On June 5, Apple announced iOS 17, the next major version of its smartphone operating system. Though the update won’t roll out to all iPhone users until later this year, the company pulled an unusual move by making the developer beta available for anyone to download and install within days of the keynote. That led to a round of confusion, followed by casual users scrambling to sign up for the developer beta and then install it on their daily driver.
It’s easy to see why someone would take the risk of installing the developer beta — iOS 17 brings some new features and improvements to the iPhone, not the least of which is the ability to turn the phone into a tiny smart screen, live transcriptions of voicemails, personalized contact cards, the ability to leave someone a video message on FaceTime, and much more. With that said, there are very good reasons to avoid installing the beta — at least for now — if you’re not a developer. That’s especially true if you only own one iPhone, and you’re dependent on it during day-to-day life.
The beta is buggy and unstable
All beta software is buggy. That’s the entire point of a beta — it’s still being refined, and those who have access to it are helping the company work out issues by finding and reporting them. Many bugs are small in nature and fixed quickly in subsequent updates. However, sometimes the bugs will be major — and when it comes to the iPhone, that could include things like rapid battery drain, frequently dropped calls, repeated app crashes, the inability to reliably connect to Wi-Fi, and other nuisances.
If you own more than one iPhone, then installing iOS 17 won’t be a big issue: you’ll simply need to install it on the device that you don’t use on a daily basis. However, if you only own one iPhone that’s used to make calls and manage your daily life, you’re taking a big risk by installing the iOS 17 developer beta. One severe bug could render your phone difficult or impossible to use until Apple rolls out a fix, and depending on the problem and the priority it gets, that could take days at best.
If you’re keen on testing out iOS 17 but don’t want to take the risk of jumping in feet first, you should wait for the iOS 17 public beta to be released. That version of the beta will likely have ironed out the worst of the problems, and though you may still encounter issues, they probably won’t be as severe — though, as with any beta, that’s always a risk, which is why betas shouldn’t be installed on your daily driver devices. As Apple says, you should “install only on devices and systems that you’re prepared to erase if necessary.”