Apple’s iOS 13 update isn’t even out yet, which makes it extremely bizarre that the company just released the first beta of iOS 13.1. That’s not a typo.
Apple on Tuesday released iOS 13.1 beta 1 to developers, likely a few weeks ahead of iOS 13’s launch next month. Here’s what you should know.
The first beta versions of iOS 13.1 and iPadOS 13.1 are now being seeded to developers. Devices with the proper configuration profile will see the iOS 13.1 beta as an over-the-air update in Settings > General > Software Update.
Notably, this marks the first time that Apple has released a point update ahead of an iOS version’s actual launch. The Cupertino tech giant seeded the last beta version of iOS 13 — beta 8 — last week.
When news of iOS 13.1 beta 1 started surfacing this morning, many thought it was a mistake or a mislabeling. At this point, it appears that the labeling was actually intentional. Apple has not corrected the beta’s label and has updated its developer profile hosting page to reflect the move to iOS 13.1.
Based on that fact, it seems like beta testing for the standard release of iOS 13 has wrapped up and beta testing of iOS 13.1 has officially begun.
As far as what’s contained in the betas, Apple’s release notes suggest that iOS 13.1 beta 1 reintroduces:
- Shortcuts Automations
- Share ETA in Maps
- And other features that were removed over the iOS 13 beta testing cycle.
There are also new UI changes, including macOS HomeKit icons and a new volume HUD that displays an icon of a connected device. Users who have downloaded the new beta also report generally snappier and more stable performance.
It’s worth noting that the developer’s download page appears to have retained restore images for the last iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 beta. It’s likely that public beta versions of iOS 13.1 and iPadOS 13.1 will be dropping soon.
What’s Going on?
It is not exactly clear why Apple has decided to move to iOS 13.1 before iOS 13’s official release next month. It’s especially confusing since the last iOS 13 beta was still somewhat buggy and unpolished.
Based on some user reports, it does appear that the iOS 13 betas have had some significant underlying problems. Because of that, it looks like Apple is already preparing iOS 13.1 for launch in an effort to try and address some of those issues.
As developer Steve Troughton-Smith puts it, iOS 13 is already “locked in for release.” Apple is likely to release iOS 13.1 shortly after to “try and improve the post-launch experience.”
At this point, it’s not likely that Apple will skip over the iOS 13 release. Instead, Apple may pull features from it and reintroduce them in a point release shortly after its launch.
In other words, the last iOS 13 beta may be the final version or close to it. Apple could also release iOS 13 early and drop iOS 13.1 in September alongside new iPhones. Because this is all unprecedented, it’s hard to place any firm bets.