Apple update.
That said, here are five reasons to skip the iOS 7 beta.
One of the first things that iDevice owners must remember before installing the iOS 7 beta is that this is not a final version of iOS 7, thus the name, iOS 7 beta. What this means is that the software is still being test for final release and will likely come with bugs that Apple, and those using the beta, will stumble across as time marches forward.
While final versions of iOS software generally have bugs as well, they will more than likely be plentiful in the beta version of the software, particularly in the early versions. Users of several iOS 6 betas complained about non-working Wi-Fi, amongst other issues.
This is something that device owners need to consider, especially when the earliest that Apple will release the update is in September. That means several months of potential headaches.
Apps Aren’t Guaranteed to Work
Another major headache that iOS 7 users could run into are incompatible or unstable applications. In past iOS betas, applications have simply crashed when started up and others seemingly only work some of the time.
Some users have reported increasingly good functionality with Apple’s beta software, particularly with iOS 6, but there is a good chance that with a major software overhaul like iOS 7, some applications will not be agreeable.
Forgetful types probably want to skip the iOS 7 beta. This is due to the fact that Apple’s beta software expires after a certain amount of time and after it does expire, devices that aren’t updated to the latest version will become temporarily bricked, until they can connect to a computer and update to the current beta.
In some cases, that could mean weeks without access to a phone or tablet, something that obviously isn’t going to be agreeable for many owners of Apple’s devices. Additionally, once the software does become available, owners will have to download and restore their iPhone which is an extremely slow process.
In particular, those who are dependent upon one smartphone or one tablet should think twice about downloading or installing the iOS 7 beta, especially if they plan to travel significantly while using the iOS 7 beta.
Downgrading Is an Issue
Let’s say an iPhone user installs the iOS 7 beta, finds that it’s too buggy and wants to downgrade back to the previous version of iOS. In the past, this has been possible, even though Apple claims that it’s not, though it’s not a fun process. Instead, it’s a headache filled process that will likely confuse and frustrate novices.
Reports of the inability to downgrade iOS 7 are false. There is a way to downgrade from iOS 7 beta after installing it but again, for those that have not been through the process, it’s not going to be an easy process and it’s one that could definitely eat up quite a bit of time. Users will need to weigh whether the potential headaches are worth the installation.
Likely Isn’t the Full iOS 7 Update
While Apple hasn’t confirmed it just yet, the iOS 7 beta likely isn’t the full version of the software. Indeed, there will be plenty to toy around with in the days leading up to its official release but iOS 7 beta likely only features some of what the finalized software will have to offer.
For instance, with iOS 5, Siri wasn’t available to developers within the iOS 5 betas. There are also smaller features that Apple keeps out of the hands of developers so as to keep the operating system fresh and new when it arrives in the months after its first official unveiling.
So if a piece of software, that isn’t fully featured, doesn’t sound like it will be worth dealing with for the next few months, it’s probably worth waiting with iOS 6 instead of installing the iOS 7 beta on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.