5 reasons you should not install the iPadOS or iOS 13 beta yet

Your desire for dark mode could lead to dark times for you and your iPhone. Here's why it's usually better to wait for the final version of new operating systems.

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
3 min read
Sarah Tew/CNET

The iPadOS and iOS 13 public beta are both here and ready for you to install and test out. MacOS Catalina is also expected in public beta form today. However, "test" is the key word there, because although you can update your iPhone or iPad to the upcoming version of Apple's mobile operating systems, it doesn't mean you should. Sure, you're excited to be one of the first to experience its systemwide dark mode and newly designed camera interface and sign into all the things with your AppleID, but before you jump on this beta, there are some things to consider first.

Even the most stable beta can still mess with your phone in ways that span from minor inconvenience to the loss of stored data on your iPhone. Here are a few reasons to take a wait-and-see approach to installing the iPadOS or iOS 13 public beta. But if decide to go ahead anyway, we suggest testing on a secondary device, such as an old iPhone or iPod Touch.

Apple iOS 13: Top new features

See all photos

There will be bugs

Finding bugs is all part of testing out the iOS beta. Apple has a list of known issues on its developers site for the Beta 2 release if you want to have a look at what's being worked on. There are a handful of iCloud issues, for example, that includes things like inaccurately reporting the current state of files on your iPhone and users not being able to see the content in folders in iCloud Shared Folders.

The thing is, even if Apple stomps these bugs out fast and issues an update, that update could in turn break other things. It's all part of the journey on the road to a stable OS, so if you're not prepared to deal with things breaking or not working, skip the beta.

Missing features

Apple announced lots of things during WWDC 2019, but what's currently available in beta and what will be available in the fall with the final release are two very different things. For instance, the new Find My app will eventually be able to locate your iPhone even when it's offline, though its offline-finding capabilities are limited during the beta. Basically, not only is there a chance the features you want to try the most won't work quite right, but they might not even be part of the beta.

Watch this: iOS 13 beta: Install at your own risk

It could make battery life suck

The beta testing process starts with Apple getting new iOS features working properly and keeping them stable. After that's all squared away is when they're optimized for battery life. Until that happens, though, you might be running to a charger more frequently, no matter how many iPhone battery-saving tips you use.

Going back isn't easy

Once you've installed the public beta, you can't easily roll back to the current official version of iOS. It's not that it can't be done, but you can't restore from a backup made with your device on iOS 13. Instead, you should backup your iPhone while it's still running iOS 12, then move forward with installing the iOS 13 beta. The best way to do that is to use iTunes (RIP) and create an encrypted backup.

Devices that will support iOS 13, iPadOS 13

iPhone XS 12.9-inch iPad Pro
iPhone XS Max 11-inch iPad Pro
iPhone XR 10.5-inch iPad Pro
iPhone X 9.7-inch iPad Pro
iPhone 8 iPad (6th generation)
iPhone 8 Plus iPad (5th generation)
iPhone 7 iPad Mini (5th generation)
iPhone 7 Plus iPad Mini 4
iPhone 6S iPad Air (3rd generation)
iPhone 6S Plus iPad Air 2
iPhone SE
iPod Touch (7th generation)

All of your apps might not be supported

Along with finding bugs and integrating new features, Apple makes an iOS beta available so developers can get their apps and services ready for the final release. That means there's a chance some of your apps won't work properly.

For instance, a known issue with Beta 2 is that you might be unable to stream to a Chromecast device. And Gmail users might be greeted with a "Can't load the page" response when a "View entire message" link is tapped. Also, if you like hearing the audio within Instagram Stories, well, you can't at the moment.

If you're OK with the risks and really want to test out the new features, go for it. But again, we suggest not doing it on your primary device if possible, and instead use an old iPhone or iPod Touch.

CNET writer Jason Cipriani contributed to this story.