iOS 8Now that Apple’s WWDC keynote is over, reasonably technical iOS users are faced with the annual temptation: should they sign up for an iOS developer program membership and install the iOS 8 beta on their daily-use iOS devices?

Here’s the short answer: no.

Other tech companies like Google have taken to releasing roughly finished products to consumers for early testing under the beta label before. But the version of iOS 8 available to developers today is truly a beta: pre-release software, complete with serious bugs. Here are some past problems users have reported:

  • Certain third- or even first-party apps will crash in strange places, or stop working entirely. Meanwhile, developers won’t be able to release a new version of their app that uses features in iOS 8 until after Apple releases the OS to the public. That means some bugs will go unfixed until this fall.
  • The system will crash at inopportune times.
  • Users will need to install a new version of the beta a few days after Apple releases it to developers, and devices that don’t get the update in time will cease to function.
  • Updates will introduce bugs that cause users to lose data, including contact information.
  • The usual channels Apple has available to help users with problems on their iOS devices will be closed to beta users. In all likelihood, the Genius Bar won’t help iOS 8 beta users figure out what’s wrong with their device, in part because they may not have received taining on it before.
  • Devices running iOS 7.1.1 (the latest release of Apple’s current version of its mobile operating system) can’t be restored using an iOS 8 backup, meaning that users who want to downgrade from the beta will lose all the data they saved after upgrading.

iOS 8 includes a bunch of really awesome features that I’m looking forward to getting my hands on in the future. But getting early access to features like Apple’s updated Messages app and Family Sharing will cost users the stability of their iOS devices. Many developers use dedicated devices just for testing the iOS betas, and for good reason.

In the event you upgrade to the beta – despite my advice to the contrary – Ars Technica has a good guide about how to downgrade your iOS device from a beta version.

[This story has been updated to correct the length of WWDC.]

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  • Philthy

    WWDC isn’t over, it just started and runs all week! Fix your opening sentence please!

    • Graham Banzer

      they never said the WWDC was over. They said the KEYNOTE is over, which is fact. The keynote is day 1 only.

  • Brockelley09

    Been running ios 8 on my 5s for a little over 24 hours and it is very stable. For a beta it’s truely amazing how stable it is. That being said battery life is down to about a percent every ten minutes, and maps is all but useless. Everything else is as fast if not faster than 7.1.1 and all of my apps work. That being said this isn’t typical, last year my experience was much worse.

    • Luis Barraza

      i cant imagine that… I had it on my 5s and it respringed every 3o seconds. I mean, I knw its beta but its very useless atm. Ill wait for beta 2 at least and see how it goes.

      • xaziss

        Mine i have had for a little over 48 ours no problems so far, and i also installed without UDID

      • Bryan

        Your phone must just suck. Mine is running perfectly also

        • Btak21

          My 5 is perfect with the beta. some bugs here and there, but that’s to be expected. It is definitely worth testing out.

  • biggregg23

    downloaded to my i5.. no problems so far, phone is sluggish but that is expected since this is a beta version. Love the iMessage changes, specifically the ability to reply to a message within an app. I always hated having to exit completely out of an app to reply to a text. I think I will reply back to more text message with this update

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