Eager for iOS 18? What You Should Know Before Downloading the Beta Version

Thinking about installing the iOS 18 developer beta? Read this first so you know what to expect.

Blake Stimac Writer
Blake has over a decade of experience writing for the web, with a focus on mobile phones, where he covered the smartphone boom of the 2010s and the broader tech scene. When he's not in front of a keyboard, you'll most likely find him playing video games, watching horror flicks, or hunting down a good churro.
Blake Stimac
4 min read
 iOS 18 iPhone15 Pro Max Home Screen

Apple's next software for iPhone is technically available -- but are you sure you want it? Here's what to consider.

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iOS 18 brings so much to the table that it's easily one of, if not the biggest update the iPhone has ever seen. New goodies include new ways to customize your home screen, RCS support, a revamped Control Center, and of course, Apple Intelligence. The latter looks to be a very "Apple way" of handling AI, and we're excited to see it in action, though less excited about what iPhones will actually get it. Even still, those who can't wait until the iPhone 16 comes out to give iOS 18 a try are in luck. 

Shortly after the WWDC 2024 keynote, Apple released the iOS 18 developer beta that would allow you to get a taste of the latest release (just don't expect any AI in this beta), but you might want to think twice before taking the plunge. The developer beta builds are far from final or stable, so we're going to lay out some of the things to expect and watch out for if you decide to install it. 

For a closer look at some of the new iOS features, don't miss iOS 18 brings tinted icons and home screen tweaks and Apple's new Passwords app will sync across devices and platforms.

Bugs are expected in the iOS 18 developer beta

When the iPhone 16 is released later this year, it will ship with the official and "final" release of iOS 18 (any subsequent update will likely append a ".x.x" to the end of it.) It's this release that people expect from the iPhone, and the current developer beta available now is far from that.

It can take a while to get all of the bugs squashed out of new software before it's ready for primetime, and from now until the final release, Apple will be updating the iOS 18 beta program incrementally to make it the solid experience you expect it to be. 

Apple breaks its iOS betas into both developer and public versions, with the latter being more usable for the curious iPhone user. If you want to install the iOS 18 developer beta, here's just a short list of issues people have said they've experienced on it. 

  • Certain apps don't work at all or force close often
  • Notifications not being delivered
  • iMessages sending as SMS
  • General performance issues

You can check out the iOS 18 developer beta discussion on Reddit to jump into more of the conversation. 

Watch this: iOS 18 Brings New Tapback Features and Text Over Satellite

Back up your iPhone before installing the iOS 18 developer beta

If the above issues that you may experience with the iOS 18 developer preview don't deter you from installing it, just be sure to do a full device backup first. If you don't, the only way to go back to iOS 17 is to restore your iPhone as a new device, which may result in the loss of data, settings and other important information you might not be keen on parting with. 

It shouldn't matter if you create a backup through iCloud or iTunes, but one thing to keep in mind is that previous versions of the developer betas sometimes had issues connecting to computers, so backing up through iCloud might be the safer option. 

The good news is that it only takes a couple of taps to back up your iPhone:

  • Settings
  • Tap your name
  • Find and select your device from the list
  • Select iCloud Backup
  • Tap Back Up Now

When to expect the iOS 18 public beta

If you're still holding off for the iOS 18 public beta, you may not have much longer to wait. Since 2020, Apple has launched the public beta version of iOS in either late June or early July, and we're expecting the same this time around. In fact, we could see the release of the iOS 18 public beta drop as soon as July 8th.

This public beta will be a bit more approachable for those who held off on the developer beta. These releases will be more stable for the everyday user and come with a less buggy experience found in developer betas. 

Stuck after installing the iOS 18 developer beta and WatchOS 11? 

10 days after installing the developer beta, my iPhone became unusable -- I couldn't unlock my phone because Face ID would get stuck almost every time. When it did manage to unlock, it was sluggish and would eventually become unresponsive, so I decided to roll back to iOS 17 and start from scratch because I didn't follow my own instructions and make a backup before I installed the beta. I reinstalled iOS 17 and everything seemed fine. Then, I tried to repair my Apple Watch. 

Well, you can't. Or, at least, I couldn't. Every time I tried to repair the Apple Watch, it would fail, with a message that my iPhone needed to be updated in order to pair the watch again. And if you didn't know this already, there's no way to rollback an Apple Watch's OS without actually sending it in. 

Updating to the iOS 18 developer beta allowed me to repair the Apple Watch to my iPhone without issue. Luckily, reinstalling the Beta with a backup has been fairly stable this time around. We'll see how it fairs in another 10 days. Just be warned that if you installed both the iOS 18 developer beta on your iPhone and WatchOS 11 on your Apple Watch, it seems that you might be stuck on both unless you're okay not using your watch.

If you still have the iOS 18 itch, here's how to download Developer Beta 1 and in case you have some regrets installing it, here's how to roll back to iOS 17