Like almost every year, Apple has used its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) to showcase future versions of its software for various devices. WWDC 2022 saw presenters guide us through new and exciting features from several new operating systems: iOS 16 for iPhones, iPad OS 16 for iPads, and Mac OS Ventura for Mac notebooks and desktops. Several features were demonstrated, ranging from Stage Manager for multitasking to Pass-Keys that could make passwords a thing of the past.
Additionally, much of the software announced at WWDC 2022 — iPad OS 16, iOS 16, Mac OS Ventura — is now available for download. A look at the social networks of many tech experts will even reveal images of them showing off the new software and talking about the features available. All this can make it very tempting for many of us to go straight ahead and download and use this software on our devices.
Our advice in this regard is simple: don’t do it.
That may sound strange, but the simple fact is that this software is simply not designed for public use. That’s even why Apple has called it a “developer beta.” The software is available but is intended for developers. Of course, one can register as a developer by paying a fee and providing details at https://developer.apple.com/programs/enroll/, which would give someone access to the software even before it is released to the public.
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However, the point to note is that this software has not been released to the public. And there’s a reason for this: beta versions of software often have their own bugs and issues. And the number of bugs and errors is even greater when the software is released in beta form for developers. That’s why developers get access to it to debug mistakes and maybe even suggest ways to fix them.
In fact, we can say that the beta version of the developer software is one of the most unstable versions out there. When several bugs and errors have been fixed, the brand sometimes releases a so-called public beta of the software. This version also has some bugs but is generally much more stable than the developer version. We wouldn’t even recommend using public betas, but they’re better than developer betas, which is the state in which most software is shown at WWDC 2022.
Of course, many people ask us what exactly can go wrong when using beta software? You might get away with a single crash and freeze if you’re lucky. If the Lady Luck of Tech is less generous, well, you could get everything from a device that doesn’t work to a partially frozen touchscreen to one with features like cameras and GPS that don’t work. One of our colleagues had his entire iPad go into black-and-white mode while testing a public beta.
There are also other problems. Since beta software isn’t a finished product, it can contain vulnerabilities that could compromise the data on your devices — and most of us have highly sensitive information on our phones and tablets. In fact, using beta versions often leads to data loss, both sensitive and otherwise. That is one of the reasons why you are prompted to back up your device before installing beta software on it. Software betas can also sometimes have problems with a credit card and online payment services – Netflix stubbornly refused to run on the beta version of an operating system installed on a colleague’s device! In addition, when things go wrong, support services are often unable to resolve issues easily because most support and service personnel are not trained to handle beta versions.
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This is not to say that beta software is some kind of dangerous monster. No, that’s not it. It’s very useful; without it, we wouldn’t be able to access much of the secure and stable software we use today. Every app and operating system was once in beta. The point to remember is that a beta release inevitably comes with a headache. Experts and power users may be able to handle them, but they can completely ruin the experience (and devices) of more regular users.
Using a pre-release version of the software can look cool or get you liked on social media, but it can wreak havoc on your device and data. We advise regular users to avoid beta versions unless they have time, devices, and data to spare. If you can’t resist pre-release or beta software, go for public betas instead of developer versions. Your gadgets will thank you for it!