The iOS 16 Public Beta Software Program provides users who opt-in an early look at Apple’s newest features for the iPhone, but users should think twice before installing pre-release software on their primary devices. The upcoming software upgrade was first introduced at WWDC in June, an event primarily focused on developers and software. Though it was unveiled over a month ago, there is still quite a bit of development to be completed before iOS 16 is released to the public in the fall. However, for users eager to test out the latest features and assist the company in the development and feedback process, enrolling in the Apple Beta Software Program might be the right choice.
Apple continually makes improvements to iOS throughout the year, but the biggest feature and user-interface changes are added in the fall. They’re announced at WWDC, refined throughout multiple beta software programs, and then released alongside the newest iPhones close to Apple’s annual September event. In this department, iOS 16 does not disappoint, providing numerous features and changes over its predecessor. A redesigned lock screen with support for multiple saved screens and widgets, editable iMessages, and refined applications highlight just a few of the improvements the company has made with iOS 16. Even though the feature set for Apple’s upcoming mobile software release is strong, there are also a few reasons to hold off on installing the public beta.
A lot of work goes into the development of a full version upgrade of iOS, but it can be broken down into a few stages to chronicle the software development. Most of the work occurs behind the scenes before the software is even announced, because Apple is always working on potential new features and upgrades. After the software is announced at WWDC in the summer months, the next step is a developer beta software program. Although it is possible to access the developer beta without an authorized account, the release is mainly to give developers the time they need to ensure their apps will be compatible with the new software. Additionally, developers can report issues to Apple that the company might not have discovered yet. The developer beta is the most unstable of all the beta releases, but after this is refined, a public beta is released that anyone can sign up for directly through Apple.
The obvious benefit to installing the iOS 16 beta software version is to experience the new features before the full release makes its way to the public. For technology enthusiasts, it can be fun to test out and tinker with an unreleased feature or change — and show them off to coworkers, friends, or family. However, there’s a reason that the software isn’t quite ready for public release. There are risks associated with running a public beta, from smaller inconveniences like bugs and crashes to bigger worries like hardware failures and data loss. Because the software is still in development, it’s possible that a user running a public beta version experiences an issue that Apple hasn’t even encountered yet.
For this reason, Apple doesn’t recommend installing the public beta on a primary device that is business-critical. Instead, the company suggests that users who wish to test the software do so on an older or secondary device that is not needed for daily use. Regardless of the type of device that is enrolled in the beta software program, users should be sure to back up their iPhone before starting. Unlike an unauthorized developer beta software version, installing the public beta does not void any Apple hardware warranties that may be active on a device. If a user is comfortable with the risks associated with running a pre-release software version, the new features available in iOS 16 are definitely worth enrolling in the Apple Beta Software Program. But if a user’s day-to-day life or work would be severely impacted by issues within the beta software, it is best to hold off installing the iOS 16 beta until it is made available to all users in the fall.