Some will be tempted to sign up for the developer program and experiment immediately. Others may be waiting to get their hands on the public betas, which usually arrive a couple of months later.
However, even Apple advises that their betas aren’t for everyone and there are a lot of risks involved in trying out any beta. To make sure everyone understands, continue reading to learn the top risks of trying beta software.
Betas Can Actually Ruin Your Device
Don’t be tempted by the developer betas for Big Sur and iOS 14. They’re technically available, but really not designed for the average user or even the enthusiastic amateur.
have to be part of the developer program, which costs a steep $100 for entry
(and every year afterward if you want to stay). But even then, the developer
beta is primarily used for careful experimentation as developers code their
apps to be ready for these updates and get rid of any bugs they may see with
This takes place in a strictly closed-off digital environment that developers create specifically so this unstable beta doesn’t cause any problems. Sometimes developers will even do this work on older, disposable computers so that if the worst happens, they won’t have lost any valuable data.
words, the developer beta has a chance of being so unstable that it will brick
your computer or mobile device, rendering it completely unusable and preventing
you from accessing any stored data.
Public Betas Are Filled with Bugs
Let’s say that you’re happy to wait for the public beta that’s available to everyone. Even here, you'll run into a lot of risks. That’s because public betas are also notoriously buggy, and may be filled with so many problems that (like the developer betas) they could brick your device or make using it such a pain that you have to revert.
We saw this in clear detail with the iOS 13 beta, which was an incredible mess when first released. Your device is likely to crash frequently, or at least have apps that crash. New modes may not work or may cause problems when they do work. Specific features like audio or syncing may not work at all. And since it's a beta, there’s no easy fix for any of these bugs other than waiting for Apple to do something about it.
Incompatibility Issues May Surprise You
that apps may crash in a beta. But this is only the start of deeper compatibility
issues that apps face in betas. Not all developers will use the developer beta
to make sure their app works with Apple’s latest updates, and even then there’s
only so much they can do (like when iOS 13 ended support for 32-bit apps).
So using apps on a beta includes the very real risk that they just won’t function, won’t save your data, or will crash so often that they aren’t usable. This is more common for third-party apps that you have, so if you rely on these apps for work or your social life, you may want to stay away from betas.
Betas Are Usually Slow
Even the full release of Big Sur and iOS 14 won’t be fully optimized, as this is an ongoing process that requires lots of behind-the-scenes work. Betas aren’t optimized at all. Far from it, they are infamous for causing slowdowns for pretty much all activities. Even if you can get an app or service running, expect everything you do to take longer and include frequent pauses. This may not brick your device, but it does get annoying quickly.
Betas Can Destroy Battery Life
The lack of
optimization in betas also affects how your device uses power. This is why
betas are notorious for ruining your battery life. While this is a temporary
issue that gets slowly resolved over time as the full version of the software
is released and continues to be improved with updates, rechargeable batteries
don’t respond well to rough treatment. A poor beta can cause lasting battery
damage if it’s using power too quickly.