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The iOS beta program is valuable testing, not Apple being cheap

September 6th, 2017 at 4:01 PM
iOS 11 Beta Download

We’re about two weeks away from the official rollout of iOS 11, but Apple’s most important iOS update in years is available in beta version for both developers and regular users. If you still haven’t tried it on your main iPhone and iPad, you should totally do it right now. Not only is it very stable, but it’ll also give you a head start. There are many changes in iOS 11 for both iPhone and iPad, and the faster you get used to them, the better your iOS 11 experience will turn out to be.

But that’s not why I’m advising you to install the iOS 11 beta or any other form of software that’s not available in a final format.

I was just about getting ready to call it a day when I saw an Forbes piece titled Don’t Install The iOS 11 Public Beta, Testing Its Software Is Apple’s Job Not Yours that got me fuming.

The article makes it sound like Apple’s beta program is something devious. Like Apple is taking advantage of you and your devices.

“When you install the iOS 11 public beta, you are essentially testing the software for Apple. Using your own hardware, apps, and data. For free,” the author says.

Well no, that’s not what happens. Regardless of what iOS version you’d use, you’d still use your own hardware, apps, and data. You’d use the same products for your daily smartphone-related activities. Nothing changes the minute you install iOS 11 betas, and you’re not forced to do anything for Apple.

The program is voluntary indeed, but Apple expects nothing of you. You can submit feedback with any bugs you’d find, and that’s something that would improve everyone’s experience. Or you can not do it.

In fact, I haven’t submitted any ticket to date, though I did notice many bugs and inconsistencies. Since the early days of iOS 11 beta 1, many of them were squashed. And Apple did it all without my help. Because Apple’s developers, who’re paid to do it, also observe the same bugs and issues. And they fix them.

And I’ve also blocked any crash reports from being sent to Apple.

The only betas I would advise against installing for regular daily use are beta 1 and beta 2 of each iOS beta release. They may affect battery life, and apps may crash a lot more often than they do in latter releases. But even so, if you can handle the battery issues and crashes, it’s a worthy experience.

I’m trying out iOS betas as soon as they come out because it’s part of my job. But it also brings me closer to the iPhone and iPad future. In fact, I’ve been using beta software on iPhone and Mac more than final releases. And I’d do it even if I were just a regular iOS and macOS user.

Forbes’ Brad Moon is absolutely wrong here. If we’d extrapolate his advice to other software, then you should totally stop installing Windows 10 or Android beta versions. Go ahead and also uninstall beta versions of games, like the popular PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. These companies aren’t paying you. You’d be using your own hardware, apps, and data. For free.

Or keep using beta software, and thank those companies that you get to play with software well ahead of its official release date.

Yes, you should make sure you backup your data before using any kind of beta software, especially a mobile operating system. But that’s already something you should do regardless of whether you’re a beta enthusiast or not.

iOS 11 is currently at beta 9, which can be installed right now. The near-final version should be released next week, while the official iOS 11 release will hit iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch by September 20th.

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he's not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

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