Should You Install the iOS 18 Beta Already?

My iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard

Apple’s WWDC is over for another year. The centrepiece of the event this year was iOS 18 being announced with a plethora of new features. Every year I hear the same thing – “this is Apple’s most anticipated operating system update yet”. This year might very well actually be the most anticipated update to date, largely down to Apple’s entry into the Artificial Intelligence space (even if they call it Apple Intelligence). Naturally, this means curious consumers are considering installing the early beta releases of iOS 18, but is that a good or bad idea?

Is the iOS 18 Beta Safe?

iOS 18 beta is perfectly safe depending on what you intend to do with it. It’s important to understand which iOS 18 Beta is currently available from Apple’s usual release process:

  1. Developer Beta – WWDC
  2. Public Beta – iOS 18 Preview
  3. Public Release – iPhone 16 Launch

As the name suggests, the Developer Beta is intended only for developers to test out their apps and software with Apple’s new operating system. Typically, this means this very early release of an operating system isn’t running on your day to day phone. Developers are installing it on test devices which are likely on left in the office and don’t handle any personal data or photos from your kids birthday.

I say that because the risks of you installing this operating system on your personal device is far greater than a developer that leaves that phone in the drawer of their desk after work every day.

Risks of Installing iOS 18 Beta

To be clear, this isn’t just about risks from the iOS 18 Developer Beta. This would come with installed any developer beta. I’ve run iOS betas myself in the past, from testing Focus mode to installing retro gaming emulators. But I nearly always wait for the early release beta and ignore the developer beta.

The reason being that you can brick (completely break) your iPhone by installing an early release of an operating system not intended for day to day use. Now, do I think the risk of bricking is high? Actually, no. It should still be extremely unlikely, however, it is possible. Even if you don’t brick your device, you run the risk of losing all your photos, contacts, messages and more.

Because the iOS 18 Developer Beta is intended for developers around the world to test their apps out, some of your apps might not work properly. Even if they do work, they likely won’t work efficiently. Another big issue with these releases is often dire battery performance. Again, developers are often at a desk with the phone plugged in, so battery isn’t a massive priority until the public releases. So, that’s some more food for thought for you.

Let’s not forget, many of the latest Apple Intelligence are not yet available in even the dev beta and these features require an A17 Bionic chip. When it comes to phones, you’ll also need an iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 16 when it releases to use the most exciting features. If you have an iPhone 15 Pro you would really want to think twice about the potential of bricking such a valuable device.

Revert iOS 18 Beta: Downgrade from iOS 18 Beta to iOS 17

If you’ve already managed to get the iOS 18 Developer Beta installed and are now panicking a bit, don’t worry too much about it. You can either continue on in the hope everything keeps working or downgrade your iPhone to iOS 17. But please note from here on out, I’m not taking responsibility for any issues you run into!

  1. Power off your iPhone – this may require you to press two buttons (Power and Volume Up)
  2. Hold the power button and while holding it
  3. Immediately connect your iPhone by cable to your PC/Mac with iTunes installed
  4. Open iTunes on your PC/Mac
  5. A prompt will appear. Choose Restore.

The bad news is that this will wipe your phone completely. The good news is, that all going well, you’ll have your phone back up and running with a stable version of iOS 17.

When is the Public iOS 18 Beta Being Released?

The big point to remember here is when the much safer public beta is released by Apple. I would expect to see Apple’s public iOS 18 Beta released around mid-July, 2024. In 2023 Apple release the public iOS 17 Beta on July 12th, so use that as reference. It’s really not that long to wait.

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Founding Editor of Goosed, Marty is a massive fan of tech making life easier. You'll often find him testing something new, brewing beer or finding some new foodie spots in Dublin, Ireland. - Find me on Threads