News: Is It Safe to Download iOS 12 Beta 7 on Your iPhone?

Is It Safe to Download iOS 12 Beta 7 on Your iPhone?

Last week, iOS 12 developer beta 7 was quickly pulled upon release, due to complaints of poor performance and instability issues. While Apple tackled these bugs with the release of developer beta 8 two days later, testers are seeing beta 7 again in their Software Update settings. Why is beta 7 back, and, more importantly, is it safe to download?

In order to answer these questions, it's important to know a little more about how Apple tests the beta versions of iOS on devices like the iPhone:

Developer Betas vs Public Betas

Apple offers two ways to beta test iOS — the developer beta and the public beta.

As its name would suggest, the developer beta is only for registered iOS developers and comes out first. The public beta, on the other hand, is open to any iPhone user who would like to test upcoming software. Public testers receive betas after developers, sometimes with differing version numbers. However, both the developer beta and the public beta are identical, so all testers run the same software.

A Tale of Two Betas

It might sound confusing, but there are actually two beta 7s, each wildly different from the other. The "bad" beta 7 was the one released Monday, August 20. This update was released only for developers and was subsequently replaced by dev beta 8, which was identical to beta 7, save for stability fixes.

If you see beta 7 in your Software Update settings, you're looking at public beta 7. This beta is perfectly safe to download and has no relation to the flawed dev beta 7. It's a mirror of dev beta 9, and it's a followup to public beta 6, which itself was identical to dev beta 8. Apple never released a companion public beta to dev beta 7, instead opting to wait until a patch was developed.

Long story short — public beta 7 will not introduce the issues that the original developer beta 7 did for testers.

Why Betas Aren't as Safe as You'd Think

That being said, there is no guarantee that installing the iOS 12 beta is "safe." Betas by their nature are a work in progress and come with a long list of documented issues that users might experience.

While updating to beta 7 is a no-brainer if you're already running iOS 12, those looking to install the beta now should understand the risks before they do so.

Cover image by NegativeSpace

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